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Old 01-09-2011, 01:57 PM
 
76 posts, read 151,692 times
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We have been house hunting in the northern burb areas ranging from Gurnee/Grayslake to Libertyville/Lake Bluff/Lake Forest areas. The issue we are having is we love the amount of house we can get in the cheaper areas (and really like the Prairie Crossing sub-division in GL) but won't use the schools.

We would plan on using Catholic schools if we buy not in a top district but aren't show how Carmel compares to some of the top public schools in the area (Libertyville / Lake Forest, etc) since they don't report the same test results. Does anyone have any insight on this?

For us it's hard to decide whether living in a more desirable area is worth a much smaller house (<2000 sq ft) but for >150K more or get a perfect size house and but pay for public schools?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:28 PM
 
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A good school but make sure you have plenty of money for tuition. They run a shuttle from the Mundelein station so you could live as far as Antioch and kid a can ride the train there. I believe they just had their entrance exam for the next year.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:12 PM
 
28,460 posts, read 81,202,760 times
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Default Hard to make comparisons, especially as students have shifted over the years...

In the not so distant past Gurnee and other areas were quite rural. Now they are much more suburban.

The families really looking for a very challenging educational environment vs those that simply wanted a school that more closely their religious values would more accurately characterize many suburban Catholic high schools.

In terms of the rigorness of the curriculum (measured by something like success on AP tests) and the percentage of students that apply to and get admitted to highly selective colleges you really would have overcome a lot of resistance -- many of the private schools are not as successful as the better public high schools. Of course you would also have to make some adjustments for the fact that you won't find the most disruptive kids and those with the lowest levels of preparation in the Catholic schools as they have been either not admitted because of porridge performance on entrance tests or counseled out for behavior issues.

The best way to check into the Catholic school option is so simply ask the admissions staf how many kids are coming from the various towns -- if done in a polite and non-hostile way it is usually something they will share and can help you get a sense for how common it is for kids to come from an area you are considering. Though the raw numbers change by year if they can say "about XX% are coming from Gurnee" that might help you decide to go that route.

I know that historically schools like Loyola Academy and even Notre Dame in Niles have been among the more selective of the north suburban Catholic High Schools, but with smaller family sizes and less competition from kids of alumni that might have shifted. Familes in Mundelien are having more kids and that might but some incentives on enrollment shifts, though tuition is usually the way that private schools adjust for overwhelming demand...
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:57 PM
 
76 posts, read 151,692 times
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Thanks. We are way ahead of the game as we need to start elementary school and I think we are planning on using St. Joseph's in Libertyville if we live in Gurnee or Grayslake but we wanted to know that a quality high school is in the area. We currently want to upgrade our home (live in gurnee) but our house has lost so much value over the past 6 years we are getting priced out of some of the more affluent communities because our down payment keeps decreasing.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:13 PM
 
28,460 posts, read 81,202,760 times
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Default Oh gosh, lots could change...

If your kids are not even in elementary school the shifts that could happen are way to hard to predict.

If you end up with kids at St. Joes the talk among parents about high school really only starts around 6th grade or so, and there are lots of opportunities hear from those with older kids...
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:02 PM
 
76 posts, read 151,692 times
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Yeah, I guess we are planning on our next home being the place we can settle indefinitely, not that we won't move but we don't want to if we don't need to. I don't see Woodland/Gurnee or Grayslake schools getting better any time in the future so we would plan on using private schools for sure, likewise with the cost of living for Libertyville and Lake Bluff, I don't see those school districts getting poor anytime soon either.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:06 PM
 
28,460 posts, read 81,202,760 times
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Default The really really "long horizon" view is not without towns declining or improving...

40 years ago there were some really different "most desirable" school districts -- the towns that have declined mostly saw big losses of jobs, shifts in demand for predominate housing styles and changes in transportation.

Towns that improved almost without exception became more favored by affluent families, again driven largely by employment and commuter patterns.

Shifts could happen.

My gut says you are correct about Libertyville and Lake Bluff, but nothing is carved in stone.

You know, if you have some flexibility there have been a handful of really really rough homes in desirable towns that have come on the market -- depending on your skills / budget / creativity you get a steal and have a fantastic home in a great town for a fraction of what the average home goes for...
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Cook County
5,289 posts, read 7,053,917 times
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I went to Carmel for 2 years in 1998 and 1999. Looking back, I found it was a very "top heavy" school, the kids at the top were put on the fast track (Ive kept up with many of them, and they still are on the fast track in life) but the middle to lower teir of students could feel lost in the shuffle. The school had a lot of pride and activity at that time, so that part was a positive. I don't know what the tuition is now, but my parents told me it cost more to send me to Carmel than the University I attended (state school). I have no idea if they were serious or just saying that to prove a point, but there was no doubt it was expensive.

Just one persons take.
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