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Old 05-08-2008, 09:14 AM
 
76 posts, read 198,221 times
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We're considering moving to Frankfort (from Pittsburgh) with our 4 kids aged 3-11. I've done some searching online for info about the schools, but was hoping to get more details from real people.

A few particular questions.

1. Lincoln-Way East versus Central ... any difference? I see Central made the Sun-Times top 50, but East didn't. Is East far behind?

2. 157c versus 161 ... any difference? Neither are in the Sun-Times top-50. Still very good though?

3. how do these districts compare to others you're familiar with? I'm particularly interested in comparisons with Orland Park.

4. I read that Lincoln Way is opening 2 more high schools. Should high school boundaries influence where I buy?

5. 157c and Lincoln-Way spend much less per child on actual "educational instruction", compared to other districts. I'm sure the district is spending lots on new buildings, but it still leaves one wondering whether classroom instruction is suffering due to budget issues. In particular, teacher salaries are lower, and fewer of them have masters degrees.

thanks for your help!
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:57 AM
 
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You have seized on some solid data. I will also offer something that you can't get from objective summaries -- social impression.

I have been to Pittsburgh several times and I know there is a big difference between the kind of people that you might encounter at Chatham University, Carnegie Mellon, or in the headquarters of PNC and the sort of folks that might be at Penguins playoff game. Not better or worse, but clearly different.

The majority of people in the Frankfort area are going to a lot more comfortable at the Penguins game then they would even watching a Nova episode about Pittsburgh topography. I am not saying that there are not good people down there, but I have to tell you it is not far removed at all from its agricultural roots. Many people move to the area for the chance to have a more rural lifestyle, with ATVs, RVs, easier access to downstate fishing spots and similar benefits.

You can contrast this to other south suburban towns that did/do have a lot more people engaged in the kinds of careers that one often associates with some pretty rigorous schooling. There is no shortage of school teachers, principals and administrators scattered through towns like Orland Park and Palos. For decades that was the preferred area for CPS teachers who wanted to raise their kids in the 'burbs but worked on the south side. That has changed as many of those teachers retired and the City instituted its silly residency rule, but the legacy still gives those areas a leg up. Similarly the accessibility to the various hospitals in the City and south suburbs has made those closer in suburbs fairly popular with physicians and nurses. The density of the developing areas have not yet caused a shift away from hospitals in Tinley Park or Oak Forest, and this may have some impact on where physicians are likely to live.

I am not saying you won't find ANY such people living in the more recently developed areas around Frankfort, just that the density will be lower and the potential influence this may have on the social climate is something that I think you should consider along with other more objective data.
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:58 AM
 
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Sounds like Chet and I know a different Frankfort.

My opinion, after doing my own research is as follows - please note I also factored in things such as HHI and home prices and the amount of low-income residents. I am biased though, after lots of looking and researching I moved to 157c from downtown Chicago a few month ago for my daughter/schools. 161 is lower income (if you care) and the majority of the housing stock is not as nice as the 157c district. It will also be feeding into the new Lincoln-Way North High School. I would choose 157c over 161 every time.

157c is the Frankfort District and has a very high HHI and the housing stock is very, very nice, especially in Prestwick (homes from $400k to $2mm) and all along Laraway Road from 80th Avenue to 116th Avenue (from $350k to $1.5mm or so). Spend numbers are a little odd due to a lot of school infrastructure being built out, but the schools are excellent and there are a lot of professionals in the area. Lincoln-Way East is known as a very good high school with excellent athletics and 40-50 AP courses and only 3.6% low-income students – if you care about that. Downtown Frankfort is great with lots of bike paths, restaurants, festivals and the old Plank Trail bike/running path. The Village should pay me for helping promote the area

My closest neighbors are three dentists, two physicians, three attorneys, a former White Sox player, two guys from the CBOT and an actuary - I am a white collar professional too. The homes in my subdivision are $550k to $1mm so very different from the Frankfort Chet is familar with. Homes in some of the nicer subdivisions are $800k to $1.5mm off Laraway and 116th Ave so not a lot of hicks out there. Now, the 161 school district is more of the mold Chet is talking about.

Lincoln-Way Central is a very good high school also – the main differences I see are East has a higher HHI and fewer low income students – more professionals in the area where as Central is a little more “rural” and slightly more low income kids but not a real big difference.

These are based on my opinions and data I have looked at, including info from kids at both schools I know through friends and family.

Other towns I considered before my choice: Lake Forest, South Barrington, Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Lemont and Orland Park. Please note I am not saying Frankfort is better than those areas, just saying it the best choice for me and my family based on a lot of factors.

Last edited by vester72; 05-08-2008 at 10:17 AM..
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:12 AM
 
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The College Board only offers 37 AP courses. You may be confused with the honors courses offered at Lincoln Way.

Their results are not particularly impressive given their enrollment of nearly 4000:
http://www.lw210.org/east/School/Profile.pdf (broken link)
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Chicago's burbs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vester72 View Post
Sounds like Chet and I know a different Frankfort.
I'm with you vester, the Frankfort I know is much closer to your description. I can't recall ever seeing R.V.s or hicks in Frankfort (Maybe 20 years ago?), and per city data the median income was $91,300 in 2005, it's probably higher today. Definitely a professional town by my standards. Frankfort is a mere 10 minutes from Orland Park and from what I've seen the people who live there aren't much different than the people in Orland.
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
The College Board only offers 37 AP courses. You may be confused with the honors courses offered at Lincoln Way.

Their results are not particularly impressive given their enrollment of nearly 4000:
http://www.lw210.org/east/School/Profile.pdf (broken link)
You are right - it actually has 21 AP courses according to wikipedia - I must have used the ""honors" number.

Enrollment will actually be dropping by about 2,000 next year when Lincoln-Way North opens, and that will have a reasonable affect on those test scores.

Regardless, what schools are you comparing it too? If you are looking at Hinsdale Central, New Trier, Barrington then you are right. Looking at average ACT scores, all the SW suburban high schools are fairly comparable:

Sandburg - 22.7
Lincoln-Way East - 21.9
Stagg - 21.2
Andrew - 22
Sheppard - 19.5
Lincoln-Way Central - 21.7

Also, if you factor in housing stock, housing costs, lot sizes and other things, these things can also influence a decision. Take the same house in Frankfort and put it in Orland and you're looking at $100k-$200k more in Orland (I am talking about homes that are $650k to $1mm in Frankfort) and one can drive an extra couple miles for all that retail and avoid the insane traffic, but be 10-15 min away from trains to the city and 5 min from the highways.

That being said, Orland - especially along Wolf Road - is great (Homer Glen is very nice too), Mokena is a very nice area, and the schools are very comparable, with Mokena sharing Lincoln-Way East (a small portion will be at North and Central I think).
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:56 AM
 
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I don't disagree that there are some expensive house out in Mokena, Frankfort and the surrounding area. Nor will argue that there are no lack of white collar wage earners, including attorneys and physicians. I know there are many people that spend more on a Class A "Madden Cruiser" type RV than my house cost. I am not calling any one a hick or damning them, just pointing out this is an area that is COMPLETELY different than Oak Park or the Hyde Park area surrounding UofC.

Honestly if the OP didn't start by asking about Flossmoor , which has a much different kind of grid pattern, more like Oak Park, and the potential combo car train commute I would not have any reservations about Frankfort. In general the big new houses are a pretty good deal, but I don't think his 500K-600K 4 bedroom criteria are going to be in the same league...
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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Not trying to be too defensive either Just sharing my thoughts on the area.

There are some parts of the older, unincorprated Frankfort in the 161 district that fit that profile perfectly, north of Lincoln Highway, between Harlem and LaGrange, excluding the Abbey Woods and Lighthouse Point subdivisions that are extremely nice. But he Frankfort Square areas are very blue collar and skew high toward the RV/ATV group or folks, not that that is good or bad.
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:27 PM
 
76 posts, read 198,221 times
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The comments from you three have been very helpful. I appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts.

I'll have to compare the AP test scores across different districts. That seems like it might be a pretty good measure of college readiness, and ambitiousness of the students.

The communities I've lived in in Pittsburgh have both been older -- built up in the early 1900's, and with mixed socio-economics. I think I'd miss that a bit in Frankfort, which is one reason we'll still take a look at Flossmoor when we visit for house hunting.

Do any of you know what the other new high school entails? Will 157c split into that one and LW-East? It's supposed to open in 2009, right? If it is splitting 157c, have the boundaries been determined yet?
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:25 PM
 
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157c remains at Lincoln-Way East (basically incorporated Frankfort and Mokena), while 161 will go to Lincoln-Way North (Some Mokena, mostly unincorporated Frankfort and some Tinley Park).

Here is some additional school district info along with a lot of district maps, etc.

Which School Will My Child Attend? (http://www.lw210.org/district/boundaries/WhichSchool.htm - broken link)
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