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Old 05-31-2013, 09:04 AM
 
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We moved from Bay Ridge (91st btwn 3rd and 4th) to Livingston a little over 2 years ago. We moved here primarily for the school system. I just did a search and found a handful of houses under 350K so Livingston is doable. Overall, we are very happy with the move. It just takes a little getting used to. For example, having to drive everywhere for everything, the hard water (even with a softener), the lack of authentic good food.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:58 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
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Originally Posted by ringler24 View Post
Yes that Maplewood house is nice. Kind of a questionable section though. My debate is whether or not to do South Orange/Maplewood in areas closer to Irvington (because that's all we can afford) and have "better" schools or West Orange which has some really nice areas in the western sections but where across the board the schools aren't as well regarded. We really liked both areas. We haven't seen Livingston or Bloomington yet.
From what I've gathered living in WO for the past 3 years is, SO/MW high school is ranked significantly higher, but i think it's mostly due to demographics. A lot of WO's ranking is due to being dragged down (i'm sure i could word this better) by ESL students who struggle with testing through their school careers. I live in Hazel school district + Roosevelt Middle School. Hazel has improved leaps and bounds in just the past 5 years. There are many young families in the neighborhood, and the past few homes that have sold have almost all been very young families. As you go "down the hill", you have much less expensive homes because they border Orange, which is viewed, IMO, more negatively than it should be. But, as a result, those homes are occupied by lower income people whom I assume have moved out of rougher towns with bad schools to a town they could "afford" with better schools. The elementary school Edison, from what I've heard, is still very bad though. I'm impressed by our High School, having come from Pennsylvania and attended a private school, I've noticed that our HS has more programs, more sports, and more AP classes than my former HS has today.

Taxes are high. The current Mayor and Council seem to be working somewhat to keep taxes where they are. The big problem for our town is we have very little retail to bring revenue into the town, so residents are the tax base, more or less. They just started a program that will reward residents for purchasing in town with a rebate towards their property taxes. Not sure if it's good or bed (opinions on both sides), but maybe it's the kick the town needs to get more retail? I doubt it, but for the time being, I'll participate as much as I can.

I should mention, if you go above Gregory, you can find some gems that need fixing up. Gregory school is a well respected elementary school. Sometimes I wish I bought in that section, but our kids will all mix in to the same middle school and Hazel has improved immensely, so they might be on par with each other now.
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