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Old 12-15-2009, 04:32 PM
 
69 posts, read 316,387 times
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~1 Hour Door To Door Midtown/Downtown

Tier 1 Schools: Glen Ridge, Millburn, you will pay a premium in taxes
Tier 3 Schools: Montclair, Fort Lee, Edgewater(Leonia Middle/High), Rutherford, Hasbrouck Heights

Anything outside those areas is either too long of a commute or too crappy of a high school (SAT score is what you are buying). I have researched every zip code within 1 hour of Midtown/Downtown with SAT score over 1000. Westchester/Long Island have more options (Great Neck, Larchmont, Scarsdale, Bronxville, Dobbs Ferry) with better school/commute so look into those too. 650K can get you a modest home at those places, and taxes are comparable to tier 1 school zones in NJ.

Keep in mind some people will tell you they can get to work from Edison/Chatham/Ridgewood in 1 hour door-to-door, unless you work right by Grand Central/Penn Station AND catch that one magical express train everyday, not happening.

Another option is to go to a NYC nabe with good elementary/middle schools (Forest Hills, Bayside, Dyker Heights, Bayridge), take advantage of the super low property taxes and hope your kid can make into specialized high schools. If they don't, the tax savings should allow you to do private school.

Last edited by hitmantb; 12-15-2009 at 04:57 PM..
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:26 PM
 
1,024 posts, read 3,179,904 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viralmd View Post
Again, the problem is parking at the train station. The waiting list is several YEARS long. And it's MORE than an hour door-to-door.
What about Metuchen? I don't think the wait for parking is long for Metuchen residents.

www.njtransit.com
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:33 AM
 
69 posts, read 316,387 times
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I excluded Metuchen from my list because it is a 45-55 minute ride on the train alone according to NJTransit.
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:53 AM
 
94 posts, read 302,510 times
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where are you going to end up hitmantb?
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Montgomery County, PA
2,771 posts, read 5,882,508 times
Reputation: 604
Quote:
Originally Posted by hitmantb View Post
~1 Hour Door To Door Midtown/Downtown

Tier 1 Schools: Glen Ridge, Millburn, you will pay a premium in taxes
Tier 3 Schools: Montclair, Fort Lee, Edgewater(Leonia Middle/High), Rutherford, Hasbrouck Heights

Anything outside those areas is either too long of a commute or too crappy of a high school (SAT score is what you are buying). I have researched every zip code within 1 hour of Midtown/Downtown with SAT score over 1000. Westchester/Long Island have more options (Great Neck, Larchmont, Scarsdale, Bronxville, Dobbs Ferry) with better school/commute so look into those too. 650K can get you a modest home at those places, and taxes are comparable to tier 1 school zones in NJ.

Keep in mind some people will tell you they can get to work from Edison/Chatham/Ridgewood in 1 hour door-to-door, unless you work right by Grand Central/Penn Station AND catch that one magical express train everyday, not happening.

Another option is to go to a NYC nabe with good elementary/middle schools (Forest Hills, Bayside, Dyker Heights, Bayridge), take advantage of the super low property taxes and hope your kid can make into specialized high schools. If they don't, the tax savings should allow you to do private school.
There are some that didn't make the cut that I'm a little curious about (these have 1500+ SAT scores)

Nutley (Essex), South Orange/Maplewood (Essex)

Several in Union County, including: Scotch Plains/Fanwood, Cranford, Summit (were these too far away ?)

I never understood why people "buy" the SAT scores. Presumably they believe that sending your kid to a score with high average SAT scores will cause your child to also get a high SAT score. But in my opinion, the causal dynamics are the exact opposite -- if you move a high performing student into a given school, that student will have a positive impact on that schools average, but it's much less clear that the converse is true.
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:03 PM
 
69 posts, read 316,387 times
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I haven't made up my mind yet, most likely it will depend on the best possible deal in 2010 (and yes I believe you will see another dip once the retarded tax credit expires). I have 4-5 towns that are extremely close in desirability, I will probably take the one that offers the best deal which will comes down to catching a motivated seller. SAT score is generally referred to as verbal/math, the 1500 you are referring to includes writing. So Nutley/South Orange/Maplewood don't fit my criteria. Union is just too far away for me personally if you want to guarantee a ~1 hour commute to both midtown and downtown. And again, I see no real advantage over the towns I listed. Real estate price and housing costs are all similar.

SAT score is much much more than strong academics, it is a combination of strong demographics, involved parents. It is the ultimate test as it is the only metric we can use to compare schools nationwide. And 1000 verbal/math is really the BARE MINIMUM before someone can say they live in a decent school district! It is nothing special as that score will not get you into any top schools.
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Montgomery County, PA
2,771 posts, read 5,882,508 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitmantb View Post
SAT score is much much more than strong academics, it is a combination of strong demographics, involved parents. It is the ultimate test as it is the only metric we can use to compare schools nationwide. And 1000 verbal/math is really the BARE MINIMUM before someone can say they live in a decent school district! It is nothing special as that score will not get you into any top schools.
It's true that SAT measures a combination of many things. However, choosing a supposedly "better school" will not change the education level or IQ of the child's parents (to put it another way, you can move in next door to an astrophysicist, but that doesn't make you one!), or any of the other factors that have already been decided long before school selection is even considered.

I realize that the viewpoint I'm expressing above is somewhat contrarian, but I find myself surprised at how little there is in the way of good information regarding how effective schools really are (there's plenty of bad information or misinformation). For example, there is way too much emphasis on the outputs, and way too little on how those outputs look when compared with a proper baseline (e.g. how good were those students when they came in ? If a high/low/average performing student enters, is s/he still a high/low/average performing student when s/he leaves ?)
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Kearny, NJ
18 posts, read 44,597 times
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Tenafly has one of the best school districts in New Jersey, but is on the north side of the George Washington Bridge. Edgewater is probably more of what you are looking for as you can take a ferry into midtown and the Lincoln Tunnel is also right there. Not really sure about Edgewater's school district, I do know teenagers from Edgewater go to Leonia High School, so you should probably look into that. But Edgewater is a really nice place.
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Kearny, NJ
18 posts, read 44,597 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by hitmantb View Post
~1 Hour Door To Door Midtown/Downtown

Tier 1 Schools: Glen Ridge, Millburn, you will pay a premium in taxes
Tier 3 Schools: Montclair, Fort Lee, Edgewater(Leonia Middle/High), Rutherford, Hasbrouck Heights

Anything outside those areas is either too long of a commute or too crappy of a high school (SAT score is what you are buying). I have researched every zip code within 1 hour of Midtown/Downtown with SAT score over 1000. Westchester/Long Island have more options (Great Neck, Larchmont, Scarsdale, Bronxville, Dobbs Ferry) with better school/commute so look into those too. 650K can get you a modest home at those places, and taxes are comparable to tier 1 school zones in NJ.

Keep in mind some people will tell you they can get to work from Edison/Chatham/Ridgewood in 1 hour door-to-door, unless you work right by Grand Central/Penn Station AND catch that one magical express train everyday, not happening.

Another option is to go to a NYC nabe with good elementary/middle schools (Forest Hills, Bayside, Dyker Heights, Bayridge), take advantage of the super low property taxes and hope your kid can make into specialized high schools. If they don't, the tax savings should allow you to do private school.

Suprised to see that Tenafly is not on your list. That is probably a better school district than all of the districts on your list
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:10 AM
 
69 posts, read 316,387 times
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Tenafly is too far in my book (about 20 minutes each way more than Fort Lee), and yes it is a tier 1 district tied with Millburn/Glen Ridge.

Seriously there are so many great towns in Bergen, I just wish there is a Metro North equivalent. 1 hour commute AND great schools rules out many areas.

Edgewater is Leonia indeed. My main concern about Edgewater is the superfund site next to City Place, and the River Road traffic. It is probably the only town on my list along with Fort Lee where I can afford something after 1980, but it is missing that family friendly vibe IMO.
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