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Old 12-03-2012, 08:56 AM
 
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Hello All! My husband started his job in Pittsburgh today. YAY! We are finding absolutely no rentals available and are now considering buying right away. My realtor suggested some cities based on the fact that my husband is working on McKnight and that we will need a great school district.

How would you all rate the cities below in regards to school districts? If you were buying a home and wanted the best possible school for your child, where would you look first? Any other info or advice is greatly appreciated!

Hampton, North Allegheny School District (Bradford Woods, Franklin Park, Marshall Township and McCandless), Fox Chapel School District (especially Fox Chapel, Aspinwall, Indiana Twp and O'Hara Twp), Riverview School District (especially Oakmont), Seneca Valley School District (especially Zelienople, Harmony, Seven Fields or Cranberry), Glenshaw, Shaler

Thank you!
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Glenshaw=Shaler, btw.

Would say Shaler and Riverview are a notch below the others listed, more average whereas the others are above to well above average.

Consider also North Hills (comprising Ross Township and West View, which should be right in the area where he works; McKnight Rd goes through Ross and McCandless) and possibly Avonworth (parts of Ohio Township would be convenient; some of the other parts of the district would be less so, although possibly not any less than those far flung parts of Seneca Valley). Oh and if you're going to consider Seneca Valley you might do well to consider Mars Area (including Adams and Middlesex Townships).

All those school districts are good and have their plusses and minuses in terms of size, location, etc. I can't really speak to the details of the plusses and minuses of, say, Fox Chapel vs North Allegheny or whatever, but they all have a good rep. If you just need a good all around district then you could safely pick based on the house, budget, commute time, etc. I would say (while excluding Shaler and Riverview). If you need something specific you may have to dig a little deeper.

Mars Area and Seneca Valley put you in Butler County where buying will result in somewhat lower property taxes at the expense of commute time/distance.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:11 AM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
4,337 posts, read 6,477,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spitale22 View Post
Hello All! My husband started his job in Pittsburgh today. YAY! We are finding absolutely no rentals available and are now considering buying right away. My realtor suggested some cities based on the fact that my husband is working on McKnight and that we will need a great school district.

How would you all rate the cities below in regards to school districts? If you were buying a home and wanted the best possible school for your child, where would you look first? Any other info or advice is greatly appreciated!

Hampton, North Allegheny School District (Bradford Woods, Franklin Park, Marshall Township and McCandless), Fox Chapel School District (especially Fox Chapel, Aspinwall, Indiana Twp and O'Hara Twp), Riverview School District (especially Oakmont), Seneca Valley School District (especially Zelienople, Harmony, Seven Fields or Cranberry), Glenshaw, Shaler

Thank you!

Would depend on your budget and whether you want a newish house or would prefer an older home.

Since you used the word "great" I would eliminate Riverview, Shaler and Seneca Valley. However, if you budget is more modest (below 150,000), then I would be open to Shaler and/or North Hills School District.

My ranking would be
1 Hampton because it is smaller and no bad areas. I could be happy spending 250,000 and up.
2 Fox Chapel almost as small with some economic diversity. Will not get as much bang for your buck. We live in O'Hara. Probably need to spend close to 400,000.
3 North Allegheny very big but has a ton of housing options. Best bang for the buck.
4. Seneca Valley if I needed a newish home.
5. Shaler If I had a budget that topped out below 200,000. Although I might try and afford Hampton too.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:24 AM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
21,715 posts, read 20,641,503 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robrobrob View Post
2 Fox Chapel almost as small with some economic diversity. Will not get as much bang for your buck. We live in O'Hara. Probably need to spend close to 400,000.
$400K? That is wildly high. No problem finding nice homes around $200 or so in the district. Obviously there are homes for millions, but also plenty of cheaper homes. Blawnox, O'Hara and Indiana Twp aren't all that expensive and really a bargain these days considering Rt. 28 getting finished and proximity to the East End.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
$400K? That is wildly high. No problem finding nice homes around $200 or so in the district. Obviously there are homes for millions, but also plenty of cheaper homes. Blawnox, O'Hara and Indiana Twp aren't all that expensive and really a bargain these days considering Rt. 28 getting finished and proximity to the East End.
Agreed. Sharpsburg offers many affordable options and has the best proximity to the East End within the Fox Chapel Area School District.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:48 AM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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Originally Posted by Evergrey View Post
Agreed. Sharpsburg offers many affordable options and has the best proximity to the East End within the Fox Chapel Area School District.
The problem with Sharpsburg is it is in Kerr Elementary. Not that it is horrible, it just doesn't compare to the other elementariness in the district. There are better options if you can afford $150 or so. Blawnox and Indianola. I would prefer to be in O'Hara Elementary. Of course if you have $500K you can go to Fairview, but I think some diversity is probably healthier. Also, Aspinwall is in the O'Hara feed, just in case someone wanted to know that.

I think Fox Chapel is a very good district with enough diversity that it would expose kids to more and prepare them for the real world pretty well. Hampton would be okay. North Allegheny is really large. Sure it is fun to go to sporting events and cheer for teams because they are competitive in a lot of things, but to be honest, who cares? It is hard for kids to get on teams there because it is so huge.

Riverview would be too hard to commute from. I think it has too many problems these days as well.

As far as the others on that list, I suspect they are fine. I don't have a lot of knowledge about them. I think North Hills is pretty good from what I hear.

Another option would be Sewickley.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:57 AM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
4,337 posts, read 6,477,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
$400K? That is wildly high. No problem finding nice homes around $200 or so in the district. Obviously there are homes for millions, but also plenty of cheaper homes. Blawnox, O'Hara and Indiana Twp aren't all that expensive and really a bargain these days considering Rt. 28 getting finished and proximity to the East End.

It all depends on what is acceptable. Perhaps, I want a bigger and nicer home. The OP is also considering Hampton so there is no way she would live in Blawnox or Sharpsburg. So, when you take those neighborhoods out you really have to spend some money. Crofton, a nice suburban neighborhood in O'Hara now has home mostly in the 400,000's. I wouldn't want to send my kids to Kerr so that rules out the affordable half of O'Hara. Few of my friends live over there. Everyone, has spent more to get into O'Hara, Fairview or Hartwood. If you want over 2000 Square feet and more than one bath, not a ranch with a nice yard and not on a busy street, it will cost some money. Sure there are exceptions but when the OP are pressed for time they can't wait for an exception to come on the market.

Curtis look at the place around the corner from you it sold for 215,000 and they are spending a ton of money. The place up Delafield sold for very close to 300,000 almost instantly. Stuff in poor man's Fox Chapel (which backs up to the massive VA) is now priced over 400,000.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Without debate, North Allegheny (McCandless Township, Bradford Woods, Marshall Township, Franklin Park) would be number one on my list. I realize that I am a "homer" because I have lived in this area for over 30 years, but I believe that you could hardly go wrong living in the NA community. The North Allegheny School District is nationally acclaimed as being one of the top school districts in our country. It is a district with virtually all of its schools attaining the prestigious and rigorous Blue Ribbon status. The district excels on virtually every tier- be it academics, athletic endeavors, music, etc. I could not begin to list all of the many achievements and meaningful awards that have been bestowed upon the the past and present students graduating from NA, but a visit to their website should validate what I am saying. The biggest complaint that I have heard is that the district is very large. I do not view this as a negative, nor did my 3 children who graduated (more AP courses/options, highest expectations for all - standards are set high, multitudes of extracurricular activities).

McCandless is rated as the 46th rated best place to live in the country by Money Magazine, and for good reason. Crime is extremely low, and safety is extremely high. The community recycling program and return to the community is second to none (for example, neighborhood leaves are raked onto the street curb in the fall, and mulch is returned for residents in the spring free). Two colleges, a topnotch library, North Park, Devlin Park, community athletic programs, major shopping venues within 5 miles of of most areas of the community are a small part of the many community amenities.

I am not surprised that you had difficulty finding rentals in the McCandless , as I own four, and the demand is high. I believe that you may have some difficulty finding a home less than $200,000, as those less in price (and in decent condition) seem to sell very quickly.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:50 AM
 
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Thanks everyone for the great info! We would like to stay under 200,000 at this point and are really looking for a good school district and space in the home. We aren't adverse to doing a little work as long as the house has good bones and wouldn't depreciate for a future sale. I would love to rent first so I don't have to rush in to anything, but it is so hard to find anything worth it and the rent is outrageous. We could buy for less and so we might do that instead. Our daughter doesn't start school for 2 years, so we can rent anywhere, but can't buy in a bad school district. So, based on everyone's advice, I've come up with the list below. Any cities I'm missing that I would need for a property search?

How about Leetsdale? Would you consider Mt. Lebanon schools to be worth the longer commute and more bang for your buck in a house? Any other cities that we should consider that might not be in the north, but good district with more bang for the buck?

Our biggest concern (after schools) is finding the house we want with the space we want and not settling, so I think we would consider a longer commute to get that.

List to consider:
Hampton
Bradford Woods
Franklin Park
Marshall Township
McCandless
Fox Chapel
Aspinwall
Indiana Township
O'Hara (not Kerr Elementary)
Oakmont
Zelienople
Harmony
Seven Fields
Cranberry
Ross
West View
Avonworth
Mars
Adams Township
Middlesex Township
Sewickley
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:22 PM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
4,337 posts, read 6,477,564 times
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Considering your budget I would agree with coach and look in the North Allegheny School District. A lot bang for your buck. Also, a lot options. Mt. Lebanon most certainly will not give you a lot of bang for your buck but it will give you a lot of options because it is rather large. But most houses won't be below 200,000.

Try searching on a local real estate agency (ex. Howard Hanna) website by school district and not town and you will quickly determine if there is something you can live with.

Last edited by robrobrob; 12-03-2012 at 12:40 PM..
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