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Old 03-08-2014, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
23,141 posts, read 12,443,112 times
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re-reading all of this, the real question should be "Which schools in the Triangle have the best IEP learning environments?"

Because that's the crux of your situation. We're a family-friendly area - meaning covered up in families. There are then of course ample family-friendly things to do. You don't have to worry about neighborhoods.

You need to be able to focus on the schools.

And by the way, $400K in Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools is not a lot of money at all. Two weeks ago, there were 10 houses total in CH/C under $600K that were large enough for a modern family of 5.
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:16 PM
 
Location: My House
34,820 posts, read 32,781,968 times
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Originally Posted by Sarah42 View Post
The pay is not higher in Davis - the company he worked for closed it's Davis site and that was the only tech job for an hours drive from where we were. His salary was the same here as it was there. If we went to the Bay Area, he would make about 15k more then he does here. Our home here is 500k, thre it wold be 1.2 million dollars. I loved Davis, but we have to go where the jobs are and I had to face it years ago that the jobs are not there. Yes, I do not know much about the triangle area, but I am trying to learn.
Thanks. I was trying to sort out your logic so I could better assist with ideas.

My thoughts: CH schools are great, but your family is very large. You can get a larger, newer (potentially less maintenance) house in Wake County for your budget. You may even find one for less.

It really just hit me that you're a family of 7. I saw 5 kids and my brain thought "family of 5" at first.

Wake does well with IEP kids, in my opinion. I have one that was labeled gifted who has ADHD, one who has an IEP because he struggled with reading in elementary school (I've been able to retain his IEP through high school so far to give him extra time on tests; he doesn't need services now), and one who just got admitted to the National Junior Honor Society.

All 3 (with their varied needs) have been served well by WCPSS so far.

I live in Cary. Much of Cary (as has already been pointed out) is very convenient to RTP. Ditto Morrisville. Apex and Holly Springs are easier commutes since the tollway opened (if you are ok with tollways). All are good for families. Suburban. Low crime.

You mentioned your husband having to pull long hours now, so I'd imagine him having a shorter commute (or possibly not having to work such long hours) would be a nice thing for you all, from a QOL perspective.

I think you should consider the areas I mentioned. You might find something great that's a good compromise for your family.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:18 PM
 
56 posts, read 87,944 times
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There have been so many great resonces so far, thanks! I was trying to respond personally to all of them personally, but that is getting a little overwhelming and repetitious. I hope no one minds a broader response to all of the posts!

To sum it all up, it looks like CH or Cary are the first spots to check out. I have not heard much about Apex. Is there a reason for that?

Yes, my husband currently works long hours. We live 15 minutes to his office currently. He has been wanted to look for a new job, either here or somewhere else. We have time to really think about it because he does have a good job now. He has been with the same company for 16 years and wants to expand his network and he just needs a change. He might not find a job as close to home here. He tends to be the work-a-holic type, so a short drive for him is good.

As someone mentioned, we are a family of 7! It makes things harder to figure out as we need a larger house, and I will have lots of kids in different schools. Someone is right too that the real focus for me should be where the best special Ed. Programs are and work from there.

As for budget, I have not run the numbers, and it all depends on my husbands new job. We went as high as 700k in California. I do not know if I want to go that high again, but we do have some flexibility. I might want to hang onto my house here in MN because I can rent it for more then my mortgage and it gives us a little more diversity in our investments. That is why I threw out te $400k-$550k number.

I want to make a trip in May to see the area. I will focus on CH and Cary, and maybe add in Apex. I would love the websites for any great realitors in the area and any suggestions for what I should really check out. What is super special that I can not miss? What would be a good hotel/motel to look into that is in a great spot for checking everything out? Thanks again everyone!
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:22 PM
 
56 posts, read 87,944 times
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Originally Posted by CVAlicia View Post
We live in western Cary and there are a TON of tech jobs within 15 minutes. Schools can be a case-by-case situation. Carpenter Elementary did not help my son (high functioning Asperger's) one bit. It got pretty bad. Highcroft Drive, however, has been fabulous. They really seem to understand the twice-exceptional child who has an IEP, but at the same time easily qualifies for the gifted program. I found Highcroft by looking for a school that had an autism program for K-2 grade. Even though my son started there in third grade, I figured the culture and resources of the school would be different and that has definitely worked out.

As for being able to walk to parks and such, that can go by neighborhood too. We have paths and parks and a large library within walking distance. You can fish and take small boats and kayaks and such out on our neighborhood lake, but you really don't want to swim in it. Cary and Apex are the land of the minivan and there is a lot to do with and for your kids.
Searching for the k-2 programs is a great idea! Thanks for that idea.

Honestly I am struggling with the year round school issue. In have several reasons for liking the traditional calendar. I am not sure I will be able to get the best fit for my kids if I rule out schools based on their calendars. Sigh...
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:26 PM
 
56 posts, read 87,944 times
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Originally Posted by GotHereQuickAsICould View Post
Land of the minivan and the Prius.

HOA's with pools, swim teams, parks, walking trails... Lot of folks make fun of Cary because the town goes to great effort to plan things out. Lots of pocket parks, parks and rec programs, walking trails...

Currently, the push from city planners is "walkable urban." They've identified three areas that will likely be be developed as centers for restaurants, shops, grocery stores, etc. and have started by developing downtown. Over the years, the town has gathered up about 14 acres in the downtown area. Though the original talk was that this would be a destination park, turns out it will be mostly a boutique hotel, theater, restaurants, coffee shops, with a green space in the center.

It seems to me that though the town was developed as a family suburban community for IBM employees, it is now moving in the direction of attracting professionals who want to walk home after a night out. But there are acres and acres of homes on large lots, so you I doubt the family thing will wane any time soon.

I don't know much about Chapel Hill. UNC and college students and grand old homes is my impression.
Do y think a lot of the building up will happen any time soon? I am only asking because if we move in 18 months or so, it would be great to know where things are actually being built. I lived in Davis for 14 years and watched it grow and spread. That is not a problem for me, but I would like to pick just the right house for us and knowing a much as possible always helps!
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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Originally Posted by Sarah42 View Post
The politics are kind of crazy in CA as well, and the taxes are super high.
The politics in North Carolina are kind of crazy, too. You owe it to yourself to investigate that as well as neighborhoods.

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Originally Posted by Sarah42 View Post
Also, I do not remember the schools ranking as high on Great Schools in Chapel Hill as they did in Cary, yet everyone rises about the schools in Chapel Hill. Any idea why? It is super hard to evaluate a school system from far away and I am using the only tools I have available to me. I know that using Great Schools is a little flawed.
Check out the state of North Carolina's education website at NC Report Card. The data on the website is all based on test results and quantifiable facts and figures, not opinion sites like some of the others out there.

How many bedrooms are you wanting for your large family? You could get a nice house in Chapel Hill or Cary for $500k, but I don't know if you could get a 6 bedroom new construction for that. New construction w/ four bedrooms shouldn't be a problem, but if you want each of the kids to have their own room you might have to make some compromises.

Chapel Hill and it's sister town, Carrboro, are the liberal, progressive "college town" area of the Triangle. Cary is a great family-oriented town, as is Apex, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah42 View Post
Do y think a lot of the building up will happen any time soon? I am only asking because if we move in 18 months or so, it would be great to know where things are actually being built. I lived in Davis for 14 years and watched it grow and spread. That is not a problem for me, but I would like to pick just the right house for us and knowing a much as possible always helps!
The building up has been constant for the past 25 years and shows no sign of abating.
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly NoVA and Phila
9,358 posts, read 14,155,037 times
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Since most people answered a lot of your other questions, I'll just throw this out there. The biggest difference between Chapel Hill schools and Wake County schools is the size of the school district. Chapel Hill is a relatively small district - with 3 high schools, 4 middle schools and 11 elementary schools. There is not too much variance among them. Overall, it is a wealthy school district but there is also a sizable low-income population too (about 20% live below the poverty line). The schools in CH/Carr, along with some Cary and Apex schools in Wake County generally are the highest performing schools in the area with regards to test scores.

Wake County is a very large school district - with about 20 high schools and over 100 elementary schools. There is much greater variance in the schools, as would be expected in a district that size. As mentioned above, Cary and then Apex tend to have schools with the highest test scores. They are also generally the wealthiest, socioeconomically. The poverty level in those areas tends to pretty low, especially in some parts of Cary.

How any of that relates to the best school district for kids with IEPs, I don't know. We are in CH/Carr School District, and I feel like the middle-of-the-road kids get the shaft a bit here (although I think that's a fairly common complaint in other school districts, too). The high achievers/gifted kids have great gifted services offered to them, and because there is a significant percentage of low-income, and low-achievers, there seem to be a plethora of services offered to them as well, although many of that seems to be geared toward minority and/or low-income students, at least overtly, not necessarily to non low-income, non-minority kids with IEPs (not saying it's not there, I just don't know). The "average" kids seem to get left behind.

I have found that at the middle school level, the staff is not very accommodating or willing to bend on their strict criteria for being put in certain classes (at least in our middle school). Our experience at the elementary school level, however, has been overall very good. Although that experience can be very person-specific. I know people in the same schools as my kids who love the middle school and are unhappy with the elementary.

Also, you should realize that NC has the 46th lowest teacher pay in the nation (and it is not the 46th poorest state). That has led to teachers here leaving the profession, moving to a different state, switching districts, etc. It is a big issue here in NC, and is talked about constantly here in Chapel Hill. (My neighbor has a bumper sticker that says, "North Carolina - First in Teacher Flight" - a play on words from the license plate slogan which is "North Carolina - First in Flight).

Lastly, if your comment that California politics is crazy refers to the fact that CA politics is liberal, then you will find Chapel Hill politics crazy, too. It is liberal heaven here. If you are a conservative Republican, you may not appreciate Chapel Hill or Carrboro.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:04 PM
 
56 posts, read 87,944 times
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Originally Posted by michgc View Post
Since most people answered a lot of your other questions, I'll just throw this out there. The biggest difference between Chapel Hill schools and Wake County schools is the size of the school district. Chapel Hill is a relatively small district - with 3 high schools, 4 middle schools and 11 elementary schools. There is not too much variance among them. Overall, it is a wealthy school district but there is also a sizable low-income population too (about 20% live below the poverty line). The schools in CH/Carr, along with some Cary and Apex schools in Wake County generally are the highest performing schools in the area with regards to test scores.

Wake County is a very large school district - with about 20 high schools and over 100 elementary schools. There is much greater variance in the schools, as would be expected in a district that size. As mentioned above, Cary and then Apex tend to have schools with the highest test scores. They are also generally the wealthiest, socioeconomically. The poverty level in those areas tends to pretty low, especially in some parts of Cary.

How any of that relates to the best school district for kids with IEPs, I don't know. We are in CH/Carr School District, and I feel like the middle-of-the-road kids get the shaft a bit here (although I think that's a fairly common complaint in other school districts, too). The high achievers/gifted kids have great gifted services offered to them, and because there is a significant percentage of low-income, and low-achievers, there seem to be a plethora of services offered to them as well, although many of that seems to be geared toward minority and/or low-income students, at least overtly, not necessarily to non low-income, non-minority kids with IEPs (not saying it's not there, I just don't know). The "average" kids seem to get left behind.

I have found that at the middle school level, the staff is not very accommodating or willing to bend on their strict criteria for being put in certain classes (at least in our middle school). Our experience at the elementary school level, however, has been overall very good. Although that experience can be very person-specific. I know people in the same schools as my kids who love the middle school and are unhappy with the elementary.

Also, you should realize that NC has the 46th lowest teacher pay in the nation (and it is not the 46th poorest state). That has led to teachers here leaving the profession, moving to a different state, switching districts, etc. It is a big issue here in NC, and is talked about constantly here in Chapel Hill. (My neighbor has a bumper sticker that says, "North Carolina - First in Teacher Flight" - a play on words from the license plate slogan which is "North Carolina - First in Flight).

Lastly, if your comment that California politics is crazy refers to the fact that CA politics is liberal, then you will find Chapel Hill politics crazy, too. It is liberal heaven here. If you are a conservative Republican, you may not appreciate Chapel Hill or Carrboro.

Hope that helps.
Thanks for your reply. I do not have much time, but wanted to say that you comment about politics made me laugh. I was born and raised in CA and tend to be very moderate in my political thinking. It is not the liberal thinking that bothers me... Hum. Without getting into a crazy political debate, I will just say that the taxes are high, services are limited, and there are constant battles about what programs to cut. Everyone has their pet project weather it be the national parks, the schools, or the fire fighters. Meanwhile, while my kid was in kinder. his school fund raised to the point of asking each family to donate $365 a year so that they could hire all the secretaries, librarians, and other "non-essential" staff back. We were paying almost 10k for property taxes. If you ask me, that was pretty nutty. My political comment was more about the day to day issues with living in CA and not specially the literalness of it all.
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:38 PM
 
56 posts, read 87,944 times
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Liberal-ness. I have a love hate relationship with autocorrect.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:08 PM
 
Location: My House
34,820 posts, read 32,781,968 times
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Originally Posted by Sarah42 View Post
Liberal-ness. I have a love hate relationship with autocorrect.
I disabled mine 3 years ago.
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