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Old 08-28-2012, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,491 posts, read 4,157,730 times
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We are considering a job offer in Seattle having lived in the NYC suburbs for the past 2 years, and Los Angeles prior to that.

We want top-schools, but not a pressure-cooker environment and more important it has to have great programs for my 6 yo son with severe ADHD (after a year of mainstreaming in a K class with a 1:1 aide we are repeating K in a self-contained class, to give you an idea of severity. He also gets OT and social skills). We also have 2 other kids...one who will likely be in the gifted program and another who is too young to tell.

We are down to earth, but still moderately conservative. The city does not appeal to me at all, we just want a nice affluent, suburban area with tons of young, active families, lots of activities for the kids, shopping, and a super-tight night community. Our budget would ideally be around $750K for a newer 4BR (3500 sq. ft or less as we've never been in an area where you get huge house ). Commute would ideally be under 45 minutes to Seattle (are we reverse commute that way?)

I've been referred to these areas but don't know if one excels over the other. Thoughts?

Also, for anyone that has done anything even remotely similar, is the lack of sun really going to kill me? I love the sun, but not the heat/humidity and definitely not the snow and how isolating it is half the year. Is it easy to meet people out there? I feel like we just got here but unfortunately my husband's job calls, and truth be told we are not thrilled with the quality of life/cost of living on the east coast. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by jjinla; 08-28-2012 at 11:09 PM..
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:16 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
36,937 posts, read 67,285,066 times
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The rain is far more than half the year. Currently, the weather people on the news are making a big deal out of it being 37 days without rain. Generally we get all of August, most of July dry, any other month there will be some rain.

If you decide you can deal with the weather I would recommend Sammamish, where you can still get an older 3,000 sf home on 1/3 acre for $750,000 or less. There are new homes that size and price but they are on minimum sized lots. The Lake Washington School District has good special ed programs and those in Sammamish tend to be better because the affluent parents hire attorneys and advocates to make sure their child gets the attention they need. The commute is 45-50 minutes depending on which bridge you take. There is really no reverse commute, people go from Seattle to the east side to work as well as the other way. You can cut the commute in half by moving to Mercer island which has even better schools but higher home prices. My recommendation is to start by looking at the special needs program information on the websites of the school districts, then make a call to the head of the department to discuss in detail.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Thanks. I glanced at homes on Mercer Island and don't think we would find anything suitable there. In our range they were all smallish and 70s-ish, which is the hardest style to undo.

We actually don't want an older home, but would like a neighborhood with some character. Is there an area further than M.I., but closer than Sammamish? I'd like to keep the commute as short as possible while still maintaining the schools, vibe, etc. Our lot now is 8500 sq. ft. and it's fine. I prefer to have my neighbors closer as I don't really like or need privacy (again, I've only lived in suburbs of LA and NY so living anywhere even remotely urban would kill me). Our neighborhood now is literally like Wisteria Lane with a bunch of SAHMs and young kids everywhere on bikes, scooters, you name it. Is there anywhere like that?
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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The Lake Washington School district is especially noted for it's special needs programs. It's a big school district, encompassing Kirkland, Redmond, and the northern half of Sammamish. You also might look at Issaquah, it's a little closer than Sammamish.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Commute-wise, which is closest of those? Wouldn't Bellevue offer the best commute of all? It looks great on paper. Is one area/district more universally wealthy?

OT, how on earth do you guys spend so little on education and get such great results? Tons of fundraising? Just smart parents? We spend almost $20K per kid in public school (I guess that is also why our property taxes run about 3% a year!) How big is your K class, for instance, and do they have aides in there?
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:42 AM
 
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Bellevue would be the closest and offer the best commute, depending on where in Seattle the job is and where in Bellevue the job is. If the job's in the south end of Seattle and the house is in NE Bellevue, it wouldn't be a picnic.
Bellevue is not universally wealthy, it does have some poverty/lower middle class spots, and so does Kirkland. They both have some fabulously wealthy areas as well. Sammamish doesn't seem to have poorer areas. Sure, they have some older developments, but nothing that's particularly run down.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:09 PM
 
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Bellevue does have a very good program for special need students. My son did receive services at his local public school for his ADHD. He was in a regular classroom and was pulled out for his services which may or may not work for your child. I also know a student that had a specialist with him one on one for the entire day to make sure he stays on task. There is another program for students who need more services when the 'pull out of class' type of learning doesn't work. I've attached the website and I would definitely give them a call and just explain your child's needs and ask the necessary questions pertaining to your child. I was satisfied with my sons' specialists. I thought his speech and OT were excellent, however, the social skills specialist I was not as impressed and feel it really didn't help my son much at all to make friends. Here is the attached link..
Behavioral Intervention : Special Education : Student Services : Departments : Bellevue School District
I honestly don't know much about Cascade but just know it's available for kids who have difficulty learning in a regular classroom and who are disruptive to their fellow classmates in a regular classroom. Obviously there will an abundance amount of testing your child will need to go through to make a determination.
Good luck. It's not easy finding the right match. If I can answer any of your questions, let me know. I also heard Lake Washington School District has an excellent program as well so I would definitely give them a call too. I've found their website and have attached that link for you.
http://www.lwsd.org/Parents/Special-...s/default.aspx
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,491 posts, read 4,157,730 times
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I believe that his office would be in the Queen Anne neighborhood. How much further would a Sammamish or Redmond commute add daily?

I hate to even ask this, but even though Bellevue and Kirkland have poorer areas (where are they?), are the schools seperate all the way through HS? Seriously, I cringe at myself asking that, but in my experience, any school with poor areas feeding into it eventually goes down, not up, and I have 3 very young kids who need the best schools money has to offer.

Thanks for all of this great information. Long term, the full expectation is that my son can mainstream again. He's just caught in that super-hyper phase right now, and a class of 22 was just too stimulating for him. He has no cognitive issues...just needs a small class.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:59 PM
 
Location: West Coast - Best Coast!
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Bellevue's schools are all outstanding in comparison with other school districts. Seriously. The district is serious about performance, as are the parents. Many parents move into the district because of its schools. Also, "poorer" in Bellevue is not saying much...there are no slums in Bellevue, only some older 1950s-1960s neighborhoods and apartment buildings. The "poorer" area of Bellevue is Crossroads, and that is some people's favorite part of Bellevue. It is the most racially diverse, with a lot of more recent transplants due to its proximity to Microsoft, and has a really unique mall that acts as a sort of community gathering spot. Even the "bad" schools in the BSD are high-performing, especially at the high school level. I don't know as much about all of the elementary schools, but I think if the high schools are all far above state average, it's fair to conclude the elementary and middle schools probably are, too.

The western and south side of Bellevue is wealthy, and even though most of the homes in those parts were build in the 70s-90s, they'd be at the top of your price range. Bellevue has been established as a WASPy area for quite some time, and there just isn't the land for new neighborhoods/homes. New construction is generally tear-downs, and the houses that go up in the place of the old ones are expppeeeeensive.

Bellevue is also growing as a city of its own, and no longer resembles the suburb it once was. Wisteria Lane it is not. If you want that, look to Sammamish. Or if you want Issaquah School District (excellent), you can look in the Lakemont neighborhood of Bellevue, or parts of Newcastle. Those would fit what you are looking for, too. The reason most people aren't thinking of Bellevue for you is because you want new/newer construction, outstanding schools good for special needs, Wisteria Lane lifestyle, and $750k homes. The parts of Bellevue that fit that description are going to be out of your price range, and to be honest, Bellevue has been criticized for its lack of understanding when it comes to kids that don't fit inside the everyone-must-take-AP-classes box.
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,491 posts, read 4,157,730 times
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Funny, you hit the nail on the head about special needs kids in Bellevue. I cringed reading about Newport and BHS reviews on Greatschools...that is the equivalent of our Scarsdale, and one that I shunned entirely. I don't want my kids competing with a bunch of Tiger Moms' kids, then being wearhoused in the alternative school when they burn out, which I can nearly guarantee with my son. He's only just starting but I always look at the HS info. as that is where you really learn what the district stands for. It's always warm and fuzzy in elementary to an extent.

We can go closer to $1M...I just would prefer not to but husband says that is sort of par for the course even though I wrongly assumed that Seattle would be way cheaper than NY or LA. What is the commute to Queen Anne west from Sammamish or Lakeland? I want a great school that cares for the whole child and fosters real learning...not just regurgitating facts for tests or to get into an Ivy. I couldn't even believe that BHS only has 5 counselors for almost 2000 kids. Insane!
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