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Old 07-18-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Greetings and thanks in advance for any assistance. My wife and I (and our 3 kids under the age of 5) are considering moving to the Chappaqua, Briarcliff, Pleasantville or Pocantico Hills school districts.

- If you were faced with our decision, which school district would you choose and why?
- If you have experience with the above school districts, can you please share positive/negative experiences?

A bit more information for your analysis. We're looking in the $750-$1M range with taxes sub $24k/year. We are Catholic (we have no problem with any other religions, but would be interested in knowing whether our children would feel like outcasts in any of the aforementioned school districts). My wife will stay at home at least until all of the children are in school. I do fine financially, but my wife and I grew up modestly and are the type of parents who will want our children to have summer jobs when they get older to learn how to be responsible and to understand the value of a dollar. Neither my wife nor I are into excesses; we have no interest in driving fancy cars or wearing fancy clothes, because we don't see the need (we have no problem with others that live their lives differently).

Our gut reaction is that the Pocantico Hills or Pleasantville school districts might suit us better, but the inventory of houses available suggests smaller lots than what is available in Chappaqua or Briarcliff.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:13 AM
 
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Pocantico Hills and Pleasantville are both smaller than Chappaqua (Not sure about Briarcliff), so that comes with some advantages and disadvantages.

In terms of overall quality of the school district, while there may be differences, they are more alike than they are different. All 4 are excellent school districts. Personally, I'd consider all 4 pretty equally, and would make the decision based on the best house you can find in your budget.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:31 AM
 
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THey are all good school districts(although my son is only 4). Chappaqua is the largest and is the only one with multiple elementary schools. Pocatinco hills kids go to high school in Briarcliff, Pleasantville or Tarrytown(they chooose). Pleasantville has no school busing. I live in Briarcliff. My attitude is similar to yours. Honestly I think any of the Westchester towns will have quite a deal of wealthier peopel because it costs a lot of money to live in these towns. But I think they are diverse enough that your children will not be outcasts anywhere. You should be able to find a home within your price range-although taxes under 24k as you near 1 million will probably not be realistic.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:51 AM
 
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Another consideration is the train commute if you are working in NYC. P-ville and Chappaqua have train stations but from Briarcliff and PH you would have to drive to a station in another town where parking could be an issue.

P-ville and Chappaqua have village centers (P-ville more extensive than Chap), Briarcliff has a very small street of shops and a few strip malls, PH is all residential I believe. P-ville and Briarcliff have their own town pools which is a nice amenity.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:59 AM
 
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More on the schools - we lived in Pleasantville for a year after relocating from Los Angeles and my daughter attended Bedford Road School. I cannot say enough good things about it - from the teachers to the staff, facilities, and academic program. Really the only downside is the no busing situation, which is not a big deal if you can find a house that is walking distance within the village - your price range would work but the inventory always seems to be limited. I've also seen houses there for $800k with $24k taxes.

The inventory reason is why we ended up expanding our search area and buying in Chappaqua. We love it so far, my daughter loves the town camp and our neighbors have been very nice and welcoming. You'll find a lot of negativity on these boards about snobbiness in Chappaqua but my experience has been that there are nice people in every town and a-holes in every town. As others have said, there is enough diversity that you will be able to find a niche and friends that you are happy with.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:03 AM
 
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Briarcliff does have its own train station-the name of it is Scarborough but its in Briarcliff and all residents can get a permit. Briarcliff is on the hudson line. Pville and CHappaqua are on the Harlem line. I do find that in big rainstorms, snowstorms the Harlem line can get more problematic because there are a lot of trees along the tracks which could fall down. Hudson line is on the river and I hardly ever have problems. Briarcliff does have a village center, its just smaller than the other two but you can get to either other town in 10 minutes
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:32 AM
 
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I have several friends in Briarcliff who love it there, and I've been a frequent guest at their great pool . The only complaint they have is related to the train commute - granted most are on the Pleasantville side (their kids are in preschool with my son in P-ville) so they have to get creative on where to park all day within walking distance to the P-ville station or figure out drop off/pick up times with their spouse, etc.

For what it's worth I've commuted on the Harlem line for over a year without any delay of more than 5-10 minutes, and that only happened 2-3 times seemingly not weather-related. I've heard that both the Hudson and Harlem lines are very reliable and most of the problems occur on the New Haven line due to older trains and a less rigorous maintenance schedule...
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:56 AM
 
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yes the pool is really nice!
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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A few randon thoughts;
I would repeat that these school districts are more the same than different in terms of quality of education. Some would take issue with Chappaqua being "down to earth" compared to say, Pleasantville. It is a different demographic.
My step children go to school in Briarcliff (and their mother is a professor at Vassar so that says something!).
There is no town pool in Chappaqua, so if you do not have your own, or join a club, it is a hot summer.
You may want to take a look at houses and go from there rather than going by school district, at least at first.
I have l lived on the Harlem line for 25 years. My two children and ex take the train in everyday and it is rare that they have a problem.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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Pocantico Hills generally has pretty low taxes but there usually aren't very many houses for sale there. I think all of those school districts are good, but each town is different, so you may need to expand your search criteria beyond school district, or at least say exactly what you are looking for in a district. Chappaqua schools are known for being on the hyper competitive side.

Sadly, keeping property taxes under 24k a year is becoming more and more difficult here.
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