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Old 12-13-2011, 01:36 PM
 
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For various reasons, I am considering buying a house in New Rochelle, White Plains or Mamaroneck. These towns never make the list of recommendations on this board, because of the public schools, but are they really that bad? Is the problem that they dont have the resources? Are they unsafe? Do they offer honors or G&T programs? Of course I want the best education possible for my children, but my husband and I also have to be realistic. We are not willing to go broke living in a town that we cannot afford or barely scrapping by to pay for private. We are stuck in the middle area where we would never get financial aid at one of the private schools and can not afford 80K in tuition. What do families like ours do? I looked at the school report cards and whereas in a place like Scarsdale, the % of children passing the the state test are in the 90s, in WP or NR that number drops to the high 70s. I believe that when it comes to education, being an involved parent makes the difference. Do you agree or would I truly do my children a disservice by moving to one of these towns?
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:16 PM
bg7
 
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Its in the 90s in Mamaroneck also. Problem solved.
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:54 PM
 
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We're in the same predicament. We moved to Westchester before we had kids (Port Chester) and now we're screwed because our schools are not great but we can't afford to tuition them into a better district or to pay the elite schools, but we make too much for aid.

From what I've learned so far, I wouldn't lump Mamaroneck with the others. I think that district is quite good but the test scores are lower due to more socioeconomic diversity (poorer students who for a variety of reasons don't do as well on those tests). So if your kids are coming from a stable home with involved parents they'd do fine there (and in the others you listed too). Another district I like and is almost affordable to me is Rye Neck. They have a gifted Math program I think, but there is no formal G&T program in Westchester. I think all the high schools have honors. Oh, I like Pelham too.

Don't think safety is an issue in any of those districts you listed, by the way. It's just a matter of a more diverse student body and that not being desirable in some parents' eyes.

Am interested to hear what others have to say and what you end up doing. PM me if you'd like to share notes.
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:08 PM
bg7
 
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Halcyon - come on down to Rye Neck!
The Peruvian food in Port Chester is better, but its only a short drive on the I95.
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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New Rochelle's main problem is class size when you get to the middle and high school level because there is one school for the entire city, middle and high school combined. By Westchester standards, which are admittedly skewed by a higher percentage of districts that could be described as above average to top performers, the city suffers a certain stigma as it is not a sought-after district. Add to that the downtown area that has had crime issues for many years, but is currently in stages of gentrification/stabilization, and you have reasons why people don't look to New Rochelle as a first choice. There are some lovely neighborhoods in the city, especially close to Scarsdale, and numerous religious and private schools within easy distance, which is a reason why some choose New Rochelle as they will not be using the middle and high schools if they are in a good elementary district.

White Plains is similar to New Rochelle, but with much lower taxes because of the large commercial base in the city. Both of the cities serve a more diverse student population, hence the reason why test scores may be skewed. I would not classify either district as being bad, or to avoid for safety reasons, unlike some NYC schools, but there can be performance lags when compared with neighboring districts that serve smaller student populations.

Mamaroneck is not in the same league at all, and is not a bad district at all. Larchmont-Mamaroneck is recommended many times on the forum, since they share a school district, unlike Eastchester that has three districts within the town.
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Harrison
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For what it's worth, we live in Scarsdale but are moving to Mamaroneck in the new year. I will admit that we are applying to a few private schools, but if my son doesn't get in (we aren't holding our breath) we are perfectly happy sending him to public school in the Mamaroneck district. And *gasp* it would be Central, which isn't even considered as good as Murray or Chatsworth because it draws students from some of the more diverse areas of Mamaroneck, vs. the other 2 which draw strictly from Larchmont, which is more uniformly upscale.

Not sure why you would lump Mamaroneck in with NR or WP, although I do see some of the similarities - one middle/high school that draws from the entire town and therefore is more diverse than other, smaller districts, or those in towns like Scarsdale where there is little to no diversity at all.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
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I was wondering also why Mamaroneck was getting lumped in with NR and WP. I have nothing but great things to say about our district overall. And, FWIW, the people that I know that attend Central seem no less thrilled with the school than the people that I know that go to Murray and Chatsworth. And the people that I've met that work at Mam Ave are all wonderful - it's just a different social atmosphere there from what I've heard since such a large portion of the school is hispanic.

I'm sure that you'll love it here, Streetsmart. I found the atmosphere far preferable to Scarsdale personally, even though Scarsdale was more centrally located.
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:49 PM
 
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I don't think it makes sense to lump all three districts together. Since you are interested in K-8, I also think you need to look at individual schools in the districts you are interested in.

In NR, for example, Davis and Webster are the district's best elementary schools and I get the sense that from my friends that they are satisfied with the education. You are right about their performance on state tests btw districts, but the issue of student mix explains much of the test score disparity. The state tests actually break down the scores between economically disadvantaged and not disadvantaged students. The not disadvantaged students at Davis and Webster have passing rates in the high 80s and in the 90s, depending on grade and subject. Remember these schools have 25%+ of their pop as economically disadvantaged, while Chatsworth, Murray in Larchmont (and all Scarsdale elementary) have basically 0 disadvantaged students. Student SES demographis explains the bulk of the aggregate scores differences between these schools.

I write all this to say that IMO your mainstream, ie not disadvantaged students, wil do just fine in Davis and Webster elementary schools. (Less familiar with the others you mentioned.) Also, NR has an extensive G&T program and magnet school--humanities, math/science, dual language academies-- system.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
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I also have many friends happy at Davis (or a magnet at Barnard...less so at Ward), but look across this board and count the number of people that lament that they are now stuck in a school district because they bought into a cheaper district to save money with the intention of switching later on.

Good districts tend to appreciate faster and hold their value better. If you aren't very disciplined, it's easy to end up stuck. That, plus the 10% cost of selling and moving (commissions, closing costs, taxes, etc.) and the trauma alone of pulling yourself and your kids out of their community. If you are happy with the schools in NR and WP overall (and many are) then by all means include it in your search. But I disagree that you should choose a district based on one school alone.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:58 AM
 
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Thanks for all of your replies. I will take a closer look at Mamaroneck. and I will definitely go back and look at the break down of scores on the socio-economic level.

For NR, I was only considering Davis and Webster and then Leonard for Middle School. We will go private for HS. Does anyone have any insight into Leonard?

In terms of value for your money. (ie. space, yard space and taxes) How does NR, Mamaroneck and WP stack up?
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