Private Elementary School vs Public

Updated on June 15, 2012
L.M. asks from Manassas, VA
14 answers

Okay, I will try to make this short and sweet. My lil guy is finishing up private kindgerten due to his late birthday. He can now go to a public school. Problem is I do not like the school he would have to attend. Over half of the school is learning English as a second language. I am a minority as well, so please don't think i'm a racist. He is very bright and I don't want to hinder him. I have become a single parent now and he would need to be taken to school and picked up since I would be at work. There is a place that will take him to and from school for $640.00 a month! The private shcool would be $1070.00 a month which inlcudes the before and aftercare . I've been paying over $800 a month for his current school but its tight. One last option is my old babysitter said I could use her address and let him go to her son's school. Its in a better area but I'm nervous because I think its unlawful. I'm really torn. Any ideas? Thanks so much.

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So What Happened?

First of all, you momma's ROCK! Thank you everyone for such thoughtful and caring responses.

Now for "what happened" the public school had low test scores but the community reviews were all 5 stars. On the greatschool website, it had 4 out of 10 stars, I'm assuming of the low test scores. In my hunt I found a private school I didn't know about previously and decided to put him there. It's small, affordable, 6,700.00 a year and closer to my job. I found a 5 star community ranking martial arts school that will take him to and from school for me which is also affordable. I will have to pay a combined $917 a month.

More Answers



answers from Bloomington on

I see your dilemma. Here are some other options to maybe consider:

*Look into charter schools in your area. They are USUALLY similar to style and size of a private school, but are FREE because they are public. They often have a waiting list, and use a lottery system. But, openings happen as the summer goes by.

*Look at hiring someone to drive and provide before/after school care for him at a much lower cost. Ask your old babysitter for a recommendation. I've also had luck with if I can't find someone via word of mouth.

*Look at the Boys and Girls Club in your area. Ours is only $20 A YEAR for afterschool care until 6 p.m. They provide the snack and transportation from the school (using the school's bus). However, the limit HERE is 6 years of age.

*Look into being able to go to another public school in your area...although transportation is more of the issue??

Don't use your old babysitter's address. More than likely you will have to provide at least 2 utility bills in YOUR name with that address (as they do here). Do you want him to start, do well, and then they find out you aren't living there (and what are you teaching your son???)? They will either require you pay tuition and/or send him out.... mid year???

I've taught inner-city schools, medium socio-economic schools, and charter schools. The biggest difference is parent and teacher involvement, NOT money or resources. If you have the right teachers and administrators working with parents who value education, you have a winning team. Class size is the next biggest factor.

Good luck!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

This is a common concern today as much as it is the reality of our classrooms across the nation. As my long-time teacher/child development friend recently explained to me, having ESL kids in elementary schools simply doesn't hinder learning in English speaking kids. At that age, these kids learn English (and everything else) so quickly that by second or third grade, they're fluent. And along the way the English speaking kids are being enriched by the diversity in the classroom.

Visit the school and talk to them about your concerns. I think there is a bit of a myth that language diversity slows learning in this age group. I also feel like the worst thing we can do for our education system is abandon public schools. (Especially when the alternative is often so hard on our pocketbooks!)

If your child is bright AND a late birthday boy, chances are he's going to do great in most any environment :)

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

The private school probably offers need based scholarships-go talk to them-private schools love diversity and helping children who belong in their school because they are bright and have a lot to offer-which sounds like your little boy!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Does your school district allow you to "choice in" to other schools? Ours does on a space available basis...look into that - you could probably get him in to a better school.

I also know a lot of people who have moved to get into a better school...I know moving is expensive, but so are all of your other options.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would look up the school he is supposed to go to on and see what others are saying about the school. You can also see what their test scores are like. Our kids go to a school that has a lot of low income families. The school ranking is kind of low but that is because we have a lot of turn over, kids coming and going. OUR kids have done really well at the school. The teachers are very dedicated and the kinder is excellent.

If you have done all the research and definitely don't want him going there, then I would do what someone else suggested and see if the private school offers scholarships. Or move.
I would not use someone else's address. The last thing you want to happen is for the school to find out and force you to move him to the other school mid year. That would be tough on the little guy!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Don't use your sitter's address. If you get caught you will need to pay tuition to the school system and you will need to withdraw your son. Our system has pretty strict residency proof. You need to have mail and a lease or deed with that address on it. There are some schools around us that I would move to avoid. So I understand your issues. But, having said that, our previous school had a very heavy English as second language population and we went with it and the kids did great. What are the test scores? How do other parents view the school? That is what I would look at.


answers from Austin on

You will come to realize your child will be placed with the teacher and the classroom that meets HIS needs.

We have a middle school our neighbor hood kids attend. It has the reputation of being low performing with bad behaviors.. etc.. So many parents placed their children in private middle school at this point.

And yet our daughter did great there.. She started Algebra in 7th grade. Advanced science classes, high school Spanish.. came to realize there were about 12 students on that campus that seemed to be the problems.. Meet their parents and you would know why. But the students that are going to achieve and do well, are always going to do well..

Your attention and involvement in your child's education is where the achievement is going to come from whether in Public or private school.


answers from San Francisco on

You won't be able to just use your babysitter's address. In our district we have to provide THREE types of legal proof of residency, current mortgage or rental agreement, utility bill, homeowners/renter's insurance, etc. all with the PARENT'S name on it.
But you could still submit an official transfer request. We have kids from outlying areas that do this, from both within and outside our district. California law requires the schools to accept children as long as there is space available. Call the school you want your son to attend and find out what you can do, if the school is closed, called the district office!



answers from Houston on

Is the babysditter's school in the same school district as your public school? If so, there may not be a problem. In our area we can request to change schools if both schools are in the same district and you and or the babysitter will provide transportation.

It might be worth checking out!


answers from Washington DC on

In Baltimore you can have your child transferred to another school. I found this out after spending over $20K a year on private school.

And I have heard you can't fake addresses too.


answers from San Francisco on

The first few years of my daughters' education, they actually attended a private school where most kids spoke a different language at home (in other words, school was the first time these kids were speaking English). It was an immersion school, and we LOVED it. I don't know if the public school in your neighborhood has an immersion program (some do), but if so, don't discount it. It can be a great thing for young kids to learn a second language while they're still young enough to pick it up easily. This will not hold them back in terms of speaking and writing in English, either - studies show bilingual children may have a slight lag in the first year or two, but after that, they tend to understand language structure and grammar better than their single-language friends.

If that's not an option, and you think the private school isn't within your budget, how about an inter-district transfer to the public school that you do like? Lots of kids in our area do that. Provided that the school you like isn't totally over-crowded, you just fill out a form with the district, and they will let you know later in the summer if your child can attend that school or not. Usually you can pick a second and third choice school as well, in case your first choice is full. That way, you can live where you like, but your child can go to the public school you prefer.

ETA: Regarding after school care, ask the school office if they know any home day cares. We did that after we moved into our neighborhood, and the school office recommended a babysitter who was GREAT. She picked up the kids from school every day, gave them snack, helped with homework, etc, and charged around $300/month. WAY cheaper than KinderCare or the like.

Good luck!


answers from Phoenix on

We are very much a supportive private school family. But would be open to charter and variances ( SP ?) for certain public schools if it came down to not affording it anymore. But the Lord is blessing us one year at a time and we have functioned with His help to accomidate Private Christian Education. I think once you start it really will be an impact of the kids as they are older if you do leave. In another words, my kids would be devestated at this point ( 4th and 7th ) if they went to public. They are use to small class size, one on one , and overall a good christian enviroment. So my take is, once you start, maybe try not to change them for the education if it is at all possible. Good Luck



answers from Kansas City on

Is moving an option? It looks like any option you have right now is an expensive one, so would it benefit you to move to the school's boundry area?

The YMCA offers before and after school care right in the schools in our district. You can drop your kiddo off at school and they will feed them breakfast and watch them. When the bell rings, they just go down the hall to their classroom. It's not cheap, but it is reasonable.

Please do not use a false address. The trouble you can get in to is not worth it. Good luck!


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, L.:

Are there any moms in your area doing home schooling?
check out the home school association to see about
that course of study.
Good luck.

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