This year my son started kindergarted at a private school right next door to where we live. Last year we were going to move to a better school district before he starts school but due to finances and not being able to find a place we stayed and thought this would be a temporary thing. The problem is that DS loves the school. He comes home totally excited and creative. He starts drawing and building things. The school is very nurturing and he has learned a tremendous amount. It is really the perfect place for him except that it costs 12K a year!! How do people afford this? I spoke to my husband about applying for assistance but he is worried that his peers may find out. I am wondering if some of these parents work on these committees that decide on who to accept. He is in the building industry whiich has suffered for the past few years. I work but cannot afford to pay for everything including the school. Plus, I'm not sure if other areas are like this but at the public schools down here there is the "gifted"and non gifted. The gifted kids get the atention, great teachers and benefit. If your in the regular class its a differernt story. When we toured the schools we saw this first hand. The gifted kids looked happy and motivated. In the reg classes the kids were all sitting in differernt areas, unmotivated etc etc. I know my son is smart but he is not gifted. He needs a push and attention and I don't think he would make it in the gifted. I have spoken to several public teachers in the meantime and they say that the gifted kids are the ones who are benefiting. Its sad but true. My husband is convinced we need to move. I am trying to figure out a way to make it happen that my son can stay at this private school. Anyone have a similar situtation and suggestions of what to do. This school does not have scholarships that I can see. I asked my husband to ask his parents if they can contribute but he is reluctant. My parents are in the middle of a courtcase and there finances are tied up. Even a little per month would help. Right now his school is next door and my office is a mile down the road which is great. There are 2 good public schools but we would have to move and I would be 45 min away from my job.
When you say apply for assistance you mean financial aid through the private school? If you do, I am under the impression that pretty much EVERYONE applies for aid at most of the private schools around here. Some people get the aid and some don't, but it is pretty universal that you apply. Just like in college, everyone fills out a FASFA, some people are eligible for lots of grants, some people only loans.
We are at a private school and while we are able to pay the tuition currently, it seriously limits us in other ways. Our school only has a very small number of slots that are available to receive assistance. The school board approves or denies the applications. As the parents. it isn't public info, but yet we do know because it is a small school, very close knit, Applying doesn't hurt anything and I could certainly try. Assistance here means that you pay half the regular tuition fee as it is at the other private school in town. The other private school here seems to give out assistance to practically every other family, but they are a much larger school then where we go.
I'd feel same as your husband if I were in your family's situation. Unless you foresee your financial situation changing enough to accommodate a 12k yearly tuition comfortably, then it doesn't make sense to stay in the school. It is just going to be adding more worry and stress to your life, IMHO. And you might as well invest whatever spare money you have towards his college education or whatever else your son will desire once he graduates from high school.
I don't think they have scholarships. Even if we could get $400 a month towards it that would help a great deal. DH is self employed and has accumulated alot of debt w this business. He is deciding what to do. I think that it is important to start them off right in the early years. Its just like with good eating habits etc etc. Anyways, I'm gong to apply for the tuition assistance and see what happens. Like I said a few hundred dollars would really help.
I agree. If you dont see it as sustainable over the long run (and also, are there siblings?), I would tend to just go the public school route.
No school is perfect and I've always seen education as a partnership between home and school. It may just mean more work for you in terms of supporting and fighting for your child's educational needs.
But $12000/year is a big stressor. It might not be worth my peace of mind.
Have you expanded your search for different private schools in the area? I guess it depends on the region of the country...around here (Missouri) there are many private schools for around $4,000 or $5,000 per year (you can choose 10 month or 12 month payments). It's barely more than we've been paying for daycare/preschool. It sounds like he's thriving in that environment, perhaps there is another comparable private school nearby.
My kids have been in private school (Catholic) their entire lives. Elementary was around 3,500-5,000 (now). High school ranges from $7,800-$9,000. All the schools have different types of assistance, including work study. One school around here lets parents do work for assistance. Up until three years ago, paying tuition was not a struggle for us. It wasn't easy, but we were willing to make it work- no vacations, low or no car notes, a more simple lifestyle than those around us. Three years ago (with the BP oil spill) our financial state became chaotic. We do not live in an area with good public schools- they are beyond awful. So keeping our kids in Catholic school was really important to us- my kids love school, even as teens, and I truly believe their schools have had a huge impact on WHO they are now- and they are fabulous kids. My son has a job and contributes towards his tuition- he also does work study. That's how important it is to him. My kids have known for a few years how much tuition is and what we sacrifice for them to go to their schools.
If you truly think he needs to be there, then apply for the assistance and see what happens. If it's than important to you, don't let your pride get in the way of making it happen. But it will be a long road; tuition will only go up. If you can't make the committment, seek out other good schools now, while he is young. It is much harder to switch from a private school environment when a child is older (middle school or high school age) than when he is younger.
Yes apply for the assistance and go in for the interview and see what the payment options are...I am a single mom working partime teaching and am sending L to a private school this fall..I applied for assistance and with that and making arrangements to pay the balance at income tax time she gets to go...It is very important to me that she attends this school..One of the many reasons we moved back home..I sent her to public this year because of my pride and by October I was kicking myself...This particular public school while is okay has cut so much out in the way of programs due to no money...I want more than that for my girl..I want her to get the education she deserves..Not that I don't hold love and pride for this public school..I went there myself all my life...But even when I went years ago they had more to offer... :(
You know in your heart what you want...At least try to make it happen..otherwise you will always regret it...
Thanks for your reply. I truly believe that the first few years are very important. This year he has learned so much at this school. He has had the extra help when needed which he would not have gotten in public school. The ideal situation would be to find a great public school but that is rare in my area. Our school district is one of the worst schools. If we move then I will have to commute a far way when now I am just down the street from my office. I did apply for assistance and have rec'd some which I am very grateful for. Then I checked the tuition and of course it went up so the savings is very little. Like I said I think its important to atleast be in private school for the first few years. Then if he transfers to public he may be able to get into the gifted programs. I think it will give him the advantage he needs. But hopefully the economy will improve and we can keep him there for the long term.
We are in the same position as you except we have two children. We actually left a really great school district because exactly what you are talking about- the kids that were excelling got so much attention and there was so much stress (5 tests every Friday in 2nd grade!). We actually took a chance and moved across country so we could afford a small private school. My older daughter is mildly dyslexic and was denied help at her public school. We found the most amazing private school. I worry about money all the time. It is very stressful but I wouldn't give it up unless we had no choice. We really scrimp but I truly believe that building up a strong foundation when children are young creates a strong person by the time they are older. My oldest daughter went to public school for k-2nd and I can't say it was a horrible experience for her but the way she has grown and the strength I have seen in the last 6 years (the school is 1-8) is amazing. It has been worth it for us even with the stress. Good luck to you and good for you for putting so much care and thought into your child's education and well-being. No matter where he ends up in school, having a parent who is involved will always make a huge difference for him.