any 2 cents out there??
Sorry not to be more specific. We've lived here ten years (after Virginia and Atlanta) and love it.
Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!
LAUSD is generally not very good; funding comes from property values and a measure passed in the 1970s severly limited property taxes and undermines the school district. Education spending in in the state is very poor. Property taxes are very low compared to many areas with good public schools and the taxes are skewed. That being said there are lots of good public schools, disclosure is good and a fair number of good charter schools. There are fewer private schools in Los Angeles than in many large cities and fewer alternative schools too. There is one tiny Waldorf school and no k-6 montessori for instance. We go to a lovely reggio preschool and are part of an excellent charter school (Larchmont) so I am not too concerned about it.
It is a big city and so there is a lot choice as well. The weather is lovely, the food is excellent, the farmer's markets run all year, the shopping is good, and most people can get to the beach, the mountains, and the desert within an hour.
A couple of the good elementaries I know (Colfax and Carpenter) are LAUSD. There are other school districts scattered around (Culver City, Burbank, Glendale, and I'm sure there are others) that also have good publics.
We live in what I would consider the suburbs, and it's definitely family-friendly, lots of great parks and activities.
Good luck! Hope your DH can find what he's looking for.
Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!
In CA, the funding comes from property taxes statewide.
Since property taxes are based on the sale value of a property and property values have plummeted, there will be less tax collected for the schools. However the schools are guaranteed a large percentage of the total taxes collected, including the lottery. A few communities in California have one of the highest sales taxes in the nation, 10.25%, and 9.25% for state income tax for incomes over $40,000. The property tax burden is moderate in comparison to other states.
The weather is nice.
I grew up in the Bay Area and missed it like crazy when I moved here 8 years ago, but now I love L.A., wouldn't move back home if you paid me. People here are friendly, there's tons of stuff to do--city stuff and outdoorsy stuff. It takes awhile to get used to it, especially if you're comparing to NY or Chicago or SF, but I really love living here. I live on the Eastside, btw (Silverlake).
we just moved to LA this past july from loveland, colorado (pop. 80k). we are renting in el segundo, which i had heard has excellent schools. the residents here call el segundo "Mayberry" b/c it has such a small town feel amidst the big city and i heard that the teachers and coaches make house calls b/c they have great relationships with the students and their families. i only have a 5yo and 15 mo old so i can't personally verify that yet. also, if you like the idea of being able to walk to different places el segundo is great for that. we can walk to parks, pools, the downtown area restaurants, cafes, farmer's weekly market, library etc. lots and lots of kids and the people are very friendly.
the first few months for us were quite stressful, but it's growing on us and i am loving living here. i find something new to explore almost everyday. my husband works downtown LA on 5th so he commutes from here, which if he takes the bus it's about 25 min plus an extra 10 or so at the station. if he drives himself he leaves early in the morning to beat the major rush and comes home early leaving about 330pm. the traffic is probably the biggest thing we have had to get used to and i gotta say, my confidence on the 405 is growing! anyway, if work schedules and bosses allow for flexibility, you could live just about anywhere and make the commute work for your situation.
overall, we love living in a beach city.
I would reiterate what the PP's have said. I was born and raised in CA, so my perspective may be a bit skewed, but I am originally from Northern CA, which is in many ways a different state. I live in Ventura, which isn't in LA County but in neighboring Ventura Co. That being said, lots of folks here commute to jobs in LA. Generally speaking, I would avoid that commute, but this town has way more of a small-town feel and it is also right on the beach but more affordable than LA area beach communities. There are some good public schools here as well as a smattering of privates.
I moved to Orange County from northern Virginia in 1997, and I only lived there until 2002, but I found the opposite situation from than CrazyMumofTwo. I didn't realize that Orange County would be as conservative as it was--it might be different now--but I found people to be fairly friendly. I mean in Virginia, I didn't really know the names of my neighbors, I barely knew them by sight. Now when it snowed a lot and my car got stuck, neighbors I didn't know came and helped shovel me out, but we weren't friends. Whereas because of the situation of buying our house in a new development, I came to know my neighbors a lot better. We had block parties and the like, and I knew them all by name and sight.
I felt like there wasn't as much racial diversity, at least in the part of OC where I lived. I mean there were a lot of racially white people or Latino, mostly of Mexican descent, but not very many people of other races or nationalities where I lived, and I had a few experiences with what appeared to be racially prejudiced people. But, again, this was south OC and I think part of the issue is that the population density was just so high compared to my area of origin. It also meant that a lot of the jobs didn't pay as well compared to the DC area.
I never lived in LA County, however, but there were some places that I thought seemed really cool. I actually liked Pasadena when I visited, and Culver City as well. In general I preferred the areas a bit more inland. I really enjoyed the weather, the activities, the people.