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Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Old Aug 4th 2023, 1:10 am
  #16  
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Bellybratz
Thanks everyone. Realised l put SF and wasn't more specific. We don't want to live in SF itself, we are looking at the south bay area. I was thinking Santa Clara, Palo Alto or San Mateo could work? Unfortunately I won't be able to work on his visa. We know moving will be a financial hit. Are those areas reasonable places to look for decent elementary schools and property? You seem to be able to get a half decent 3 bed house for $6000/month which ideally is our max budget for somewhere
If anything the South bay is more expensive that SF, as SF has lost a lot of allure in the last few years. Add in return to office for tech workers who all work in that area, it's an expensive place!
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Old Aug 4th 2023, 3:31 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

OP, what is the salary offer? Let's start there and rip the band aid off
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Old Aug 4th 2023, 4:50 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Bellybratz
Thanks everyone. Realised l put SF and wasn't more specific. We don't want to live in SF itself, we are looking at the south bay area. I was thinking Santa Clara, Palo Alto or San Mateo could work? Unfortunately I won't be able to work on his visa. We know moving will be a financial hit. Are those areas reasonable places to look for decent elementary schools and property? You seem to be able to get a half decent 3 bed house for $6000/month which ideally is our max budget for somewhere
They’re all comfortable places, particularly Palo Alto. But… you’re going to have a lot of rental competition from tech workers and, in the case of Palo Alto, the fact that Stanford University is there. Palo Alto has perhaps the most “competitive” public (i.e. state) schools in the Bay Area.
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Old Aug 4th 2023, 9:35 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

We have done some more research and Los Altos looks better. There are some really good schools there and it looks like you can get some decent houses within budget. Does anyone know about the process of enrolling in schools? Are they oligded to offer you a place if you are within the school catchment area? We had planned to get a short term lease/Airbnb for a month or so whilst we found a property but now I'm worried if we got them in the school we wanted but then couldn't find a rental with the catchment they might make us move schools. What kind of size are the catchment areas, would it give us much leeway?
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Old Aug 4th 2023, 2:21 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Bellybratz
We have done some more research and Los Altos looks better. There are some really good schools there and it looks like you can get some decent houses within budget. Does anyone know about the process of enrolling in schools? Are they oligded to offer you a place if you are within the school catchment area? We had planned to get a short term lease/Airbnb for a month or so whilst we found a property but now I'm worried if we got them in the school we wanted but then couldn't find a rental with the catchment they might make us move schools. What kind of size are the catchment areas, would it give us much leeway?
the internet is your friend… google any town and school district and you should find the site that gives you all the details you need…

the paperwork requirements are very specific, you may not have what you need with an Airbnb

https://www.lasdschools.org/District...istration.html

The maps usually let you look up a specific address:

https://www.myschoollocation.com/losaltossd/

have not been there in 10 years now, went for a wedding in Los Altos hills. It was nice up there.
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Old Aug 4th 2023, 4:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Bellybratz
We have done some more research and Los Altos looks better. There are some really good schools there and it looks like you can get some decent houses within budget. Does anyone know about the process of enrolling in schools? Are they obligated to offer you a place if you are within the school catchment area? We had planned to get a short term lease/Airbnb for a month or so whilst we found a property but now I'm worried if we got them in the school we wanted but then couldn't find a rental with the catchment they might make us move schools. What kind of size are the catchment areas, would it give us much leeway?
Hello OP. Thanks for the clarification that you are not looking to live in SF itself. (I would not personally advise that with a young family) I lived and worked all over the Bay Area and San Francisco for 20+ years until about a year ago when my wife and I left California. We also raised two sons in the Bay Area both of who had ADHD issues, the younger son very significant. We knew many other couples who had similar experiences both on the Peninsula, South Bay, and in the East Bay.

First and in all honestly, some of the comments on the levels of income you need are ridiculous. Yes, it is very expensive to live in the Bay Area, certainly compared to the UK, but to be told that you need at a minimum $400K to $700K salaries implies a lifestyle that I suspect is not relevant to your life circumstances. Certainly, you would be very comfortable, but my wife and I with two children lived in some of the most expensive parts of the Bay Area in reasonable housing and were on nothing like those salary levels. My wife was not working either.

To answer your question, the law in CA requires the public school district to provide an education to your child if you live within its attendance area. They have to take your child if you can prove residency. If there are several schools in the district you may not have a choice which one you are assigned, but in good school districts they are usually all good. The rule is good public schools = expensive housing and vice versa. So you move to the school district of choice, prove you are a resident from your utility bills, etc, and the school takes your children. This is a major reason why areas like Los Altos or Palo Alto are so expensive, but these are also at the very top of the pile. San Jose also has good schools and housing there is not quite as expensive. San Mateo is a good area too. CalTrain provides lots of commute options up and down the peninsula. There are a lot of moving parts to research, but if your husband is on a good salary. you could make it work. The key question is what is he being offered? My only hesitation is the lack of relocation assistance which any responsible employer transferring you, should know you need for a family in the Bay Area.

As for ADD, it is very well known in Bay Area schools and the system is set up to deal with it. Though I can only speak from our experience, in middle school my son received an accommodation and would receive regularly assigned teacher aides to help him focus in classes and exams. In high school, he was given a computer, daily aides, and extra time in exams to help him. The district had to provide that level of help. I think you will find that schools throughout the Bay Area are quite familiar with dealing with children with ADHD and will make the necessary assessments and accommodations.

I hope this helps from a parent who has actually lived the life you describe.

Last edited by aquatone; Aug 4th 2023 at 4:33 pm.
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Old Aug 4th 2023, 11:19 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Bellybratz, what will be the U.S. salary?
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Old Aug 6th 2023, 5:01 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Aquatone is being somewhat flippant.

OP, again, what is the salary? Start at 500k minimum otherwise I would reconsider the move.
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Old Aug 6th 2023, 7:12 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by PetrifiedExPat
Aquatone is being somewhat flippant.

OP, again, what is the salary? Start at 500k minimum otherwise, I would reconsider the move.
Flippant? Actually realistic based on personal experience. Up until last year, I hired many people into mid-level and senior roles in the Bay Area tech industry and few are getting $500K salaries, most significantly less. Also, a package is not just base comp, it is possibly stock, performance bonus, and benefits. Just saying that if you don't get $500K a year to reconsider, is doing a disservice to the OP without more knowledge of what the full offer/package is.

If the OP is only focusing on living in uber-expensive areas like Los Gatos etc, then sure costs are going to be very high. It would be like transferring someone to London and only looking to live in Mayfair or Knightsbridge. However, there are many other perfectly respectable areas in the Bay Area with good schools that are not in that stratosphere. As always you trade off commute versus days you can work from home versus school quality versus value for rent. $500K/year is still a very high salary. Also, there are many reasons for such a move, promotion prospects, change of scenery etc. It's not just the simplicity of $$$.

Last edited by aquatone; Aug 6th 2023 at 7:18 am.
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Old Aug 6th 2023, 8:44 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

This is really helpful Aquatone thank you. I have a couple more questions on schools. With the help that the school/district is obliged to provide is that with a IEP ot not? As my kids are at a private school here they get a lot of help but if they were in a state (public) school we would need to get an IHEP which is really tricky and time consuming to get. Would they need to go through something like that to get the help you mentioned?

IF we were to rent somewhere without seeing it would we be able to register them for a school whilst we are still in the UK? Ideally we will stay in an Airbnb or a hotel for a week whilst we find somewhere to rent as renting somewhere without seeing it is insane but I'm just wondering how tricky the enrolment process is and if you're even allowed to do it if you're not yet in the country. Also is a week feasible to find somewhere and sort out the lease or does it take a lot longer?

We like the look of Los Altos and a lot of people have recommended it but I was also wondering about Cupertino which looks like you get more for your money. Will that tick our boxes - decent amount of shops/restaurants/library etc, green spaces, good for families... I think we have kind of given up on the idea of my husband getting public transport to Burlingame (though I could potentially drop him at Caltrain station) and may just have to deal with the traffic - though will likely be max 3 days a week commuting.
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Old Aug 6th 2023, 8:46 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by tht
the internet is your friend… google any town and school district and you should find the site that gives you all the details you need…

the paperwork requirements are very specific, you may not have what you need with an Airbnb

https://www.lasdschools.org/District...istration.html

The maps usually let you look up a specific address:

https://www.myschoollocation.com/losaltossd/

have not been there in 10 years now, went for a wedding in Los Altos hills. It was nice up there.
This is great thank you. Wow what lot of stuff they need to enroll!!! Just booked my eldest in for a chicken pox jab. They don't have to have the jab here, he caught it as a 3 year old but l can't prove it!
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Old Aug 6th 2023, 12:08 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Bellybratz
IF we were to rent somewhere without seeing it would we be able to register them for a school whilst we are still in the UK? Ideally we will stay in an Airbnb or a hotel for a week whilst we find somewhere to rent as renting somewhere without seeing it is insane but I'm just wondering how tricky the enrolment process is and if you're even allowed to do it if you're not yet in the country. Also is a week feasible to find somewhere and sort out the lease or does it take a lot longer?
No experience in California, but if the rental market is as hot there as it is here (Boston), then allow a LOT longer as competition for places will be fierce and unfortunately as a newcomer to the US with no credit history, you'll often be way down a landlord's list of applicants. It took us months to find a landlord that would consider us, every property we viewed had numerous applications (most had 20 or more in the first day) and frankly we just weren't desirable as tenants - and that was with my husband's company paying the rent for us, so even with a Fortune 500 company underwriting our tenancy.
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Old Aug 6th 2023, 1:37 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Bellybratz
He wasn't asked to move to SF, it was our decision. He will get a bump in salary but we are not expecting anything else. We have known this all along though
What visa is he coming on? an L-1 I presume?
As you requested the move and the company is not paying for the relocation, have you, at least, sorted out something in payment in case the job does not pan out? (not being a Debbie downer here, but things happen).
Also I presume you have budgeted for health insurance costs?
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Old Aug 6th 2023, 3:22 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Why can’t the OP disclose the U.S. salary?
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Old Aug 6th 2023, 9:23 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by destone
Why can’t the OP disclose the U.S. salary?

Perhaps they don't want to. It's a bit of personal question, and they asked for information on public schools and finding a place to live, not on whether or not they could afford the move.

In any case, they have been alerted now - if they didn't already know - that SF is an expensive place to live to varying degrees and the internet can provide the rest if they want to look at specific details and costs.
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