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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 10th 2023, 10:20 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by MMcD
The OP doesn't "need", and is not obliged to do anything more. ...
I totally agree, they don't "need" to, however without them giving more information the information they have received may be misleading at best, and quite possibly irrelevant, not to mention that this whole thread may be a waste of our time, and theirs.

People often come to BE asking for advice about moving, and obviously if someone is coming as a student they need different advice from a young couple, family, mid-career couple or retirees, but without more information about their circumstances we can only give fairly generic advice.

In this case if Bellybratz and her family are currently happy, squeezed into a 2 bed flat in London and making do with second hand clothes and "meals out" at McDonald's, then maybe they can make $200k/pa in the Bay Area work for them. .... But the one clue to Bellybratz current situation she let slip in post #1, above. is that her two sons are in a private school in the UK. Therefore I remain highly sceptical that Bellybratz and her family are going to find a comfortable lifestyle balance in SF much under $400k/pa.

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 10th 2023 at 11:47 am.
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Old Aug 10th 2023, 5:07 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
FWIW, I was in a similar situation when I moved here. I found a job on my own (I flew to SF and hunted one down), they were willing to hire me and deal with visas but they had no relocation package (they were a small outfit and didn't have the HR resources to administer formal relo plans; they had done a few visas previously and committed to mine - that was what I needed). I took the job and it was the best decision of my life. However - I was single at the time and my moving costs were low. Good luck to you!
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Old Aug 10th 2023, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by christmasoompa
How are more details of a salary needed when all the OP asked about was schools and what ADHD support may be offered? Tbh, I'm struggling to see why it's relevant to their question, or why people are pushing the OP repeatedly on this point when it's clear they don't want to give that info. Hopefully the OP can pick out any relevant info from the responses given so far, and hopefully those with experience of schools in the areas s/he is looking at will comment and get the track back on topic.
Originally Posted by spouse of scouse
Nothing 'funny' about the OP's posts at all. The OP asked specific questions about state/public schooling, and also disclosed their budget for the type of housing they're looking for. All information needed to help others decide whether or not they could answer these questions was provided. You don't need to know how much this family will be earning in order to answer those questions.
...
Continually asking the OP to provide unnecessary personal details, in this case salary details, and then chastising them for not doing so, is bullying behaviour. Please stop.
Well said, both of you! I've just found this thread and many of the responses are embarrassing.

To the OP - you are mentioning Cupertino, Los Altos, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Burlingame. They are all really nice, 'high end' cities, although Cupertino and San Mateo can have some more affordable parts. The schools in those cities are top rate, though, and that's part of the reason for their high prices. My biggest concerns would be that schools start soon, and finding a rental 'from afar' could be difficult in short order.

Schools (especially the really good ones) are super-strict on proof of residence for enrollment, because everyone living outside of those districts tries to play games to 'qualify' so a lot of attention is paid to this aspect. There are dozens of smaller cities that have nice parts, such as Millbrae, San Carlos, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, etc but I can't speak to their school options. Personally, after living in Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Francisco for several years I moved to the 'East Bay' (on the eastern side of the Bay) and love it there but - the commute can be tough. Fremont (in the East Bay) is a very common choice for many tech workers on 'The Peninsula' (as it is called - the area between San Jose and San Francisco); you end up having to cross one of the bridges which can be a chore. I always worked 'odd hours' to improve my commute but then, I didn't have kids to rush home to. I ended up being very fortunate to land a job in downtown San Francisco, and then commuting by 'BART' from Walnut Creek in the East Bay - a very convenient and efficient commute that I did for decades. Walnut Creek is a lovely town and I've been here for 30 years now.

Best of luck finding something! I moved from London to the Bay Area in 1983 and I have never regretted it. Please do return to this thread and tell us what transpires!

Last edited by Steerpike; Aug 10th 2023 at 5:51 pm.
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Old Aug 10th 2023, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Pulaski
I totally agree, they don't "need" to, however without them giving more information the information they have received may be misleading at best, and quite possibly irrelevant, not to mention that this whole thread may be a waste of our time, and theirs.

People often come to BE asking for advice about moving, and obviously if someone is coming as a student they need different advice from a young couple, family, mid-career couple or retirees, but without more information about their circumstances we can only give fairly generic advice.

In this case if Bellybratz and her family are currently happy, squeezed into a 2 bed flat in London and making do with second hand clothes and "meals out" at McDonald's, then maybe they can make $200k/pa in the Bay Area work for them. .... But the one clue to Bellybratz current situation she let slip in post #1, above. is that her two sons are in a private school in the UK. Therefore I remain highly sceptical that Bellybratz and her family are going to find a comfortable lifestyle balance in SF much under $400k/pa.

Which is, of course, completely her business. She knows what their income will be, and can make her own decisions based on info received without telling the world her income on an internet forum full of strangers. Some are comfortable doing that, and some aren't. Her questions were not related to that, either. Well meaning people can ask the salary question once, and if it is not answered then let it drop rather than push and criticise if the person chooses not to respond or share.
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 4:26 am
  #50  
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Oh dear, the responses are not embarrassing, they are realistic.

Unless of course scraping buy is somehow a life goal.

Last edited by PetrifiedExPat; Aug 11th 2023 at 4:28 am.
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 4:28 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Pulaski
I totally agree, they don't "need" to, however without them giving more information the information they have received may be misleading at best, and quite possibly irrelevant, not to mention that this whole thread may be a waste of our time, and theirs.

People often come to BE asking for advice about moving, and obviously if someone is coming as a student they need different advice from a young couple, family, mid-career couple or retirees, but without more information about their circumstances we can only give fairly generic advice.

In this case if Bellybratz and her family are currently happy, squeezed into a 2 bed flat in London and making do with second hand clothes and "meals out" at McDonald's, then maybe they can make $200k/pa in the Bay Area work for them. .... But the one clue to Bellybratz current situation she let slip in post #1, above. is that her two sons are in a private school in the UK. Therefore I remain highly sceptical that Bellybratz and her family are going to find a comfortable lifestyle balance in SF much under $400k/pa.
Agree, of course they don't have to, but as just mentioned scraping by shouldn't be a life goal. We are on the same page, a lot of delusion about salaries in the bay area.

400k is prob. the minimum, but then again, I suspect some can get by on bread and cheese and call it a win
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 4:56 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

For me the issue of salary is kind of related to the question, because if the salary is say $200k and the house budget is for example $750k and a minimum 3 bedroom house is required then there's no point recommending a really good school district in an area if the cheapest 3 bedroom house is going to be $1.5m+. If you have a rough idea of budget (not necessarily exact salary figures) and what type/size of house is needed then it's easier to recommend somewhere within those parameters.
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 5:26 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by EdgeAA
For me the issue of salary is kind of related to the question, because if the salary is say $200k and the house budget is for example $750k and a minimum 3 bedroom house is required then there's no point recommending a really good school district in an area if the cheapest 3 bedroom house is going to be $1.5m+. If you have a rough idea of budget (not necessarily exact salary figures) and what type/size of house is needed then it's easier to recommend somewhere within those parameters.
The OP stated that their housing rental budget was $6K per month. Isn’t that an adequate guideline?
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 5:37 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by PetrifiedExPat
Agree, of course they don't have to, but as just mentioned scraping by shouldn't be a life goal. We are on the same page, a lot of delusion about salaries in the bay area.

400k is prob. the minimum, but then again, I suspect some can get by on bread and cheese and call it a win
You keep suggesting they will be 'scraping by'. You have no idea what their circumstances are.
Let's assume an income of $250k. Takehome after taxes (two people, married filing jointly) would be $180k, or ~$15k/mo. (that's not accounting for 2 dependents allowance, so it will be more).
Assuming $15k/mo, we can allocate $6k to rent, $1k to medical premiums, $1k to car costs (loan, ins, gas, etc), $1k to utilities/phone/internet/etc (climate is mild so no huge utility bills), and $1.5k to food (these are generous allocations). That still leaves $4.5k per month unallocated, in case I'm missing something. That doesn't sound like living on bread and cheese to me.
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 5:39 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Steerpike
You keep suggesting they will be 'scraping by'. You have no idea what their circumstances are.
Let's assume an income of $250k. Takehome after taxes (two people, married filing jointly) would be $180k, or ~$15k/mo. (that's not accounting for 2 dependents allowance, so it will be more).
Assuming $15k/mo, we can allocate $6k to rent, $1k to medical premiums, $1k to car costs (loan, ins, gas, etc), $1k to utilities/phone/internet/etc (climate is mild so no huge utility bills), and $1.5k to food (these are generous allocations). That still leaves $4.5k per month unallocated, in case I'm missing something. That doesn't sound like living on bread and cheese to me.
I do appreciate the breakdown. I may segue/invite Pulaski to comment since I know he has worked on this (I have not in any detail)
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 10:39 am
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Steerpike
You keep suggesting they will be 'scraping by'. You have no idea what their circumstances are.
Let's assume an income of $250k. Takehome after taxes (two people, married filing jointly) would be $180k, or ~$15k/mo. (that's not accounting for 2 dependents allowance, so it will be more). ....
I do have some estimated numbers (which I may post later), but right off the top I'm going to disagree with your estimate of $250k/pa gross leaving $15k net income per month. My experience of current taxes albeit with one child not two, is that net monthly income from $250k/pa gross, isn't likely to be much over $12k*, and apparently they're budgeting half of that for rent.

* Prorating the Pulaski family monthly income, then allowing for highest marginal tax rates on the top slice, and other factors that give us some tax benefits despite only having one child, IMO it really is likely to be that $250k only leaves a few $00's over $12k/mth net. Then health insurance and 401k contributions (which are technically voluntary) take more out of that $12k (yes, I know 401k contributions are tax deductible up to prescribed levels, but 401k contributions still take about $2 out of your net come for every $3 of contributions).

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 11th 2023 at 11:27 am.
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Pulaski
I do have some estimated numbers (which I may post later), but right off the top I'm going to disagree with your estimate of $250k/pa gross leaving $15k net income per month. My experience of current taxes albeit with one child not two, is that net monthly income from $250k/pa gross, isn't likely to be much over $12k*, and apparently they're budgeting half of that for rent.

* Prorating the Pulaski family monthly income, then allowing for highest marginal tax rates on the top slice, and other factors that give us some tax benefits despite only having one child, IMO it really is likely to be that $250k only leaves a few $00's over $12k/mth net. Then health insurance and 401k contributions (which are technically voluntary) take more out of that $12k (yes, I know 401k contributions are tax deductible up to prescribed levels, but 401k contributions still take about $2 out of your net come for every $3 of contributions).
First of all - my numbers left $4.5k 'spare' after generous allocations for various budget items ($1,500/mo for food is pretty generous!). So out of that $4.5k, we can take another $1.5k for 401k leaving $3k 'spare'. I already included healthcare premiums of $1k / month assuming employee fully covered but having to pay premiums for spouse/kids (which many competitive silicon valley companies will cover, but just in case I was conservative). Remember, this is one salary for two married people, so that $250k is filed as 'married filing jointly' and that has a significant impact on the taxation situation.

This site - https://smartasset.com/taxes/california-tax-calculator - gives a breakdown of taxes for $250k household income, filing status 'married', state personal exemptions 2, showing a take-home of $180k. (If you change from 'married filing jointly' to 'single' the takehome drops to $160k).

This site - https://www.talent.com/tax-calculato...ion=California - only yields $156k but that's probably because it assumes single, not Married Filing Jointly. They offer no way to choose MFJ that I could find.

There are plenty of 'paycheck' calculators but they all assume a full year of SS, Medicare, etc which all 'cap out' during the year. This one - https://californiapayroll.com/resour...l-calculators/ seems fairly comprehensive, though and yields $170k net if you choose married. So let's be conservative and assume $170k, not $180k.

Income -
170k / yr net = 14.1k / mo.
Expenses -
6k rent
1k medical (could be much less with competitive company benefits)
1.1k car (700 loan payment, 200 insurance, 200 gas)
1.5k food/groceries
1k utilities (200 cable/streaming/data; 300 gas/elec; 100 phone; 400 'misc')
1k 401k (this is pre-tax but assume an after-tax of 1k for simplicity)
Remainder -
2.5k / mo, or 30k / year, which can be used for savings, vacation, travel, education, etc - anything not covered by the broad strokes above.

This is not living in the lap of luxury but is hardly struggling.


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Old Aug 11th 2023, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by wisygreen
Call the school district office and have a chat with them. I always found them extremely helpful and gave me lots of information and things to think about. Also call apartment places, property management companies etc. and just ask a lot of questions. I live near Sacramento so not the Bay area but close to it but or many years I managed people from all areas of the San Francisco region and would visit them on a regular basis and I know that their incomes were nowhere near what has been quoted here. You can get a lot of information on google and by contacting companies and can work out a pretty accurate budget. Only you know how important it is to have your nails done weekly, how often you like to eat in fancy restaurants or what car you would buy and only you can assess if your husbands salary would be sufficient. It is an expensive place to live but the people I worked with loved it although our area if full of Bay Area Transplants with more people moving here every day!

Edited to add to check the school dates before calling the school district. Our district started back on Monday so the office is manic and it is not a good time to call with more general questions.
This is really helpful thank you. I did try and call the Unified School district office enrollment section a few times a few weeks back but there was no answer. I will try again. Obviously we will be joining mid term which is far from ideal but I am hoping they might then have a better idea of places available. I understood that you were given a space in your closest school but then read a post about overflow schools where they put you in one that might be further away?
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Steerpike
First of all - my numbers left $4.5k 'spare' after generous allocations for various budget items ($1,500/mo for food is pretty generous!). So out of that $4.5k, we can take another $1.5k for 401k leaving $3k 'spare'. I already included healthcare premiums of $1k / month assuming employee fully covered but having to pay premiums for spouse/kids (which many competitive silicon valley companies will cover, but just in case I was conservative). Remember, this is one salary for two married people, so that $250k is filed as 'married filing jointly' and that has a significant impact on the taxation situation.

This site - https://smartasset.com/taxes/california-tax-calculator - gives a breakdown of taxes for $250k household income, filing status 'married', state personal exemptions 2, showing a take-home of $180k. (If you change from 'married filing jointly' to 'single' the takehome drops to $160k).

This site - https://www.talent.com/tax-calculato...ion=California - only yields $156k but that's probably because it assumes single, not Married Filing Jointly. They offer no way to choose MFJ that I could find.

There are plenty of 'paycheck' calculators but they all assume a full year of SS, Medicare, etc which all 'cap out' during the year. This one - https://californiapayroll.com/resour...l-calculators/ seems fairly comprehensive, though and yields $170k net if you choose married. So let's be conservative and assume $170k, not $180k.

Income -
170k / yr net = 14.1k / mo.
Expenses -
6k rent
1k medical (could be much less with competitive company benefits)
1.1k car (700 loan payment, 200 insurance, 200 gas)
1.5k food/groceries
1k utilities (200 cable/streaming/data; 300 gas/elec; 100 phone; 400 'misc')
1k 401k (this is pre-tax but assume an after-tax of 1k for simplicity)
Remainder -
2.5k / mo, or 30k / year, which can be used for savings, vacation, travel, education, etc - anything not covered by the broad strokes above.

This is not living in the lap of luxury but is hardly struggling.
Thank you for this. I am not sure how my post about schools has turned into one about how much my husband earns but it's helpful to know. We have been looking at what costs we will have so it's good to get an idea of things. He gets health care for all 4 of us through work but not sure if he has to pay tax on that in the US? It is a taxable benefit in the UK, does it work similarly there?
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Old Aug 11th 2023, 7:01 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the Bay area - need help with public school minefield!

Originally Posted by Steerpike
Well said, both of you! I've just found this thread and many of the responses are embarrassing.

To the OP - you are mentioning Cupertino, Los Altos, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Burlingame. They are all really nice, 'high end' cities, although Cupertino and San Mateo can have some more affordable parts. The schools in those cities are top rate, though, and that's part of the reason for their high prices. My biggest concerns would be that schools start soon, and finding a rental 'from afar' could be difficult in short order.

Schools (especially the really good ones) are super-strict on proof of residence for enrollment, because everyone living outside of those districts tries to play games to 'qualify' so a lot of attention is paid to this aspect. There are dozens of smaller cities that have nice parts, such as Millbrae, San Carlos, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, etc but I can't speak to their school options. Personally, after living in Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Francisco for several years I moved to the 'East Bay' (on the eastern side of the Bay) and love it there but - the commute can be tough. Fremont (in the East Bay) is a very common choice for many tech workers on 'The Peninsula' (as it is called - the area between San Jose and San Francisco); you end up having to cross one of the bridges which can be a chore. I always worked 'odd hours' to improve my commute but then, I didn't have kids to rush home to. I ended up being very fortunate to land a job in downtown San Francisco, and then commuting by 'BART' from Walnut Creek in the East Bay - a very convenient and efficient commute that I did for decades. Walnut Creek is a lovely town and I've been here for 30 years now.

Best of luck finding something! I moved from London to the Bay Area in 1983 and I have never regretted it. Please do return to this thread and tell us what transpires!
Thank you! My husband is not keen on a crazy commute as l have seen a lot of nice areas that are just a bit too far. The traffic is bad enough here and l know how bad it is there so got to balance commute with living somewhere nice right - the never ending goal! We lived in London for 6 years then moved further out to get a bigger place and a driveway so don't want to go backwards
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