The most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us—back to school! If you’re like most parents, you’re probably ready for school to start. But what if you’re not happy with your current school district? Is it too late to move into a different one? Should you even consider moving for better schools?
There are pros and cons associated with moving to a new home so your kids can attend school in a different district. Here are a few things to consider before making the leap.
Does your child require unique support at school, or are you looking for a specific program?
What’s your reason for wanting to move your children into a different school district? I’ve heard as many answers to this question as families I’ve helped move into a new neighborhood. Better state test scores, a great lacrosse team, and a stellar band program are common answers.
But sometimes, families move districts to gain access to special programs and services. If you have a child with developmental disabilities, you may need the services a particular district provides. Or, perhaps you want your kids to have a bilingual education at a Spanish-immersion school in another district.
How old are your kids?
Age and grade do make a difference when switching schools. When kids are very young (think pre-K through second grade), moving into a new district can be relatively easy. Most Kindergartners haven’t experienced school at all, so moving into a new district is no big deal. Lower elementary students will take their cue from you—if you’re positive about the move, they’ll be, too.
But as children age into middle and high school, switching districts can get tricky (and in some cases, harmful). By this time, your kids will be attached to their friends, their teachers, and their school community. A move during this time can be beneficial long-term, but you’ll need some patience, understanding, and the ability to give your kids a little grace.
What’s your timeline for moving and switching districts?
Remember that if your new school is a charter or magnet within your new district, you may still be put on a waiting list even if you live in-district. If you’re moving in August, it may be too late to enroll your child in one of these schools. Extra-curricular activities may start before the school year does—has your child missed the boat? Your new district will also require current immunization records, medical forms, and birth certificates.
Logistics aside, you’ll also need to decide if you want to switch districts mid-year or wait until the current school year is over before moving your kids. Some kids will be just fine moving mid-year; others may do better waiting out the current school year.
What properties are available in your target area?
Are their properties available in your prospective neighborhood that meet your family’s needs? How far away are they from your kids’ new school and your workplace? If you have a large family and only older, 3-bedroom homes are available, are you willing to double-up kids in bedrooms in exchange for a stellar school district?
Is your new potential neighborhood near the other services you use, such as your doctor, bank, and favorite grocery store?
Often, parents are so focused on the school district that they don’t realize their new home is 40 minutes away from a grocery store, bank, or doctor’s office. Before you move, research the local services and decide if they’ll work for you and your family. Then, make arrangements to transfer your health records and financial accounts to your new providers.
Does the district offer busing?
If your new district is rural, does it offer busing, or will you need to drop off and pick up your kids each day? In August, driving your kids doesn’t seem so bad. In January, you may think differently!
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. But thinking through them should help you understand if moving school districts is in the best interest of you and your family. If you do decide to move, I can help you find your new dream home. To search for your next home in the Rockford-Buffalo-Delano-St. Michael area, contact Trent Shipley at Keller Williams Realty Integrity NW today.