Tax This! Choosing Private High School
Take me for example. I live in an area where my phantom children would be put through metal detectors every morning, lock downs, drug dealers walking back and forth behind the school and the local bar around the corner that serves those baby-faced 16 year-olds.
You’re probably thinking where does she live?
Actually, I don’t live in that bad of an area. All income levels live within a five minute walk from my home.
However, what happens in my area is upper middle class (UMC) parents and upper class parents pull their kids from the public school system after middle school. These kids attend private Catholic high schools or country day schools. In these cases, it is a matter of safety and value of education.
But I always wonder why UMC parents choose a fancy private high school when they are living and paying taxes in an area with a safe and highly valued school district?
This always makes me scratch my head.
It’s fine, of course, if you can afford said private high school tuition + private university. That probably means you’re in the upper echelon of the upper middle class . . . and if you can afford to do this with two or more children . . . you’re most likely plain old upper class.
But what about UMC parents who send their children to a fancy private high school, yet lack the funds for a private college?
Wasn’t the point of sending the children to said high school to get them into a fancy, big name private university? What about the perfectly good public high school right down the street . . .
Paying taxes is a lot of money. Think about how much you pay in taxes a year to NOT send your children to a great public school. Let’s review the facts:
- Property tax is what funds public schools, grades K to 12.
- Homeowners on average pay thousands in property tax.
- In NJ, average property tax is $6320 (MSN Money, 2008).
- In LA, average property tax is $188.
- In CA, average property tax is $2829.
Time to move to Louisiana!
The point is that a UMC parent really needs to plan for the future. Strategize their child’s education. When the child is young, send them to the public school in your district, if possible. Do the whole K through 8 completely free of charge.
If you cannot send the child to the public high school in your area and you do not foresee a move to a place with a better school district, then strategize how to fund a private high school education.
- Research schools well in advance.
- Ask about free tuition, merit scholarships or any additional funding.
- Inquire about education vouchers via your local government.
Use someone else’s money to fund your child’s secondary education school. Meanwhile, keep saving and investing toward your child’s college fund.
If you live an area that has a great high school – OK, maybe not Choate or Dalton – but a very good school, send your child there. After all, that’s why you pay those hefty property taxes . . .
Unless you live in Louisiana.
~ Please see our Social Commentary piece entitled: Harvard! Yale! Fight Fight Fight!