High School. It is a topic that has filled my brain and my conversations over the last few days. I don't know what started it, but now its all I can think of. Xandy is in grade 4 and as he tells me there are still 2.5 years until it starts, but at the moment it is all I can see.
I had always assumed my kids (this is back when they were imaginary) would go to private school. Which one was never a concern as it really didn't matter (for my imaginary kids) just that I would be up for some major fundage in the far distant future.
Fast forward a little way to when I have kid - one that is, and at this point I can see I would move heaven and earth to give him the best of everything. If we need to move to be closer to a school that suits his needs then so be it. Step forward a couple more years when I am "blessed" with two more boys and the vision starts to get a little blurry. There are now three boys to think about with different needs and two of those will be doing whatever at the same time. I was thinking about logistics.
Then BAM! Here I am today, and my reality is not looking so pretty. Logistics is the least of my problems. I started looking at school fees. (disregard the fact that no ones name is down anywhere - I always figure if you have the cash they will find you a spot). School fees for the top tier private schools are coming in at around $30K. Thats per year. Per Kid. Now.
I (now its imaginary me) would not start paying for another 2.5 years, so I would need to anticipate increases in fees and charges. Then a couple of years into it, I have to times that by 3! I can't imagine finding $90K per year just for kids education. That is $264 per day every day of the year. Or 410.27 per hour - every single hour. I would be looking at an investment in education for three kids of over half a million dollars! In nine years a decent private school would cost me over $540K. They give me longer to pay off my mortgage.
I think I need to change my thinking. While I went through private school and I really value education, I cannot see that there is over half a million dollars better education at a private school. If we did it, there would be NOTHING else. Probably not even food, let alone the clothes and trips needed to keep up with the Jones'. With that money I could pay for some kick ass tutors and some fabulous trips where the boys would learn much more. The other problem then is my local high school.
Sadly while it is very close, it is not very good. It has a bad reputation for bad behaviour and is seen as the school of last resort. Most people (myself included) would rather drive past it than force my kids to go there. It should service a really large population given the lack of high schools in the area, but it is small and i don't like it. My alternatives are schools either direction, both of which are zoned because of their high numbers. Both have good reputations in terms of academic achievement and offer a wide range of subjects and opportunities. One has too many boys, due to the nearby government girls school, and they take girls as a priority outside of zone. Sadly, don't have any of those. The other school is looking good, but I am worried as its my only option.
I did look at 2nd tier private schools. Their fees are about $20k per year. Yes less, but still a lot. I figure if you are paying for the education, you want bang for your buck and this really doesn't offer it. Then there are the Catholic schools. These are much more reasonable at $5 - $7K per year. Much more doable. On the down side, many of them are single sex, and with a house full of boys, I really would prefer the boys mix with girls somewhere along the line. The other, and bigger problem, is that we are not Catholic.
It really does seem like my eggs are all in one basket. I will be one of those parents who starts nagging at the school to let their kid in. The other option is moving a few streets away so that we are in zone and hope it doesn't change in the next couple of years. Its sad when a new house is cheaper than an education.