KYW Regional Affairs Council

“Home Sweet School”

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –   For parents who want to send their children to the best school but can’t afford to buy a home nearby, don’t be discouraged.

But what are your options as a young family with children if you can’t afford to buy a house in your desired school district?

levy paul ccd side3 Part 4:  Improving The Schools To Improve The Neighborhood“If you don’t live in the boundaries or the ‘catchment area’ of a school, there are independent schools, there are obviously parochial schools, there are charter schools,” says Paul Levy (right), CEO of the Center City district.

He says that in Philadelphia, the Meredith School has emerged as one of the city’s top elementary schools.  And he says it can be used an example of how to improve education in any community.

“The Meredith School didn’t drop from heaven in a great state,” Levy told KYW Newsradio.  “It emerged over the last 10 to 15 years because successive waves of parents said we want to work together to improve this school.”

View Catchment Area Map For Meredith Elementary School

mccoy ken real est agent hadas1 Part 4:  Improving The Schools To Improve The Neighborhood

(Ken McCoy. Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

Ken McCoy (right), a real estate agent who works in the Delaware Valley, says he’s noticed a common characteristic of desirable schools:

“There has to be a strong parent organization that supports those schools if you expect the school to succeed.”

“The trend we’re seeing is young parents with preschoolers getting together now and talking to the school,” notes Levy.  “They are working on simple things, like how do you improve the external appearance of the school so you just feel welcome when you go there?”

huffman forrest thumb1 Part 4:  Improving The Schools To Improve The Neighborhood

(Forrest Huffman.)

But what if you don’t have a decade to wait for a school to improve?  Forrest Huffman (right), a professor of real estate and finance at Temple University, says living in a district doesn’t mean you have to be a homeowner.

“You rent!  There are benefits and offsettings associated with choosing rentals,” Huffman advises.

Sean O’Shea, a father of three, says renting can even be cost-effective, depending on the real estate market.

“Well, I wish I had bought this year instead of last year — because the housing prices are down,” he says.

Reported by Hadas Kuznits, KYW Newsradio 1060

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