Chicago Schools – Can we live in the city or must we leave for the suburbs?
This is the time of year when young Chicago parents are worried about whether junior will get in to a gifted program, a magnet school, a selective enrollment high school….
Chicago Schools StatusSelective Enrollment/IB Notifications go out around 2/18 Elementary magnet and cluster school notifications will be mailed during the week of March 18
Everywhere in Chicago, potential buyers ask …
Should I leave Chicago and Move to the Suburbs?
What should I consider as I think about city vs suburbs?
First, take a tour of these homes, currently for sale in the Chicago Multiple Listing Service and see if they are appealing.
Then, consider the financial and time cost, as well as the quality of life aspects of leaving Chicago for the suburbs:
1. Real Total Cost of Home Ownership
Suburban Property Taxes are usually higher than city homes of comparable cost. For example, Wilmette homes (in the $600’s) report property taxes of $8.1K – $18.7K/yr vs comparably priced Chicago homes — $5.5K – $11.1K.
Your REAL home cost for that $600K property may be $200/month higher in the suburbs!
2. Commuting – Money and Time Drain
30 minutes more each way – 48 weeks per year – 240 hours lost!
GAS — $120 per month+
- 30 more miles per day x (5 days a week) -x (48 weeks per year) = 7200 more miles/year
- 20 mpg means 360 more gallons per year and @ #4 per gallon you’ll spend
- $120 more per month ($1440 per year)
- This doesn’t include additional costs for car maintenance and depreciation due to miles driven
If you switch from CTA to driving, you need to put your car somewhere. How much would you have to pay to park?
$200? $300? $460?
Commuter Train Issues – Flexibility and Financial Cost
Giving up flexibility to follow a CTA schedule is a challenge for some. Would you walk to the suburban train station or do you need to wait for years to get a parking lot permit? How much does it cost to park in the train’s lot? This doesn’t include, of course, the cost of the tickets themselves (from Naperville-59 to the city, the monthly rate is over $100), an this doesn’t include transit to the station nor parking.
3. Quality of Life
240 Hours+ per year just in commuting (see above)
Stress Level and Lifestyle
Do you get stressed in traffic jams? Is independence of schedule important?
Productivity – how important is your time? What could you do with the 240+ extra hours of commuting time?
Do you enjoy gathering with co-workers? Living far from work makes social flexibility difficult.
Benefits of raising children in the city – diversity, culture, education. I’ll write more of these in my next “Parenting in Chicago” post. This topic is worth a whole article (I’m very PRO-city for children!)
Don’t get me wrong – suburban living has it’s merits. I have many friends who are currently there, too. Many, though, are plotting their return. Others wonder why they didn’t consider staying in the city in the first place.
Whatever your choice, be sure to consider all the angles.
If you are interested in talking more about
- The Chicago School Application Process,
- Finding homes in Chicago Neighborhood Schools Districts,
- Taking a tour of homes in the city and the suburbs to compare, or
- Learning more about raising kids in the city —
Call me! I have 15 years experience navigating the Chicago private and public school systems – I would be delighted to be a resource for you!Anne Rossley Baird & Warner 773-620-5333 Anne@Rossley.com
*homes in Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Uptown, Edgewater