Public vs. Private

It’s almost time for your oldest to start school, so you’re looking to put down roots. Should you move to the pricey town with the best public schools, or find a better deal on a home and spring for a private education? Here are seven town vs. town comparisons to help you decide.

belmont

Belmont isn’t cheap, but the schools are superb.

Note: Data and rankings referenced below are from our 2014 Best Schools issue.


Live here:
Bedford

Send your kids here:
Middlesex School, Concord

Cost of private school: $43,300 (day)
Median property cost: $600,000
Property tax rate: $15.71

• • •

Or live here:
Lexington

Ranking of public school: 2
Per-pupil spending: $16,726
Median property cost: $815,000
Property tax rate: $15.51

• • •

Lexington’s high school ranks second in the region, while Bedford has smaller lots but a far more reasonable price tag. Plus, it’s just a 15-minute drive to the Middlesex campus.


Live here:
Watertown

Send your kids here:
Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, Cambridge

Cost of private school: $39,510 (day)
Median property cost: $470,050
Property tax rate: $14.96

• • •

Or live here:
Belmont

Ranking of public school: 13
Per-pupil spending: $12,259
Median property cost: $783,000
Property tax rate: $13.50

• • •

Watertown real estate is a rare bargain in Greater Boston, with easy access to Cambridge and downtown. Belmont’s not cheap, but many parents are willing to pay for its superb schools.


Live here:
Natick

Send your kids here:
The Rivers School, Weston

Cost of private school: $41,850
Median property cost: $445,000
Property tax rate: $14.18

• • •

Or live in this district:
Dover-Sherborn

Ranking of public school: 1
Per-pupil spending: $16,434
Median property cost: $829,000 (Dover); $740,000 (Sherborn)
Property tax rate: $13.08 (Dover); $19.72 (Sherborn)

• • •

Natick remains an oasis of affordability. Dover-Sherborn tops our rankings and has one of the highest per-pupil expenditures on our list.


Live here:
Roslindale

Send your kids here:
Milton Academy, Milton

Cost of private school: $40,550
Median property cost: $407,500
Property tax rate: $12.58

• • •

Or live here:
Westwood

Ranking of public school: 17
Per-pupil spending: $14,197
Median property cost: $590,000
Property tax rate: $15.40

• • •

Funky Roslindale is one of Boston’s most affordable neighborhoods, with quick access to Milton. Westwood is known for its robust foreign-language program and National Merit Scholarship winners.


Live here:
West Roxbury

Send your kids here:
The Roxbury Latin School, West Roxbury

Cost of private school: $27,900
Median property cost: $413,000
Property tax rate: $12.58

• • •

Or live here:
Newton

Ranking of public schools: 5 (South); 26 (North)
Per-pupil spending: $16,400
Median property cost: $884,500
Property tax rate: $12.12

• • •

Roxbury Latin has a strict need-blind admissions policy, and a healthy endowment keeps tuition relatively low. Meanwhile, both Newton North and South boast graduation rates above 95 percent.


Live here:
Maynard

Send your kids here:
Groton School, Groton

Cost of private school: $43,390 (day)
Median property cost: $319,500
Property tax rate: $22.29

• • •

Or live in this district:
Acton-Boxborough

Ranking of public schools: 3
Per-pupil spending: $13,697
Median property cost: $481,500 (Acton); $488,500 (Boxborough)
Property tax rate: $19.10 (Acton); $17.69 (Boxborough)

• • •

Powerhouse Acton-Boxborough ranks third on our public school list, and almost 98 percent of students score 3 or higher on AP exams. The setting is far quieter than in Maynard, but it’s also pricier.


Live here:
Walpole

Send your kids here:
Noble and Greenough School, Dedham

Cost of private school: $42,600
Median property cost: $415,000
Property tax rate: $15.76

• • •

Or live here:
Sharon

Ranking of public schools: 8
Per-pupil spending: $14,527
Median property cost: $469,900
Property tax rate: $20.55

• • •

Walpole is one of the rare Boston suburbs with average housing prices in the low $400s, and Noble and Greenough has a track record of sending kids to the Ivy League. Sharon’s price tags are higher, but its public schools rank eighth.

 


Check out all of our Best Schools 2014 coverage.

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  • bedford resident

    Seriously? Bedford vs Lexington? First of all you got your blurb wrong, lot size is LARGER in Bedford. Second, no one is underserved by Bedford’s public schools and they consistently do well in all of these “rankings”. A few years ago they were in the top 10. At a median house price of $600000 (which is really lowball if you look at the current MLS) its not like any new residents of Bedford are slumming it. Nonsense like this completely discredits your entire franchise.

  • M. Camm

    Not very practical, sadly. You do realize your child must be a boy to be accepted to Roxbury Latin right? Oh, and they accept about 50 boys. Also, you assume a stratospheric household income, particularly for families with more than one child. This is really a parlor game and not much more.