Home Buying in Boston>Question Details

Vern001, Other/Just Looking in Boston, MA

Moving from Denver to Boston. We have 3 kids, including one with Down syndrome. We need an affordable area with great and inclusive schools. Ideas?

Asked by Vern001, Boston, MA Tue Jan 31, 2012

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Voices Member’s answer
Hello, you will receive answers from agents all saying their area has great services for special needs children, but the best way to narrow the search is to start your research with the resources on the Mass Department of Education. School profiles can be researched at http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/. State testing by district for the past five years can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/results.html.

I could tell you what I think but as a past educator (I have a doctorate in education) and as a realtor I would be doing you a disservice. I would also be breaking the law. It's unadvised because I don't know your child's specific needs. Only you can determine if a specific district or school will meet the needs of your child.

When you narrow your search to a couple of specific towns, I would be happy to help. You can find more information on my website.
Web Reference: http://Junesiple.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
June's advice was spot on, only you can determine which community is right for your specific situation. In addition to the links provided I suggest you reach out to the Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (also known as SPED PAC's) in communities that interest you, talk to the parents. I am a Board Memeber of my towns SPED PAC and the President of our PAC (her son has Down syndrome) often speaks to parents who are considering a move to the area. You can often find contact info right on the schools websites, if not call the Special Education Office and ask. You can also check out masspac.org.

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
I completely agree with June. An agent should be pointing you to specific resources so you can formulate your own decision on which community and school is right for you and your family.

I am currently looking for a home myself. I use these three sites on a regular basis.

1. http://www.homefacts.com - statistics regarding demographics, environmental, crime , etc
2. http://www.greatschools.org - searchable database of school reviews, test scores, and other stats.
3. http://www.redfin.com - to search homes for sale

Hope this helps.
Best of luck !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
Hi Vern!

The good news is most towns will have inclusion programs which is a huge plus.

I think your first step should be to find yourself an exclusive buyer broker, someone who only has your interests in mind throughout the entire purchase process. I think you will find working with a buyer broker, especially in this case (you are relocating and looking for a specific type of community) the process as whole will go a lot smoother. Exclusive buyer brokers don't have anything to sell you so your needs come first :)

Hard to know exactly what you mean by affordable because that is a little subjective for each individual (price range) however in the general sense there are lots of "affordable" areas in and outside of Boston. Below are some to name a few with links to what is on the market:
Waltham - http://goo.gl/2cl3T
Milton - http://goo.gl/LSAQs
Medford - http://goo.gl/6X1Fg
West Roxbury - http://goo.gl/X22d1
Jamaica Plain - http://goo.gl/i1BLM
Watertown - http://goo.gl/eXCk6
Somerville - http://goo.gl/tdrWi
Arlington - http://goo.gl/U3oyr


I hope that helps!
Web Reference: http://territory.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 2, 2012
My wife, Specialist in Sped Dept in local school district just alerted me to an event for Metrowest (group of cities/towns west of Boston) Sped families:

http://www.natickps.org/Districtinfo/sepac/upcomingevents.cfm

I'm not assuming you can make it but there is contact information there for this particular group and you can research other groups in other towns.

As someone said earlier most towns will have a Special Ed PAC. They would be a great resource for you to learn what each town offers. Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 1, 2012
Hi Vern001,

You have received lots of great answers here and I know you've got your work cut out for you. This is a huge undertaking, I know, and there is no room for mistake.

I would recommend you interview one or two Real Estate "Relocation Professionals" who have a general knowledge of the whole Greater Boston Area...including the MetroWest Area and towns due North and South of Boston. Once you've found someone who you click with....demonstrates that he or she really understands your needs...put yourself in the arms of that individual and save yourself a lot of time and undue stress! From there you can start to identify communities that best suit your needs and budget.

As for communities that offer "inclusion" programs, I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you find out that this is more common than not! If you haven't already discovered, the State of Massachusetts invests a crazy amount of time and money to ensure that the standards here EXCEED national requirements!

Rest assured, the perfect home and community are here for you! You just need to know how to find them!

Best wishes!

Judy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 1, 2012
I have clients with autstic twins and they swear by Arlington. I would be happy to connect the two of you.

Ina H. Cohen
617-645-1909
Ina@SpotOnRealEstate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
My wife is a special ed teacher in a city close to Boston. Her system is very progressive with inclusion and special services. Her system though is not in an affordable town. I would look at larger city/towns as those have budgets that better fund those services. I live in Framingham and would consider our special ed services up there. I have family that receives services with no complaints from my relatives. You would be best served to get pre qualled or better pre-approved for a mortgage first ( I am a mortgage broker). Then you can see how that will fit with the towns that may meet your needs for services. You can also look up advocates who advice parents on special education services. They might be the best resource to advise you to the better school systems for your needs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
Firstly, Denver is a beautiful city. I've been there. Can't beat the Rocky Mountains. Boston is awesome too. I think you will enjoy living here.

Your questions is wide open as there are lots of great town surrounding the Boston area. I don't know how the Denver housing market compares to this area but I have definitely works with folks coming in from other states. You may have a bit of sticker shock in terms of housing costs, so I'm not sure how to address the affordable area comment.

However, I'm attaching a link from an article in Boston Magazine last year. They rated the school systems of different towns.

Hope this helps with some preliminary research.

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/best-schools-in-boston/index.html

Jessie Cuddy, Realtor
Boston Bayside Properties
2253a Dorchester Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02124
http://www.jessiecuddy.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
There are a lot of great schools in the Boston area. I have a client now with a child with Down Syndrome and they came here from California. They settled on Andover because of the schools systems ability to handle their needs. Overall though, we have excellent schools in the Boston area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
Unfortunately, most school districts that have good inclusion programs, aren't the most affordable neighborhoods... they boast high property values (and taxes) that allow for such programs to exist. The towns that come to mind are:
Newton
Needham
Wellesley
Weston
Sharon
Canton
Bedford has high commercial taxes and not too many residents, so there is higher per-student spending there and you may get better services, with a more affordable cost of living. But the school rankings aren't amazing.
I have a special needs child as well and we are in Newton. Call me to brainstorm.
617-340-3986.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
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