We are relocating to Austin from New Orleans with a 5 and 7 year old. Looking for a beautiful place near a top elementary school--public or private

Asked by Marci, Austin, TX Fri Mar 25, 2011

We are moving and looking for the best school for our children and would like to live near the school. It's important that the school be beautiful environmentally, and have a strong arts-based program. We are looking to rent for a year while we figure out where we want to be, then buy, or maybe just buy.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Spirit Messi…, Agent, Tucson, AZ
Fri Mar 25, 2011
Please consider working with a local agent or Realtor. Are you pre-approved yet? If not, that is the first thing you can do before you move, and start working with an agent as they can send you listings and etc, so you can start to get a feel for what is available for the money. I noticed you have already had a couple local agents reach out, start there.

Best of luck. Buying a home should be an exciting and educational process.
1 vote
Teresa Rober…, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Mar 25, 2011
Hi Marci,

Congratulations on your move to Austin! My husband and I love visiting New Orleans, but raising children in Austin offers wonderful opportunities. We have twin boys (one was very strong in the arts and attended McCallum High School Fine Arts Academy). They attended both private and public schools throughout the years and I am quite familiar with both entities.

Before I or anyone can make recommendations to you there are questions that you'll need to answer such as:

- Where will you and/or your husband be working?
- How long a commute are you willing to make?
- What is your rental / purchase budget?
- Have you explored getting preapproved for a mortgage?
- When are you thinking about making this move?
- If considering private education, how much annual tuition could you afford in your budget?

With the current economy situation, many of the public schools are experiencing cutbacks, so it will be important to research whether or not the art programs are going to suffer because of this.

I have lived in Austin for over 35 years and am quite familiar with most of the areas in the Austin Metro area and would love to work with you and your family to find the right fit not only for your housing, but your children's education, as well.

Feel free to email me at Teresa@RobersonResidential.com or call - 512.461.9801. I look forward to hearing from you!
1 vote
Betina Forem…, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Mar 2, 2012
Dear Marci,
Enclosed please find a list that I compiled of private schools in Austin along with their contact information and tuition. I hope you find it helpful. http://www.trulia.com/blog/betina_foreman/2010/09/find_priva…


Betina Foreman- Realtor, C.N.E.
Austin Home Girls Realty
1601 West 6th
Austin Texas 78703
Web Reference:  http://www.BetinaForeman.com
0 votes
Wendy Papasan, , Austin, TX
Tue Mar 29, 2011
I have a 5 and 7-year-old and we love Barton Hills Elementary School in South Austin. We live right across the street from the greenbelt and just a short bike ride to Barton Springs http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/bartonsprings.htm, Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Zilker Park - all cool places. We know so many of our neighbors and are thrilled we ended up in such a great neighborhood!! http://www.bartonhills.org/

Here's a home search for the neighborhood.

Good luck and welcome to Austin.
0 votes
Doug Vogelsa…, Agent, Austin, TX
Mon Mar 28, 2011
Marci -

As a former math/history teacher, I am familiar with the Texas public school system. Right now my wife and I send our children to the Austin Waldorf School (http://www.austinwaldorf.org/). It resonates with our family due to its emphasis on teaching as a holistic endeavor and strongly encourages the arts. You can read more on Waldorf education at http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_Education/index.asp.

We live in Southwest Austin near AWS and are familiar with the area, if that is where you choose to live. Renting is a very viable option right now, and there are many homes that deliver a great value for your leasing dollar, including 8805 Dorella Lane in 78736 (not in the MLS) which is leasing for $1,800/mo and includes:

*4 Bedroom / 2 Full Bath
*1.25 fenced acres on corner lot
*Huge park-like backyard with woods
*Stained concrete floors
*Covered back porch spans entire length of house
*Open mother-in-law floor plan with bar wrapping kitchen
*Chicken coop
*Partially furnished
*Quiet street
*Amazing neighbors
*Playscape / sandbox / zipline
*Fire pit / horseshoe pit / washer pit
*Automatic garage door opener

I also suggest you look at some local Buy vs. Rent articles here: http://a4c-austin.blogspot.com/

Good luck, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Peace in your home,

Doug Vogelsass
REALTOR :: Agents for Change

cell :: (512) 739-0457
eFax: :: (918) 513-5112
email :: doug@myagentsforchange.com

15% of our net agent fees at the closing of our client's property will be donated to a charitable organization of their choice. We do this with ALL clients. This is our way of expressing our appreciation to both our clients and the worthy causes dedicated to the betterment of our communities.

9600 Escarpment Blvd :: Suite 745-75 :: Austin, TX :: 78749
Sponsoring broker :: David Komie, Attorney-at-Law (License# 584762).
0 votes
Les Sherman,…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sun Mar 27, 2011
Hello Marci,

Welcome to Austin! I agree with a number of things that Laura and John have said previously. Because of the recent budget cuts you may want to consider a school in the fine arts academy system. You will always hear about Eanes, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Pflugerville and all have strong, very positive school systems. I believe McNeil High School, in the Round Rock ISD, is a fine arts academy school and there is a school chain in the Austin ISD that tracks to a fine arts academy; Gullett elementary to McCallum High School. Your budget will dictate which areas to which you will gravitate. I've been in this market for 30 years and would love to discuss all the information and locations available to you. Oh, and my choice is jumbo shrimp with Richard's Cajun Seasoning, or a trip to Pascale Manales! :)

If you want more information..... http://www.LesShermanRealEstate.com

Best Wishes,

Les Sherman
0 votes
Jack Armstro…, , Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011
Westlake School District. As many have said - a lot depends upon your budget. Feel free to contact me or one of my excellent agents. We're The Real Estate People!â„¢
0 votes
Laura Mcmill…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011

I am so excited for your family relocating to Austin! What an exciting time for everyone as there is something to do all year round. Having a 2-, 7- and 9-year-old, we constantly find great things to do on all levels. I relocated from the Louisiana/Texas border not long ago and lived in the Steiner Ranch / Lakeway area - fantastic school systems. Presently, I live in Cedar Park and feel confident in the childrens' education. I can say from personal experience that it is best to spend some time driving around Austin and finding an area that suits your needs. Traffic can be a bear! That is where a REALTOR can assist you by breaking it down in areas - there a number of top schools and scenic neighborhoods to live and enjoy. Austin is strong in arts; so, have no fear that that can be resolved with ease.

To help you before you make the trek, an agent can forward you a relocation package. In it is a map and other essential needs to get more settled. (Included can be an online option of information to search for homes that interest you most called a Gateway. It is provided as a way for you and your REALTOR to narrow down the overwhelming list and hone in on the perfect place.)

A suggestion is scheduling an appointment with a few of the agents that have contacted you. It's two-fold: Firstly, you'll get to learn the areas of interest. Secondly, you'll find a niche with a personality that suits you best. The agent you feel fits your family best should be able to fulfill your leasing, purchase and lending goals with ease and confidence. Remember, our services are free to you. We want to earn your loyalty.

Now, when you come and you contact me, bring boiled crawfish! Having a cajun background, I've had to really search out good sources and it hasn't been easy! :)

I wish you the best in your travels and feel confident you will be pleased with the end result.

Laura McMillan
Avalar Austin
Web Reference:  http://www.avalarultra.com
0 votes
vivianne dor…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011
Hi, Marci,

You got lots of good advice. To sum it up, whether you rent or buy, there are great neighborhoods and great schools within them, it all depends on what you can or are willing to spend on rent or a home purchase. You can rent for as little as $1200 and go to $2000+, it all depends on location and size of home. Similarly, you can buy a home in the low $200K and still be in a nice neighborhood or go as high as you want.

I work a lot with relocating home buyers, so communicating long distance with you is something I am used to. Are you planning a trip to Austin for some house hunting? I'd be happy to meet with you and show you several areas you may like. If you contact me and we talk more about your home search criteria, I will then send you the listings that meet your requirements and when you come to Austin, you will already have a list of homes to see. Call or email me to discuss more details.

0 votes
Janet Cloudt, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011
Hi, Marci! Many realtors have already responded, but I wanted to provide you a link to a PDF (you may need to copy & paste the link into your browser bar) that you might find helpful regarding some private schools in the Austin area. For the most part, our public schools put more emphasis on the basics of reading, writing, math and science, and less on the arts. It's not to say you can't find a public school that will meet your criteria. We have many exemplary and blue ribbon schools in the Austin area to choose from. I think after you rent for a year you will have a better idea of the part of town you want to live in, and that of course will dictate which schools your children will attend. Here is the link to the PDF for the private schools. If I can answer any additional questions for you, please don't hesitate to call me at 512-297-0001. I have a 9 year old and a 13 year old. We live in NW Hills. Our elementary school--Hill Elementary--is one of the exemplary rated schools I just mentioned. We have been very pleased!



Cell: 512-297-0001
E-mail: jcloudt@sbcglobal.net

Join my Facebook Community to stay informed about the Austin real estate market http://www.facebook.com/pages/Home-Sweet-Home-Austin/1021701…
0 votes
., , Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011
Dear Marci:

It depends on what your budget is and where your place of employment will be located. As said below, Cedar Park/Leander offers everything on your wish list -- it's north of Austin -- and can be had for $300K and under. For $300K and over you may want to consider the west part of Austin; there are some excellent opportunities in Lakeway. The school district is exemplary and the views are fantastic.

Everything depends on your budget and place of employment.


Mary Strickler
Realtor GRI
0 votes
Don Groff, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011
Hi Marci,

Austin and it's surrounding suburbs offer many great neighborhoods and schools. It truly depends on where you would like to be. I live in Cedar Park which is just 1 mile outside of the Austin City limits. We have many schools with excellent ratings. This is just one part of Austin thought so you really need to come down and feel it out to see where you would like to be. Many areas will offer Recognized and Exemplary schools. Once site for schools that is truly great is http://www.GreatSchools.org.

If you would like a relocation package sent please let me know. It covers all of Austin. Good luck on your move.

Don Groff
REALTOR | Mortgage Broker | Consultant
Keller Williams Realty | 360 Lending Group
0 votes
Steven Nusin…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011

I think there will be some opportunities that meet your criteria. Even though the school districts are going through some cuts, the city is very supportive of the arts. My wife is the Art Teacher at one of our local elementary schools, so I may be able to offer some insight.

I think you should also focus on where are you going to work, what you want to spend, and what you like in a neighborhood(older homes or master planned). These things might help you with school choice.

Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Steve Nusinow
0 votes
William Frie…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011
Hi Marci,
I have always recommended and found this link to school ratings very helpful for my prospective buyers.


If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

Bill Friedrich
0 votes
John Staplet…, Agent, Cedar Park, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011
Interesting how we Realtors see a question where it was not. Did you ask "Who wants to be our Realtor?"...

I think you are wanting to know about top schools with a strong arts-based program.

The public schools are in a state of budget chaos right now. Rick Perry, the current governor, is refusing to use the rainy day fund to fill a gap in school funding that was created by a cap of the property tax rate local school districts can set. Taxes are based on appraised values, which have declined and thus reduced property taxes. So the cap is arbitrarily lower than originally intended. We could either adjust the tax rates to keep tax dollars level or use the 9+ Billion Dollar rainy day fund. Perry's "solution" is to leave the local school districts hanging with enormous funding cuts.

Do I have the whole political picture accurate? Maybe / maybe not. It is probably warped by my personal perspective. The key point is funding is in a state of flux.

So what will get cut?

Fine arts for elementary students could be on the list. So I do not recommend basing your home selection on the arts program at any one public school.

Mark Brown at Naumann Elementary in Cedar Park is excellent. I hope he is there next year. He is someone I would seek out for the age range of your kids. Will he be teaching next year?

If you connect well with a Realtor and find that they really understand you, buying now might be an option. Renting for a year can help you learn the city. Some people rent, then end up buying near the rental because that is where they started settling and feel most comfortable. Others rent and check out the whole area. If you are the type to explore the rent first option may be more helpful.

It sounds to me like you have a very clear focus on educating your children. You understand that environment and arts programs are good ways to reach them, to keep their interest open to education. That is a good thought to return to repeatedly throughout the decision-making process. When you see a pretty house, measure it by this.

I hope that helps. Best of luck to your family,

0 votes
JOSEPH E JAR…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 26, 2011
Marci, I see you already got some great advice. Best thing you can do at this point, is start working with an experienced local Austin area Realtor, such as myself, so they can get answers to many questions to help you land in just the right area with the right schools for you. Your price range will also help determine what areas are options for you as well. For example, Eanes school district is one of the, if not the best rated school system in our area, and the homes there command a higher price accordingly. Lake travis ISD (independent school district) is another one that comes to mind. You have many options. Please feel free to click on my name to the right and review my Credentials, Client Testimonials, etc., and see if we might be a good fit. I am a Residential Specialist and a Master Instructor with Keller Williams Realty, Austin's #1 Real Estate Company also ranked #1 by Buyers 3 Years in a Row (JD Power & Associates). I do NOT charge you for my extensive services, and am sure you'd be more than pleased with my team and the level of one on one attention I afford my clients. Good luck with your move, hope to hear from you, and you will love it here, if you are like most! Joe Jarusinsky, REALTOR/Master Instructor, Keller Williams Realty (512)497-0105
0 votes
Tamra Duarte,…, , Austin, TX
Fri Mar 25, 2011
Hi Marci,
I can set a search up for you on the MLS so that you can be lookng at homes, prices, areas, schools, etc. If you like. I recommend going to the Texas Education Agency website to look at school accountability ratings. We lived in Round Rock and Pflugerville while our boys were in elementary and middle school, and we just loved the area. There are other areas outside of Austin that you might consider looking at too. Buda is really nice, and there is Kyle, Leander, Cedar Park, Manor, Wimberley, and all are within a decent driving distance to Austin. Living in Pflugerville we were only 15 minutes to downtown Austin.
Marci, I would be happy to help you find your family a home, and your children awesome schools to go to! Please feel free to call me @ (512)294-9583 or email me @ tamraduarte@yahoo.com.
0 votes
Andrea Winde…, , Austin, TX
Fri Mar 25, 2011
Would love to represent you! AvenueOne Properties is the oldest residential real estate company in Austin. Check us out! We have a fabulous website. You can locate me under "Agents".
Andrea Winders
0 votes
Jen Butel, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Mar 25, 2011
Hi Marci,
Welcome to Austin! I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old, so I know what a big decision finding the right school is. If you'd like to give me a call or send me a message I can share what schools we're considering. A few schools immediately come to mind, but I'd like to hear more about what you're looking for in a neighborhood as well.

Warm Regards,
0 votes
Wendy Jansky, , Austin, TX
Fri Mar 25, 2011
I would love to learn more about your interests and concerns in regards to the schools. Since Austin is quite large, there are many wonderful schools, both private and public that could be a good fit. If I can be of assistance feel free to contact me at wendy@goodlifeteam.com. You can also check out our website for additional information about Austin; just click the link below.
Web Reference:  http://goodlifeteam.com
0 votes
Amy Jennings, , Austin, TX
Fri Mar 25, 2011
I would be happy to help you find a place to rent and give you a tour of Austin. Having relocated here myself, I think that is a very good plan. Austin is a great town, but it does take some time to become familiar with all the areas. If you would like for me to send you a relocation package with helpful info, please drop me an email at amy@amysellsaustin.com or give me a call at 512 663-9520.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more