My family relocated to New York from California in 2011. We immediately started looking for a house. While there are many factors that need to be considered when buying a house, there was no doubt that public school performance was the most important to my husband and me because we wanted to provide our son with the best education. Impressed by the school excellence and cultural diversity in Great Neck, we eventually chose to settle here, and my family has enjoyed living here for the past six years.
I worked in the financial industry and commuted to the city for years and then I stepped into the real estate area 18 months ago. I have worked with numerous customers, either from overseas or from the local metropolitan area. When families with school-age kids look for houses on Long Island, they always put Great Neck, Jericho and Syosset as the top three places they want to live.
Great Neck house prices are expensive, but the net school tax and net library tax rates are much lower compared to Jericho and Syosset (net school tax rate per $100 in Great Neck, Jericho and Syosset are $615.784, $886.594 and $1,072.533, respectively). Many home buyers are willing to purchase properties with higher taxes in order to put their kids in excellent public schools like those mentioned. Syosset is a good example of a district where high school tax rates definitely do not affect people’s decisions to buy a home. The Syosset housing market rise has been very noticeable in the past two years despite the high school tax rate. The misinformation out there that a marginally higher tax rate will deter potential home buyers from Great Neck is simply not true.
There has always been and continues to be a huge demand for Great Neck properties. However, this could change in the future if the budget and revised bond vote fail on May 16. Our schools have great teachers but old infrastructure with limited capacity. If we don’t get the budget and bond passed, Great Neck schools will be forced to increase class sizes and cut teachers, clubs, art and music programs, AP courses, athletic programs and other programs that students and parents value. A school that only provides the core classes without the many wonderful enrichment and extracurricular programs will not be a district that is attractive to potential home buyers with young families.
A 2013 Realtor.com survey of nearly 1,000 prospective home buyers showed that 91 percent said school boundaries were important in their search. An article “How Much Do School Districts Affect Real Estate Prices” by Sam DeBord published on June 1, 2016, on Realtor.com concluded that 50 percent of the home-buyer population is willing to pay more than their intended budget to get into the right school district.
As a resident, parent and Realtor in Great Neck, we need to defend our public schools. Our public schools do more for the wealth of the Great Neck hub than you even realize. A town with a better public school system attracts more educated individuals, creates higher property values and increases tax revenue to the town.
On May 16, we need to vote Yes to the budget and bond. We need to take action to protect our public schools. We need to vote for our two Board of Education candidates who are defenders of Great Neck Public Schools: Jeff Shi and Rebecca Sassouni.