Private Elementary School Worth it?
I know this topic has been debated many times. Due to our taxable income being rather high, I'm embararssed to ask this question to people we know and am hoping to get people's honest feedback from the community.
We have an elementary school age child at a highly regarded school in OUSD. Our taxable gross income on our tax returns is very high (~a little over $400k). It's rather strange that we see that number on our tax returns but don't feel well off. Our expenses are very high as well. Our property tax is ~$19k/year and it keeps going up every year which I didn't realize. I made a mistake and believed that our tax rate will be frozen in time. My bad. ~$7000 goes out the door monthly for our mortage plus insurance. Adding up groceries, take-out food, paying off student loans, setting aside money for routine home, health, car maintenance plus internet, utility (pg&e costs over $600/month), netflix, retirement, etc. etc. we barely save money for a rainy day. Our house is over 100 years old, and we had no idea home ownership would be this expensive. It seems that something is always breaking and we end up spending around $10k a year or more to fix things (not fancy remodeling just fixing things that break or patching things up).
So... we were sticking with OUSD as we felt it was good enough to meet our needs and it's free. We have met many people who were quite content with this particular OUSD school. But, COVID-19 tipped the scale and OUSD is no longer good enough. We applied to private schools and got in but hardly any financial aid is available for us. Our child has never been really happy at school and often refused to go to school even before the pandemic. They're bored, get lost in the shuffle, and their friends keep leaving the school. The child is advanced, and are now even more bored with the zoom classes. They have no best friend left as every friend they've made has moved away or moved to private schools. Our child has asked if they can move to the private school where where their best friend moved because the friend is very happy at the new school and they are learning in person.
We are looking at our monthly budget and I'm feeling sick thinking about paying almost $3000/ month on tuition alone. Vacations will be cancelled. Even after the pandemic is over, we won't be visiting grandparents during the holidays. Our annual holiday trip to see grandparents cost us about $4000. The kid is going to need to go to camps, piano and dance lessons, etc. Soon, the kid is going to need braces. So, yes... the kid will cost more than $3k/month. No discretionary shopping for mommy and daddy. We'll do less take out and cook more at thome. My car is 18 years old and I was hoping to get a new car when I start commuting again, but maybe I can keep my car running for a few more years. It's a Honda so it's supposed to last practically forever? Our dream of upgrading to a bigger house of remodeling? That'll probably be on hold for a long time.
Are we crazy to even consider paying this much for elementary school? How do parents reconcile the cost of private school tuition if it's a stretch for you? All financial advisors tell you that private school does not make economic sense. Was/it it worth it?