But City Schools Are Scary!

Real Estate Agent

I cannot count the times I hear from potential buyers, "I am looking for a single family home," but when it comes to discussions about what school district they want, I often hear, "Anything but the City!"

Why is this?  It seems like everyone has the perception that the city school is a big, bad place where kids are bound to never succeed.  Perception is reality.  However, I am NOT a perceiver.   I have witnessed people perceiving only what they want to see and know there is more to it than that.  I look for the missed beat, the skipped step, the misunderstanding that so many hurry by.

I am phlegmatic.  So I decided to test that so-called perception by going to exactly where no one seems to want to send their kiddos, the City School...

Our City School is AMAZING!  I learned from the administration that warmly received me, the School District is one of the oldest in the State of PA, dating back to the late 1800's.

At almost 5000 enrolled students, it has 5 Elementary Schools, a Middle School and of course the High School where I visited.  The High School has recently been remodeled and is spacious and well designed inside.  It's also eco-friendly (geothermal heat).

What's even more surprising is the School received a 99% response rate in 2014 from parents regarding the school's performance and the parent's satisfaction was either satisfied or extremely satisfied with the entire school system.

I learned the City School offers Chinese Language courses, Dual Enrollment or College in High School Courses so that a Senior can actually graduate and attend a local Community College that has transferable credits to well known State Universities as a Sophomore.  This saves an entire year's worth of tuition.  

The City School also provides free breakfast and lunch to all students no matter what economic status they hold.  

This is just the tip of what the City School District has to offer, but I have to mention one more wonderful experience I had at the Lebanon City High School.  I witnessed a select group of extremely talented choral students perform in the High School Library.  Their precision, hard work and amazing talent brought tears to my eyes.  Their singing was absolutely stunning.  Their instructor was amazing as well.

I may not be able to convey to every potential home buyer that the Lebanon City School District is just as good as any other in the county, but I certainly feel better equipped to respond to those misguided perceptions.  

What's going on at your local Schools?



Posted by

~Aimee Schmitt

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Serving Central PA With Excellence! 

Office:  (717) 769.2986 ext. 116

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Email: realestatebyaimee@gmail.com



Comments (24)

Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Aimee - great post - it is so important to be able to talk about the schools in your area and be knowledgeable!

Nov 03, 2015 08:17 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks Lisa Howe, the avoidance just bothered me so much and I figured, "well, go to the source and see for yourself."

Nov 04, 2015 12:21 AM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

I'm not a realtor, but I thought realtors weren't allowed to discuss schools/provide opinions.

As for my area, we have some of the top schools in the country and our taxes reflect that.  Many seem to be very particular as to which school district they want their kids to attend.  I've been told by local realtors that they need to refer clients to websites/local authorities to get the info so that there are no fair housing violations.

Nov 03, 2015 08:35 PM
Debbie Gartner

That's a good way to handle that, Janis.

Nov 03, 2015 10:41 PM
Janis Borgueta

We are NOT allowed to discuss school districts with our clients Debbie Gartner I see it all the time though on other websites about school rankings and opinions. I can tell you where the schools are and that is about it. I stay away from any published rankings (they are wrong in many cases and don't tell the entire story)

I can be the source of the source, but not the actual information about the school district anymore than I can provide information about what neighborhood to buy into. I can tell people that they should go to the district and see for themselves, and if they ask me if my kids go to a specific district i can answer that question, but not go any further than that. The rest is NOT my part of the conversation. My clients know that and respect that I am not telling them something that I cannot participate in. They take the info and do their own research. 

Nov 03, 2015 08:57 PM
Tammy Lankford,

I think it's that broker advise their agents not to discuss since it can seem like steering if you are trying to move people in one school district vs. another.  But if you are not trying to get a person live in said district or not live in said district but simply doing what is happening here and discussing a school it's perfectly fine.  


Nov 03, 2015 10:15 PM
Aimee Schmitt

You are right Debbie Gartner, we do NOT provide opinion and cannot.  I cannot steer anyone towards or away from a particular school district.  This post was merely to gather information & report what I did not know and am guessing many others do not as well.  I in no way will ever encourage or discourage a particular school district (we have a total of 6 in the entire county) to any of my clients, for that I give them the admin numbers so they can meet with the district reps themselves.

Nov 04, 2015 12:27 AM
Michael Thacker - Re/Max Real Estate Center - Louisville
Re/Max Real Estate Center - The Thacker Group - Louisville, KY
Your best friend who just happens to be a Realtor

Great post, and very beneficial for you to share with your clients your "first-hand" knowledge too! 

Nov 03, 2015 08:54 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks Michael Thacker :)

Nov 04, 2015 12:27 AM
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Thanks for posting Aimee.  I make sure that I not only know about the properties on the market in my area, but I am also knowledgeable about the local schools, their stats and where to direct someone should they need assistance.

Nov 03, 2015 08:56 PM
Aimee Schmitt

You got it Chris Lima, learn and then direct to the source :)

Nov 04, 2015 12:28 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

In 1972 Oklahoma City like many cities in the Midwest, South, and Southwest were court mandated to bus children for racial integration. This created the "white flight" to the suburbs because of racial prejudice since schools were segregated at that time. This also meant that wealth fled and enriched the suburban schools, a trend that is only beginning to reverse itselg but at a snails pace. Because of the money the schools better equipped, and of course by now all schools are intergrated successfully. Oklahoma City did a special sales tax and 75% of the city schools were torn down and new ones erected. Larger cities need to take special measures like this to restore the inner city schools and life and it is working in Oklahoma City but still has a long way to go.

Nov 03, 2015 09:08 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks for stopping by Joe Pryor.  Sounds like you have a handle on what your districts are doing as well.

Nov 04, 2015 12:29 AM
Raul Rodriguez
Covenant Partners Realty - San Antonio, TX
Looking out for the client's interest and not my p

Schools are an important factor to consider in making a decision to purchase. I try to be informed about the school districts and I will tell my clients...according to such and such and let them decide.

Nov 03, 2015 09:52 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks for commenting Raul Rodriguez.  Yes the power to decide is up the client.

Nov 04, 2015 12:30 AM
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

In Florida about a dozen years ago, we started rating our schools with A, B, C, D, F.  It really forced the schools to clean up their act.  It also lets parents know where to go and where to stay away.  Otherwise you only get parts of the picture. 

Nov 03, 2015 09:54 PM
Aimee Schmitt

That's interesting Rob Arnold.  Thanks for sharing!

Nov 04, 2015 12:31 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

This is rarely part of my discussion with buyers in my market. We have one school for each set of grades in my entire county and a private school.  So there are no school districts in my county.  And I not only point at the on line information, but I am happy to speak of my personal experience with children in the local schools as well.  

Nov 03, 2015 10:19 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks Tammy Lankford, the school I reported about also offers cyber teaching if parents do not want their kiddos to attend in person, there is no additional cost for this.  

Nov 04, 2015 12:32 AM
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Great local post Aimee. Our school district here in Gilbert, Arizona is one of the best in the State. 

Nov 03, 2015 10:37 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks Nicole Doty :)

Nov 04, 2015 12:33 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Schools are often a deal point. Good post and thank you Aimee Schmitt 

Nov 03, 2015 10:43 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks Richie Alan Naggar and so true!

Nov 04, 2015 12:33 AM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Very good post Aimee, I enjoyed reading it. In the area I work, in Chicago Land there re many people who are disappointed with the city public schools and move out of the city limits for those same reasons.

Nov 03, 2015 10:49 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks Noah Seidenberg, it is sad isn't it?  We have the same issue here but efforts are being made to change perceptions.

Nov 04, 2015 12:35 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

In any cities so long there are apartments, low income housing there are tenants who are struggling with their lifes.  Schools is not top on the list,

In sunny CA we got all the transients and homeless from all over. One does not expect the schools to be top. One neighborhood can have top elementary and good middle and average high schools from the non-owner occupied cluster housing. 


Nov 03, 2015 11:37 PM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks for reading my post Sam Shueh.  Some schools can have a great reputation and still have major problems inside...

Nov 04, 2015 12:36 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

In Silicon Valley over 1,149 high tech firms CEOs are immigrants mostly from Asia. They are the creme of the crop class- education wise. As such they expect their children to receive even a better education.  These are the students often seen on TV for spelling bees, science national contest. The over emphasis has resulted in othe families moving away due to over-emphasis on grades (e.g. API=984 etc, why not have a perfect score for the school). Parents push the teachers to assign hard school work.  Often frustrated. They also tend to commit suicide, sometimes together to relief their stress. Good schooling probably allows one has an edge on first job. It may develop better studying or research habits. That is about it. 

Nov 03, 2015 11:52 PM
Aimee Schmitt

That certainly is a lot of pressure and not good news about suicide rates.  It's tragic.

Nov 04, 2015 12:37 AM
David Alan Baker Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor
Keller Williams Realty Phoenix - Laveen, AZ
Your local Expert

Nailed it!!!  So many people do have that perception, and never, NEVER step beyond to test it.  Well done

Nov 04, 2015 01:01 AM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks David Baker!

Nov 04, 2015 10:02 AM
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

One of the most common mistakes people of both Genders, every race and Faith, and from every Nation, State or County thend to make unfounded assumptions, and formalize them as a priori truth. When waring against native Indians, or foreign Nations we tend to think them all evil. When we see where one police officer steps over the threshhold, we allow ourselves to assume the other ten thousand are all dirty cops; or one Catholic priest is a pedophile, thus ALL are suspect.

Violence, low test scores, rundown buildings, teacher misconduct, drugs and weapons reported on the news; and all of a sudden, every public school is suspected of being a hotbed for crime, INCOMPETENCE and demented behavior. All the strong arm tactics to drive people of faith out of our schools, plus the false notion that schools are safer where there are "gun free zones" ALL foster a fear among parents that is understandable. Some of those same parents are the ones who threaten teachers and admin if they try to correct their little monster. Thought must go into why kids are in school, what must occur in the classroom, and what are real threats. Yes, we know WHY FAMILIES place such emphasis on schools when buying a home.

What YOU did is what every school needs. One of the most rewarding things I have ever done was as a parent. Every Tuesday and Thursday I gave two hours of my day to my son's fourth grade class (1977). His teachers team taught about forty students. The teachers names were Lent & Squint. Fabulous teachers! My role was to work with advanced students on Tuesdays and struggling students on Thursdays. There were four of us parents, and we all gained a greater appreciation for the teachers and love for the kids! My youngest daughter volunteers in a similar way today. The real harm is in society rather than schools.

Nov 04, 2015 02:05 AM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks so much for your input Fred Cope.  So good to read these responses to my post!

Nov 04, 2015 10:02 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

There are students who EXCEL in "public" schools . . . in the heart of inner cities! My personal belief is that any child can achieve, but it takes one thing:  PARENT/S (and/or Guardians) involvement.  If a child is left to fend for themselves in education of any kind (public/private) and they do not have their Parent/s involvement, they will not fair well.  

Abraham Lincoln did homework on the back of a shovel using coal!  


Nov 04, 2015 03:50 AM
Aimee Schmitt

We are cut from the same cloth Carla Muss-Jacobs :) thanks for reading my post.

Nov 04, 2015 09:40 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Cpngratulations Aimee Schmitt on feature!

Sometimes, it is assumed that city schools are not as good as small town schools. A myth - you burst in your post.

Good luck for many more features.

Wishing you all the success...

Nov 04, 2015 03:54 AM
Aimee Schmitt

Thank you Praful Thakkar :)


Nov 04, 2015 09:39 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Schools are scary the first time. This is a great post to help understand. 

Nov 04, 2015 07:57 AM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks for reading my post Karen Fiddler.

Nov 04, 2015 09:36 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

With so many reports online on school performance that is one area to start the search.  Then take a trip through the area and try to get the vibes fr the neighborhoods they service.  That is at least a start

Nov 05, 2015 08:11 AM
Aimee Schmitt

Thanks for stopping by  and commenting Ed Silva.

Nov 05, 2015 01:06 PM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA
https://HugginsHomes.com - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

I know plenty of people who succeed in public schools.  The only thing about those schools now is the common core, morals, values and "political rightspeak" being taught.  Common core is horrific and a public school shouldn't be teaching morals and values, that is the job of the parents.  I've seen some truly horrific reports coming out of public schools to the point where I'd home school any future kids (if that hasn't been outlawed by then).

Nov 16, 2015 11:04 AM
Aimee Schmitt

Ryan Huggins, many parents home school here in PA, I share your sentiments on the Common Core agenda as well!  Thanks for reading my post.

Nov 17, 2015 02:28 PM