How to Louisville , KY
February 5, 2017 7:11 AM   Subscribe

The songs_about_rainbows partnership is Louisville-bound. We have a preschooler and a second-grader. Where should we live?

We are willing to let school quality drive our housing decisions, but the public school website is written in terms of art that I do not understand. What is a resides school? What is a cluster? Quality to us means a supportive community of learners not BEST TEST SCORES FOREVER.

We were planning for Mr. Songs to live in short term housing until the rest of us arrive in June. But it looks like we need to establish residence ASAP for school choice?

We are not that interested in living across the bridge.

We like to live in walkable neighborhoods where kids could potentially ride their bikes around the block without too much worry.

I will work from home so nearby libraries and coffee shops are welcome.

Thank you for your guidance. We a super excited to find our midwestern paradise.
posted by songs_about_rainbows to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Try Clifton/Crescent Hill, and Highlands/Cherokee Triangle. Both tick all your boxes.
posted by acorncup at 8:41 AM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of my best friends lives in Crescent Hill and every time I visit her I want to transplant her neighborhood into mine. It's fantastic.
posted by cooker girl at 9:31 AM on February 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Jefferson County Public Schools system seems needlessly complicated, and it probably is, but I'll do my best to help!

Jefferson County is divided into sections (clusters). Depending on your address, you are in a certain cluster. Each cluster has a list of several schools to which you can apply for your child to attend. The resides school is the school located in your neighborhood. The other schools in the cluster may be in the next neighborhood over; they may be clear across town. There are also magnet schools that anyone can apply to.

Unfortunately schools fill up and parents may not get into the school of first choice. So a kid may end up riding the bus for an hour and a half each way, even if the neighborhood school is three blocks away. People's opinions on this vary widely. There are some excellent schools in JCPS and some that are truly struggling. One's feelings on the busing system generally depend on the length of the bus ride and the quality of the school. Parents I know don't love the long bus ride their kids deal with, but they are thriving at the school, so all good. Each school has its own culture--some have an arts emphasis, some wear uniforms, some have certain afterschool programs, etc.

Right now there is a huge push for test scores and progress at all costs in the schools. Teachers hate it and in some schools morale is low (I have several close friends who are teachers and they talk about work all the time). We recently had school board elections, with some reformed-minded folks getting in, so I'm hopeful that there will be positive change in coming years. This is all complicated by the fact that our governor is an absolutely shitstain and he wants to do all he can to bring in charter schools on top of cutting funding like he's on a mission.

So yeah, the sooner you get an address, the sooner you can find out which cluster you're in and the sooner you can visit schools and apply. Unfortunately the deadline was last month, so they've already started the assignment process. Don't worry though! I know lots of people who moved here way after the deadline passed and they got their kids into the schools they wanted!

The Highlands/Germantown and Crescent Hill/Clifton are nice, walkable neighborhoods. I live in the Highlands and I can tell you all you want to know, like info on parks, restaurants, festivals, farmers markets :) Parts of St. Matthews are nice and walkable; it is whiter and more Republican leaning if that matters. Audubon Park is lovely, but probably not much in the way of coffee shops nearby.

Feel free to memail me with any questions about the school system and different neighborhoods!
posted by chaoticgood at 1:44 PM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also consider St. Matthews, specifically within a mile of the Breckinridge/Chenoweth/Frankfort Ave/Lexington intersection.

If school quality is truly your deciding factor, you may want to consider budgeting for private school, or living in an outlying county (e.g. Oldham). If you're not wanting to sacrifice quality of life/walkability/etc for schools - totally reasonable! - then the neighborhoods listed above are where I'd look. The issue you'll run into is that most clusters have one or two (or more) decent elementary schools, but horrid middle schools (and sometimes high schools). You'll have to hope your child gets into a magnet school. (It's much, much easier to get into a magnet if your child is not white, if that matters/is relevant.)
posted by pecanpies at 2:12 PM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and welcome to Louisville! The school system's a cluster (heh) and our governor's a fuckwit - but it's truly a lovely place to raise a family.
posted by pecanpies at 2:13 PM on February 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm partial to the Hikes Point area, because it's quiet and there are some real hidden gems snaked back through there (that's how I found my place!). It's also really close to St. Matthews and the Highlands, which means you'll have things to do. Difficulty for me is I don't have kids, so I can't speak to schools.

I've also got a friend that lives far East End, and he moved there because the public school his kid will go to will be really nice.
posted by deezil at 8:08 AM on February 6, 2017

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