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Should you live in one town and go to school in another?

Babylon Memorial Grade School has been chosen as

Babylon Memorial Grade School has been chosen as a finalist in the "National Schools of Character" Award program. Representatives were at the school today to evaluate the programs (but wouldn't let us watch the proceedings.) As part of the program, messages of respect and other themes are painted on the walls of the hallways. Here students pass by one of those messages while changing class. March 27, 2008 Newsday/ Ken Spencer Photo Credit: Newsday/Ken Spencer

Many Long Island school district lines, some of which were drawn hundreds of years ago, seem haphazard, separating large chunks or tiny segments of towns and directing families in those towns to neighboring districts. Liz Wallace, broker-owner of Century 21 Sherlock Homes in Rockville Centre, says the setup is a geographical oddity not easily understood by potential home buyers, particularly those coming to Long Island from other states or New York City.

"A lot of times people from the city will say, 'I hear Rockville Centre is a great town, with pretty houses, and I want to buy here,'" says Wallace, "and we'll ask if they're open to different school districts, and they say, 'What does that mean?'"

Well, what does it mean? In addition to children simply going to a different school district, depending upon what that school district is, homeowners may be paying lower school taxes -- or more -- and their property values may be higher or lower.

What do you gain or lose by living in one town and in the school district of another? Here are pros and cons:

POSSIBLE PROS

Lower school taxes

Higher property values

Perceived "better" school district

Gaining the benefit of school district's libraries

Feeling like you're part of two neighborhoods

The chance to be involved with both communities' sports teams

POSSIBLE CONS

Higher school taxes

Lower property values

Perceived "worse" school district

Not having access to municipality's libraries

Feeling like a "stepchild" to the neighborhood you live in

Confusion regarding sports teams

For more advice, click here.

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