I live in a area with bad school district. I pay a lot in property tax and I'd like to avoid paying private school for my children when they start in 2 years.

The option would be to move to a better district but I like where I live as the house I bought is good for living.

My question is: I was thinking of buying some small condo in a better school district where my kids could go to a public school for free. Do I need to be occupant of that condo or is it still possible to rent it to someone else and still belong to that public school in that area?

I live near Cleveland, Ohio, USA

  • Unless you tell us where you are (which jurisdiction I mean, not specific school areas) then this is going to be impossible for anyone to answer...
    – Vicky
    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:58
  • @Vicky, I updated the question...
    – Grasper
    Apr 17, 2015 at 12:19
  • My friend has the same problem you described. He bought a house in a bad school district and sent his child to a private school. Not sure if you can try this. But he lives nearby Bay area.
    – DumbCoder
    Apr 17, 2015 at 12:51
  • 1
    The school will know when they have two families-worth of students from the same single-family home. The school will find out and you will be punished. It's all automated now. Apr 17, 2015 at 21:51
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not really a PF question. Apr 18, 2015 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


School districts are on the lookout for this. Families decide to live in a jurisdiction with lower taxes or better environment, but want their child to go to school in another district for academic or athletic reasons.

You want one local government to believe you live in one place, but you want the school to believe you live in another.

The home district loves you because you send them money but don't use the resources. The school district hates you because you use their resources but don't pay your fair share.

Many times when you move into a school district they want proof: they want a utility bill, rental agreement, or mortgage documents to say you live there. What happens if you lie: They may charge you out of jurisdiction tuition. There could even be fines and penalties, or in extreme cases jail for tax fraud.

Keep in mind that you will never have access to the school bus because they will expect to pick up the children in front of the fake address. Also your child will eventually be forced to lie about where they live.

You do have options:

  • investigate what the out of district cost is to attend the school you want.
  • look at other schools in your district: in some cases you can go to a non-neighborhood school close to a parents work.
  • If the schools are very bad: and this problem is recognized by the state or federal government; you may have more ability to transfer to another school or district.
  • get involved with the schools to make them better.
  • move

Regarding Fair share:

  • original district A pay property tax of x
  • new district B pay property tax of y
  • number of kids that attend district A schools: 0
  • number of kids that attend district B schools: 2+ (the owners two children and the renters children)
  • 1
    'don't pay your fair share.' I will pay my full taxes for the condo. Nothing will be fake or false. I will fully own the property. It's not like I will use somebodies else address or my expired one. All the proofs you mention can be transfered on the investment property. Not problem here at all. So I want everyone believe I live in the investment property, not just the school.
    – Grasper
    Apr 17, 2015 at 12:48
  • your option to move is the same as buying different property somewhere else, am I getting something wrong? Are we all slaves to only one property?
    – Grasper
    Apr 17, 2015 at 13:03
  • 1
    @Grasper See the very last bullet point. By buying the condo and renting it out you are potentially doubling the contribution to the school district's student population from that address without paying additional property taxes. Apr 17, 2015 at 13:25
  • 1
    @Grasper that's one option. I don't think it's "society" here, it's the people living in the neighboring school district who pay taxes for the resources they consume, and made the choice to pay higher taxes on more expensive real estate for the better schools. you made a different choice. what if every parent at the 'bad' school also did the same as you? how would that affect both school districts? Apr 17, 2015 at 13:46
  • 1
    @Grasper: right, the issue is caused in part by the fact that the local taxes are funding the schools. If it was all centrally funded then there would still be arguments as to whether genuinely living close to a school should affect whether you get a place there, but those arguments wouldn't be about tax. However, I don't get a refund on my taxes for not having children at all, which is why you don't get a refund on your taxes for not sending the children you do have to public school. The whole society pays for public schools, not just parents. The real problem is the bad schools of course. Apr 17, 2015 at 14:16

"Open Enrollment" is the process in which a resident of one district attends school in another district.

Ohio does have open enrollment. There are rules and procedures that need to be followed to take advantage of it. Ohio Department of Education has a web page on it:


First, you need to look up your desired school district, and find out if they accept open enrollment students. Some districts allow applicants from any district, some only accept students from adjacent districts, and some don't allow any open enrollment students.

After you've determined whether or not your desired school district accepts open enrollment, you need to contact the district to find out how to apply. There will generally be a period of dates in which you need to apply for the next school year.

If you can make this work, it will be cheaper and potentially more legal than buying a second home just for the schools.

  • hm, I just checked the listing and the district I want have no open enrollment to any district. So it sucks
    – Grasper
    Apr 17, 2015 at 13:10
  • 1
    But it is still a good answer. Apr 17, 2015 at 13:42
  • it is good answer but is not answering my question. It is just offering different approach.
    – Grasper
    Apr 17, 2015 at 13:46
  • @Grasper - I haven't checked, but if it's that good a school district, then I suspect that they don't have open enrollment specifically because they're that good and everyone nearby would want to send their kids there. Not that that helps you, but it at least would explain it.
    – Bobson
    Apr 17, 2015 at 18:29
  • @Bobson, well they can pick whoever they want. I guess based on how smart the kids are and what is the income of parents or whatever to keep the school to have still good resume...
    – Grasper
    Apr 17, 2015 at 18:32

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.