We decided to put her in the only local private school for kindergarten. We don't have a Montessori school here in town, and this was the closest thing we had (so I thought). Kindergarten was OK, but it seemed they were a bit too lax in terms of structure and discipline, so we switched to public school when D started first grade. This is her third year there and she is doing fine. The teachers are great, but the facilities are pretty poor.
We went for parent-teacher conferences last night and found that D's teacher loves having her in class, but that she tends to be a bit too chatty at times (just like her mom). I haven't been as involved this year- last year I got to go once a week to help with reading and it was a great chance to get to know her teacher and class. D's teacher this year doesn't have anything regular like that, so I haven't been in class this year- that's OK, though.
As I mentioned earlier, the school levies usually fail around here- the people "in-town" tend to vote for them, but rural residents tend to vote against them- and they out-number us, so the schools suffer. We passed one for a new elementary school several years ago and it looks like our ballot issue to build a new high school might have passed. On election night it looked like it had, but then there was the matter of a whole bunch of paper and/or absentee ballots to be counted- and it had only passed by less 500 votes out of over 12,000. Last I heard, it is still looking positive, but has not yet been certified.
The whole school situation here is pretty interesting, I think. You would think that a college town would have excellent schools, since so many residents are educators themselves. I'd be curious to know if other small college towns around the country struggle with similar issues or if the professors' kids tend to go to private schools. I like the idea of D being in school with kids that are different from her and going to our public schools accomplishes that to some degree. Almost 40% of the kids at her school are considered "economically disadvantaged". The vast majority of kids are white. We have rural poverty here rather than urban.
I guess these are just some ideas I've been stewing about and wanted to share. I had started thinking about sending D to private school in high school if that levy didn't pass- we have the oldest school building in the county (50+ years) and it isn't even capable of being locked-down. Private school would mean a long commute out of Small College Town for D and a lot of money for us. I prefer the idea of public schools, but it's frustrating when not everyone wants to pay to improve them.