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Old 15.08.2011, 22:38
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Are Swiss public schools open to frontaliers?

Hello,

A many do in Geneva, we work in Geneva but live in France close to the border. Our kids go to the local French school for the moment. I am currently evaluating options for secondary school (cycle d'orientation) which will be in two years for the oldest one. My question is whether Swiss public schools accept "frontaliers" or whether they only allow people with a Swiss address. When I asked around, I hear different opinions on this. As we pay Swiss income tax, I think it would be fair that our kids should be able to attend public school in Switzerland.

Best regards
Patrick
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Old 16.08.2011, 05:29
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Re: Are Swiss public schools open to frontaliers?

Why do you pay Swiss income tax if you live in France? I've never lived there myself, but don't the French charge you income tax?

As for your question, I'm afraid I've no idea.
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Old 16.08.2011, 10:20
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Re: Are Swiss public schools open to frontaliers?

There is a bilateral agreement between Canton Geneva and France whereby frontaliers are taxed at source in Geneva on their Swiss income. The Swiss income is then tax exempt in France. In France you are then only taxed on other income (interest, taxe d'habitation etc). Geneva gives France part of the tax back (about 20% I believe). Not a bad deal from a Swiss point of view:-)
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Old 16.08.2011, 10:38
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Re: Are Swiss public schools open to frontaliers?

I don't know if this helps at all, but I know quite a few people that have done it the other way around, ie. they prefer the French school system over the Geneva one.

In one case they were French nationals. In the other case, the french international school in Ferney has a very good reputation, and some swiss or international familities go out of their way to send their kids there, I believe with some fees.
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:25
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Re: Are Swiss public schools open to frontaliers?

I called one of the collèges in Genève and it looks like it is possible to attend the Swiss public schools. Thanks about your feedback about people doing the opposite. Ferney is a bit far away for us. What attracts me to the Swiss system is that school days are not as long as in France. I also hear that as there is no pre-selection before attending the French secondary schools, the level would be on average a bit below the standard of the Swiss secondary schools. I hear that in Swiss universities they only accept students with a French bac if they had a distinction for example. But it is a sensitive topic and everyone defends the choice they made for their kids. It is hard to obtain a neutral opinion on this:-)
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:55
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Re: Are Swiss public schools open to frontaliers?

Golden rule of education: pass the high school diploma in the same system as the university you want to attend. Then work.
I said system, not country, as some are interconnected and work well (France-Québec-Belgium or Scandinavia or Germany-GermanSwitzerland-Austria).

Otherwise, there is always a list of conditions and requirements that has nothing to do with real level of achievements but with culture, national pride, education policy and sometimes weather (for international baccalaureate, one has to read universities' requirements carefully but things are quite well organised, I must admit).
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