Our second move was from Weston, Florida to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. Quite a change, huh? I still miss the ocean and palm trees sometimes:) I wanted to be more prepared this time, and we didn’t know anyone in Milwaukee, so I was on my own. I started researching the area heavily and stumbled across an article on the city right next to where Brad would be working. It was a Money magazine article on the best places in the US to live. From that article, I found my number one favorite place to find info on cities; www.greatschools.org. And there started my obsession.
It takes a little bit to get used to navigating the site, but it’s worth it. Not only does it give you ratings for school districts as a whole, but for each individual school in the district. This is great, because to my surprise, even the highest rated districts usually have at least one school that underperforms. It also shows median household income, cost of living compared to US average, state median income, crime statistics, and weather statistics. It’s like a one stop shop!
Even if you don’t plan on being somewhere long enough for your children to start school there, it’s still the best place to start. If the schools are good, there are families and assets in the area. This means that there are nice neighborhoods and low crime. Ratings of 8-10 are some of the best schools in the country. That’s where I’ve focused my searches on for the past several moves and I have not been disappointed!
Aren’t the areas with the best schools expensive, you ask? They can be, but that’s not always the case. In my experience, most of the areas with schools rated 10 are cities with million dollar homes and median incomes over $200,000. I obviously can’t afford to live there. Generally, the cities right next to those cities still have excellent schools (8 or 9), and the cost of living is much lower. I start with the best and move out from there.
Until our next adventure,