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Old 02-20-2009, 05:05 PM
 
3 posts, read 11,432 times
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I'm currently living in Ridgefield but the reality is that I can't afford to buy a home here . I'm exploring other communities in the area . I'm considering Bethel because it has some nice shops downtown. I've also heard New Fairfield is nice. I can't venture out too far because I work in North Salem(About 8 miles from Ridgefield)
I only want to do this move once because I have a five year old who will be starting school next year. I'm also wondering about the school districs in Bethel or New Fairfield.
I would love any input you might have.

Thanks.
Danielle
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Danbury CT covering all of Fairfield County
2,502 posts, read 6,707,445 times
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The taxes in Bethel are a little bit higher than in New Fairfield. Bethel does have a walkable downtown whereas New Fairfield's center, there are some businesses, but not in my opinion a walkable enviroment. As a realtor, I can't comment about the schools.
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
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Schools in both Bethel and New Fairfield are very good. They perform above the state averages on the Connecticut Mastery and Connecticut Academic Performance Tests. New Fairfield schools performed slightly better than Bethel but also appear to have larger class sizes in certain grades. Class sizes though are reasonable at around 22 students per class. I think you need to visit both communities and see which one feels best to you. Good luck, Jay

Strategic School Profiles by District

Strategic School Profiles by School
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:56 AM
 
1 posts, read 5,426 times
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Default newmomga

family moving to CT in June 09, husband has new job at Danbury hospital, 3 school agers 3-8 yrs, looking for safe rental property till we decide where to buy. african american family, do not mind commuting up to 30 miles, very particular about schools, husband MD, I am a Rxcist. I really want honest answers esp. about the schools. How is Danbury now? Jay pls help out, I like ur thread because they seem really honest and thats why I have added I am African American, pls don't hold back any info that can help. I would like some diversity in the school district. Any great agents in town?
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Cheshire, Conn.
2,102 posts, read 7,308,701 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmomga View Post
family moving to CT in June 09, husband has new job at Danbury hospital, 3 school agers 3-8 yrs, looking for safe rental property till we decide where to buy. african american family, do not mind commuting up to 30 miles, very particular about schools, husband MD, I am a Rxcist. I really want honest answers esp. about the schools. How is Danbury now? Jay pls help out, I like ur thread because they seem really honest and thats why I have added I am African American, pls don't hold back any info that can help. I would like some diversity in the school district. Any great agents in town?
JayCT should be able to answer questions about diversity and schools. Unfortunately, real estate agents cannot touch these questions.

I usually provide my clients with the following web sites which allows them to get some basic information for themselves:

Town Profiles – Economic Data in Connecticut - CERC - Fairfield County

Town Profiles – Economic Data in Connecticut - CERC - Litchfield County

Town Profiles – Economic Data in Connecticut - CERC - New Haven County
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Old 02-23-2009, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Danbury CT covering all of Fairfield County
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No real estate can discuss demographics or school informations. However, they can listen to what you are looking for your home & budget for it.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
31,081 posts, read 48,797,446 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmomga View Post
family moving to CT in June 09, husband has new job at Danbury hospital, 3 school agers 3-8 yrs, looking for safe rental property till we decide where to buy. african american family, do not mind commuting up to 30 miles, very particular about schools, husband MD, I am a Rxcist. I really want honest answers esp. about the schools. How is Danbury now? Jay pls help out, I like ur thread because they seem really honest and thats why I have added I am African American, pls don't hold back any info that can help. I would like some diversity in the school district. Any great agents in town?
Thank you Newmomga - Danbury is a small city with typical urban issues. If schools are of major concern you might be wise to look in adjacent communities. While class sizes appear reasonable (around 20 students per clasS), generally Danbury Schools perform under the state averages on the Connecticut Mastery and Connecticut Academic Performance tests. The link below will give you information on the schools in Danbury and other communities in the state.

Strategic School Profiles by District

Strategic School Profiles by School

If schools are important, then consider towns like Ridgefield (considered to be among the best in the State), Bethel, Brookfield and New Fairfield. These are all very nice smaller towns with good schools and a lot of family activities. Ridgefield would be the most expensive since it provides a reasonable commute to Westchester County, New York City and lower Fairfield County. It has a nice small downtown and is a bit more upscale than the others. Bethel is more middle class and New Fairfield and Brookfield are a bit more rural in character, though neither is what I would call truly rural.

I will say that none of these communities are very diverse though. Bethel is the most with approximately 82% of the students being white and only 2.1% being African American. Brookfield is 92.% white with 1% African American. Ridgefield is 93.4% white with 0.6% African American. And New Fairield is 95% white with 0.5% African American. Unfortunately you will not find a more diverse community within 30 minutes of Danbury either. I hope this helps. Jay
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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I can help....I used to live in Danbury but on the Bethel border....but I now live in New Fairfield and hands down-I love NF! I find the people a little more weird and unfriendly in Bethel. (Sorry no offense) And the schools are rated better than Bethel's. Actually Bethel just came off the probation list. I did my research and only wanted Ridgefield or NF-its funny alot of people I met were looking in Ridgfield as well but came to NF because it is more affordable and you don't have to try and keep up with the jones' in NF and the schools are just as great! Yeah Ridgefield has more money but my person belief, where there's money, there's other problems, kwim? NF is also an easy commute to NY if you look more towards the NY border, but I wouldn't suggest the area behind Milltown Rd-a little to "under developed." But anything off of route 37 or 39 is nice. We take Milltown Rd though to get too Route 22 (to North Salem) We live 3 miles from Southeast and its great because I am from NY so I go shopping there to get my fix lol....My son goes to the elementary school and I can't say enough-I love it. The people are just so nice.....yes it doesn't have a walkable town but I have no problem driving over to Ridgefield's town and go walking there Go and visit Consolidated Elementary....
Its a small town but it has everything you need nearby!

To the op in regards to Danbury, it is very diversified and the elementary schools are good. I know Danbury High has alot to offer but not sure how good the schools are. I'd say go and visit, drive around. There are wondeful areas of Danbury....but I did move out because I wasn't sure about the schools....and I really wanted a smaller town....look at all the areas surrounding Danbury......my opinion is that the Danbury school district caters to the non-english speaking children and that just pisses me off...
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:59 PM
 
92 posts, read 187,603 times
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to canadusa: I have lived in New Fairfield for almost 13 years, and it really is a nice town. Lots of community spirit, annual 4th of July parade, Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, etc, etc. Downside, there is no walkable "downtown" area.
Commute to North Salem I would say is about 20 minutes (mileage-wise it's not far at all, but there's a resevoir that's in the way...it makes the travel time longer than you would think -- you have to head west, then back track east, then south )
For commuting to lower fairfield county or Westchester, your best bet is to look on the WEST side of town. Not sure what your budget is, but around the corner from me on Sunswept Drive is a very nice colonial home for sale...it's been on the market for awhile (only reason I know this is I pass it everyday on my way to work ) I think it's priced in the high $500s and has been reduced quite a bit...maybe they're negotiable It's a lovely street/great neighborhood/and a commuter's dream! I live just around the corner and my commute to Stamford is 50 minutes, which is fantastic for New Fairfiled. Other parts of town could easily add an additional 10 minutes.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:11 PM
 
6 posts, read 37,193 times
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Default Bethel Schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by newmomga View Post
family moving to CT in June 09, husband has new job at Danbury hospital, 3 school ages 3-8 yrs, looking for safe rental property till we decide where to buy. african american family, do not mind commuting up to 30 miles, very particular about schools, husband MD, I am a Rxcist. I really want honest answers esp. about the schools. How is Danbury now? Jay pls help out, I like ur thread because they seem really honest and thats why I have added I am African American, pls don't hold back any info that can help. I would like some diversity in the school district. Any great agents in town?
I live in Bethel and my children both are involved in the school system, one in the integrated preschool and one is in Kindergarten. As for diversity, Bethel is not what I would call really diverse, but it is more diverse than most of the other towns are size in the area. All out schools are on the same hill in town - the Educational complex. We are just coming off probation after some renovation at the high school. It is a beautiful new facility, with a lot to offer.

As for diversity, I can give you an example of a class I visited last week. In a group of 19 students (class size is 21 in this particluar 3rd grade class), I think 12 or 13 were white and the rest were a variety of other races - Hispanic, Indian, Asian, African American. I believe the minority of the students is something like 12% and staff is 4%. There are two elementary schools K-3, a 4-5, a 6-8 and the 9-12 high school. Which elementary school your child attends is loosely based on where your name falls in the alphabet and where there ends up being room. The first day of Kin. registration it is pretty much where your last name falls, although I think you can make requests if it is really important to you.

AS for special needs/ gifted services, in case you are interested in either, I have found the special ed services to be good and the staff has been wonderful to work with. As for Gifted programs, those were cut last year during the budget cycle. They do seem to move children based on academic progress as needed though (for instance 2nd graders joining a 3rd grade class for math if they are past 2nd grade math).

In the case of extra curriculars, we have a great number. All third graders are given the opportunity to participate it he strings program, and they learn the recorder in the third grade as well. Specials (music, art, PE, media center) rotate on an every 4th day cycle in the K-3, and they have computer class too, which increases as they progress through the grades. They have middles school, freshman, JV and varsity sports, as well as a variety of arts acticities. This year the Middle School and High School mock trial teams both won the state competition.

I have found the most frustrating thing about Bethel to be the local politics. As a parent who wants our schools to continue to be good, it seems like some of the town selectmen and boards are anti-school, and always want to cut the education budget. Budget season always makes my blood pressure rise, but other than that I think the schools are great.

I hope this helps.
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