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Old 12-01-2010, 05:27 AM
 
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My husband is accepting an offer at the company located in Wilmington, DE. We now have to plan our move. We have two kids, so the schools, safety and conditions are important. We know nothing about DE, but are familiar a bit with the northern MD (Bel Air, Fallston, etc.) So one of the options we're looking at is living there and commuting to Wilmington. Another is living somewhere in DE. We now live in a very metro area and are used to commuting by mass transportation. My husband doesn't like driving. So here goes the first question: 1. What are the mass transportation commuter options around Wilmington, DE from the northern MD area w/good schools (Bel Air, etc.)? I found Amtrak's Northeast Regional train, but that gets too expensive to commute daily. Are there any other options? 2. What are the areas with good schools in DE? Also, what are the rent options there? We plan to rent for awhile until we know the area we want to settle down in. That's it for now, but I'm sure we'll have many more questions to come! Thank you.
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:55 AM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
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I don't think you'll find public transport in DE very satisfactory, apart from the Amtrak routes between Wilmington and Newark DE and places out of state; also the SEPTA routes that cover the same north DE territory up to Philly and points in between. There are some bus routes but those are pretty limited. The suburbs north of the City of Wilmington are very nice and the area is small, so a drive into the City takes anywhere from 10 mins to 20 mins max. People on this forum will try to scare you about public education and about traffic. As far as the latter, as long as you stay of I-95 it's not bad. "Wilmington" is mostly suburban; the actual area encompassed by the city limits is tiny. As far as school districts, Red Clay generally has a good reputation. It covers the upscale suburbs of Westover Hills, Westhaven and West Park, as well as Greenville. Not having kids I'm not sure what other suburban areas north of Wilmington proper are part of the district. The Brandywine school district comes in for more negative comment, but I know a lot of young adults who went through the Brandywine district and went on to university with no problems and no weirdness. People on this forum will point out that many folks here send their kids to private schools, of which there are a surprisingly large number for a place of this size. Many of these are truly excellent schools and have commensurately high tuition fees. As to crime, the suburbs are mostly very safe. Rental properties may be your most difficult situation. I see some houses for rent advertised in the paper, including ones in North Wilmington/Brandywine Hundred. A good complex to rent a sizeable apartment or up to a 3 bedrm townhouse unit is Greenville Place Apartments, which is located in the very upscale burb of Greenville. Most of this complex is quite old and isn't terribly impressive in terms of its exterior appearance. However, I have known professional persons who lived there, all of whom expressed favourable opinions about it. That would put you in the Red Clay school district, a ten minute drive into the centre of downtown Wilmington (assuming your husband's job is actually in the downtown City of Wilmington -- if you are using "Wilmington" loosely it could well be in the burbs) and very conveniently located to a very fine small local supermarket, drug store, dry cleaners, some restaurants and some upscale shopping (mostly ladies') within walking distance or within a 5 min. drive -- almost more trouble than worth to take the car out.

I really advise not letting people here scare you about Delaware in general and greater Wilmington in particular. BTW, if you end up buying here your taxes will be much lower than in MD -- much lower property taxes, lower income tax I believe, and no sales tax in DE.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:11 AM
 
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doctorjef, I am very impressed and thankful for your thorough response. I'm reading about what you wrote and taking it all in. From the first glance, Greenville Place Apartments sounds like a very attractive option. Is there a place to look up the DE zoning and the exact schools that this complex falls into?
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:25 AM
 
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Never mind, I think I found it. It appears that the elementary (Brandywine Springs School) is good but the middle/high (A.I. duPont) are weak. http://www.doe.k12.de.us/schoollocator/FeederSchoolSearch.aspx

Any more info on the DE schools or links to similar topics would be much appreciated!
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:24 AM
 
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The critical concerns for the OP could be 1. the ages (grades) in which her children are and 2. the feeder pattern for those grades in any given school district in the short run (since OP is going to rent for a short period -may be a year or two)

As to choosing to live in DE or MD it is almost a no-brainer that DE shold be the choice - financially, commutewise and otherwise.

Another important point is the zip code where the OP's DH would be employed as Drjeff mentioned (e.g. Wilmington 19808 is nowhere near wilmington proper)
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:59 AM
 
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armx, thank you. The kids are young, we're looking at 4-5 more years of preschool and elementary. So for the short-term, a good rental in the DE area w/strong elementary is definitely an option.

I'll ask my husband for the zipcode.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
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The zip for the Greenville area, BTW, is 19807. That also covers Westover Hills, West Haven and West Park, which are sometimes lumped in with Greenville.

I can't comment on the academics of Dupont HS and Middle schools but I can say they have very nice facilities and campuses. Given the posh area of town it would surprise me that they were very weak, even though that isn't an immediate concern for the OP. I'd want to find out more about their range of course offerings and presence of accelerated/advanced/honours classes before condemning them academically. One problem, however, may be that many of the most advantaged students end up going to posh private schools and thus rob the Greenville area HS and Middle schools of academic talent.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:27 AM
 
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His job is at 19801, seems like a very doable commute.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
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He's downtown, then. That would be literally a straight shot down Kennett Pike/Rt 52/Pennsylvania Ave (three names for exactly the same road) from Greenville Place Apts, should you rent there. Ten minutes.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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Looks very promising! (fingers crossed)
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