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Old 03-17-2014, 08:09 PM
 
148 posts, read 229,144 times
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The issue with the school districts, is that, due to the integration of the Wilmington kids into suburban schools, intelligence is a liability.

They have tried to fix this by "phasing" the two apart from each other, but it still causes the "rap" culture to pervade. In other words, your kid could feel "not cool" by attaining the honor roll. In Philadelphia, for example, it has gotten bad enough that the studious Asian children have been targeted, harassed, and even assaulted.

For this reason, the exchange of housing price and lack of taxes are invested into private/Catholic schools.

In public school, the kids run the school. In Catholic school, in my example, the faculty ran the students.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:12 PM
 
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
996 posts, read 856,573 times
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If you decide to look at houses in Pennsylvania, I strongly recommend that you restrict your search to the Unionville/Chadds Ford and Garnet Valley School Districts. Kennett and Avon Grove are not in the same league. Vis a vis diversity, here's the list of this year's National Merit Finalists at Unionville High School (the only HS in the district): http://bit.ly/1kYVgXL

The three top tier private schools in Wilmington are Tower Hill, Tatnall, and Wilmington Friends. All will cost you a lot more than the difference in real estate tax. Here's a much broader overview: http://bit.ly/1cTtaud

Although PA has much higher real estate taxes, the income tax is lower. In Delaware, the more you earn the more you pay. For a couple with income over $60,000, it's 6.75% plus $2,943.50. In PA it's a flat 3.07% tax. Tax-free shopping is promoted as a Delaware advantage, but PA's 6% sales tax is not levied on clothes, shoes, and most groceries. So it's not as big a difference as it might sound.

There are loads of people living in Chester County or Delaware County, PA, and commuting to Wilmington. We did it for 25 years before retiring. Most locations in Wilmington are less than 30 minutes, even at "rush hour" which will be much less congested than you are used to.

One advantage to Chester County just across the state line for your future career plans is that there are significant numbers of pharma/biotech companies a half hour north. So your spouse might commute 20-30 min. south while you head 20-30 min. north once you're back in the corporate world.

Hope you enjoy your new home.

Last edited by Pocopsonite; 03-17-2014 at 11:09 PM.. Reason: Add info
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
4,726 posts, read 10,292,961 times
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It would be incorrect to assume that most parents in northern Delaware send their children to private/Catholic/or Charter schools, as most cannot afford to do so, or in the case of the most prestigious charter schools (Wilmington Charter, and Cab Calloway Academy of the Arts), these are highly competitive and relatively few applicants will be admitted (applicants far outstrip available places). Basically, it is the upper middle/professional class who opt out of regular public education for their children, whilst financially stable Catholic middle class parents tend to send their kids to Catholic schools. There are also a couple of "Christian" schools catering for the protestant-evangelical set (Wilmington Christian is actually out in Hockessin). This leaves the ordinary public schools with kids whose parents can't afford a private education, don't care to send their children to a church-related school, or whose kids can't readily get into one of the prestigious and well-run charters. That's a wide swath of the population, obviously. It's also the case that many parents will feel comfortable with the elementary school that is available, even though the middle and high schools might be seen as more problematic. Some children will thus attend public elementary, followed by one of the alternative options for secondary education.

Despite all this, it should be noted that some of the suburban schools have good physical facilities, including the Dupont High and Middle schools (Red Clay school district).

I think this also calls for a corrective comment on the City of Wilmington. It should be emphasised that the City is not one big slum. The area and population of the actual City of Wilmington are quite small. Surprisingly, the City has not annexed any contiguous territory since shortly after the Civil War. In the long run, this has left the City with a restricted tax base, a political monoculture, and a large proportion of impoverished citizens. However, there are some nice areas within the City limits, including some parts north of I-95 along Pennsylvania Avenue (which becomes Kennett Pike/Rt 52), and a downtown that includes worthwhile restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as the riverfront area with its restaurants and cultural resources. The crime - almost entirely poor-on-poor, fomented by gang bangers - is truly an enormous shame, but is unlikely to touch the lives of those living in the surrounding suburbs or in the "good" parts of the City.
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Old 03-19-2014, 04:08 PM
 
8 posts, read 20,796 times
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Freesia Breeze and Road_Warrior, thank you for explaining the problems facing DE public schools. Indeed, such issues have never occurred to me after living in SF suburb for so many years.

Pocopsonite, earlier I almost decided to drop the PA side but changed my mind after reading your post. The higher potential for me finding a job in PA makes this option very attractive. I need to research a bit more about the "higher taxes" in PA.

Doctorjoe, I just saw that private schools pop up much more frequently on DE forum than on CA forum. But you are right, it doesn't mean MOST DE parents send their kids to private schools.
I have several additional questions after reading all the replies.

- I am confused about the tax difference between PA and DE. If my husband works in DE, I believe that he has to pay income tax at DE rate of 6.75% on his salary no matter where we live, right? Why the property tax varies so much between the two states? I can understand if PA taxes are doubled, for example, but Delborn mentioned that the difference could be as high as 4 folds depending on the age of the property, how could this be?

- We will go with private school if we end up buying a house in Greenville. Any recommendation for a good elementary school in that area? Somewhere more friendly towards students from upper middle class/professionals families. Some degree of diversity is a plus. For religious reasons, we will not consider Catholic schools.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions. Your hospitality makes me feel so welcomed to the neighborhood.
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Old 03-19-2014, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
4,726 posts, read 10,292,961 times
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If you buy in Greenville, Tatnall would be closest, but of private schools Wilmington Friends probably offers the greatest diversity, both in student body and in terms of the general values stemming from its Quaker history.
Tower Hill is generally viewed as the snootiest but least serious amongst the private schools.
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
996 posts, read 856,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wg4dd View Post

- I am confused about the tax difference between PA and DE. If my husband works in DE, I believe that he has to pay income tax at DE rate of 6.75% on his salary no matter where we live, right? Why the property tax varies so much between the two states? I can understand if PA taxes are doubled, for example, but Delborn mentioned that the difference could be as high as 4 folds depending on the age of the property, how could this be?

We live in Pennsylvania and my husband worked in Delaware for 22 years after we moved here.

Unless something has changed, there is an interesting wrinkle in paying income tax to Delaware: It is pro-rated based on the number of days you're actually working IN DELAWARE. My husband travelled a lot, and most years we paid DE income tax on less than half of his salary.

There's also some kind of reciprocal agreement with PA to ensure you don't pay double, but I can't remember the details. Our accountant knew how to deal with it for maximum benefit to us.

Property tax is high here partly because income tax is low. In the Unionville/Chadds Ford School District we're supporting a school district far superior to anything in Delaware, and among the top five in the entire state. Our teachers make a whole lot more than Delaware teachers. So the very best teachers can be recruited and retained. I am very proud of our school district and we don't even have any kids!

If you haven't yet come across it, this is a helpful article about living in Delaware. You'll find useful info about the areas you're considering: Extended Feature: Best Places to Live in Delaware - Delaware Today - March 2014 - Delaware
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:13 PM
 
46 posts, read 117,595 times
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There is a Delaware Chinese American Association you could contact for more information pertinent to your preferences and needs.

DCAA - Delaware Chinese American Assoication

And a Chinese American Community Center in Hockessin you can join.

Welcome to CACC

https://www.facebook.com/CACCdelaware

Hope this helps
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:24 PM
 
8 posts, read 20,796 times
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doctorjef, Pocopsonite and Freesia Breeze, thank you very much for the quick reply. The information and links are helpful. I even found out that Hockessin has a small weekend school teaches kids Chinese!

We will spend a week in DE around early - mid April. Now I have a much better idea about what we are looking for in each neighborhood. I will give you an update after our trip.

Thanks again for everyone's inputs and suggestions!
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:16 PM
 
59 posts, read 87,409 times
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I sent you a PM as well. The Estates at Chadds Ford is definitely worth looking at if you are home shopping. Large Asian population with numerous kids attending Chinese school in the evenings/weekends. The schools are fantastic and I know that hardly anyone sends their kids to private schools when they are living in the Unionville/Chadds Ford district. Taxes are higher than DE but the schools are well worth it, and you can send as many kids as you want to school with no tuition bills! Many in the community commute to Wilmington for finance jobs and the others commute to Astra-Zenica or about 25-30 min north to several pharma options.

Estates at Chadds Ford should be looked at!
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:27 PM
 
79 posts, read 94,793 times
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My husband (43) and I (34) will relocate to DE in June from NY. We have a 10 month old boy. We did some house hunting mid- March. Looking at 800k to 1.2m houses in Greenville and Westover hill. None of the houses we saw meet our needs, 3500sqft, high-quality single family house. Is our budge too low?

We plan to send our son to Tower Hill nursery school starting 3 yr old. Does anyone know a good day care near Greenville? We will be happy to make some new friends in DE,too.
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