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Old 02-27-2013, 08:50 AM
 
6 posts, read 7,014 times
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We (myself, my husband and my 2 boys ages 9 and 10, soon to be 10 and 11) will be relocating to the area for my husband's job. I am a stay at home mom and we are relocating from the southwest suburban Chicago area.
1. Schools and neighborhood are the most important things influencing our choice.
(5th and 6th grade; so middle and high schools are a little more important than elementary)
2. We'd like to stay within a 20-30 minute commute of the Metrodome area of Minneapolis.
3. Convenient to shopping and good outdoor amenities for hiking, biking and children's activities
4. Family friendly area where we can easily make new friends
5. Our housing budget is about 350-400 - detached single family preference

From the research I've done so far, Wayzata, Edina and Lakeville school districts seem to be the best choices. I'm unsure about other areas because some of the the districts don't seem as strong as individual schools within the district. The reason this is concerning is that should we choose a home for a school in a district with weaker schools, how likely is it that we would be redistricted?

What areas have I missed that would be good to look into, and are certain neighborhoods within those areas better than others? Are there negatives to the areas that I've been focusing on of which I was unaware?

Thank you for reading and offering feedback. I really appreciate all of the responses because they will help make this easier and less stressful for us.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:56 AM
 
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Mahtomedi would be my first pick. Easy commute to the Metrodome area. Excellent schools, beautiful area. Smaller schools/classes, ability to participate in sports/activities in high school.

Edina is going to stretch your budget, Eden Prairie has HUGE schools if that is a concern (same with Wayzata) so your kids' ability to participate in sports/activities is very limited. Lakeville will NOT be an easy commute--plan 45 minutes without snow or an accident. Also, participating in activities in Lakeville is VERY expensive- $350+/season to over $1000/season for football/hockey, etc. so factor that into costs in that area.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:18 AM
 
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Lakeville is way out there. Unless you have a burning love for the area, I wouldn't bother. Edina would be within commuting limits and has some houses in your budget, but your money will go farther elsewhere.

What kind of house or neighborhood do you like? For example, do you like historic homes? Post-war ramblers? Brand-new construction? Do you want sidewalks? Do you prefer modern suburbia, or do you like older, established neighborhoods? The more specific about your preferences, the better we can help you.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:52 PM
 
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I'd look at the Mounds View district (more-or-less the cities of Mounds View, New Brighton, Arden Hills, Shoreview, North Oaks). Easier commute to Metrodome than any other areas mentioned. Lots of parks/trails. There are two high schools. Mounds View Senior High tends to get better test score (probably the highest in the state), but Irondale is also strong.

Biggest downside for you is maybe the shopping. Although you are probably only going to be 10 minutes to either Rosedale Mall or Maplewood Mall. A Target/Walmart and grocery store will be closer than that. If you are looking for high-end shopping you'd probably be better off in the south metro.

For commute you get the following times to the Metrodome according to google:
Wayzata High School: 27 minutes
Eden Prairie High School: 26 minutes
Lakeville North: 31 minutes
Lakeville South: 31 minutes
Mahtomedi: 26 minutes
Mounds View High: 15 minutes
Irondale High: 16 minutes
Edina High School: 18 minutes
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:20 PM
 
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Mounds View would be another good choice!
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Hennepin County, Minnesota
59 posts, read 98,602 times
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Hi Cielei,

I love your interest in Minnesota and am glad you're coming here! Congrats to your husband on his new job! What's the new opportunity that brings you four to Minnesota? I lived in Schaumburg for seven years. Where have you been living?

I grew up in Wayzata/Maple Grove area and the Western Suburbs and went to those public schools and was very involved in sports as a kid. Yes, it can be expensive to do some of the sports, but it's that way in most suburban communities. The important thing is finding the great education. You might also want to look at Hopkins and Minnetonka - their school districts are in the Top 10 regionally. So are the school districts you're already looking at.

You say you want to live 20-30 minutes from the Metrodome, and you're going to get that anywhere in the 694-494 ring, although I agree that Lakeville will be a bit longer drive, depending on your husband's driving time in the morning and at the end of the day.

You're going to find family friendly activities in the suburbs as well as the cities themselves - there are parks everywhere, and a lot of great museums for families in Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you're a big museum-going family you might want to factor in that both the science museum and the children's museum are in St. Paul, so living in a suburb like Mahtomedi on the East side of the Twin Cities would probably mean you'd go there more often than if you lived in Minnetonka/Wayzata, all the way on the West Side. That said, Minneapolis has a lot of great art museums (Walker, Minneapolis Institute of Art), and other great activities.

I'm sure you've already checked this out, but if not, take a look at Minnesota State Parks: Minnesota DNR, which has all our State Parks, so you can see which are close drives to the areas you're looking at. There are a ton of areas to go hiking, canoeing, etc, around the Twin Cities, with both long & short drives, so you'll have a lot of opportunities there.

Hope that's helpful!

All my best,

Michael
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:38 PM
 
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Thank you for all of the responses. I'll take a look at some of the other school districts mentioned. Looking for homes will actually be my first visit to the area; so, I don't have an ingrained love for any area in particular at this point. I have looked at google commute times whenever i have been interested in a home. I wouldn't say that we are overly particular about the house itself because a well done old or older smaller home can be just as charming and beautiful, if not more so, than a huge new construction home. Right now, we walk to school and have a great neighborhood where almost everyone is socially active. We have block parties every summer and have frequent get togethers with smaller groups as well as parties on a pretty regular basis. Ideally, we would love to find someplace where we could find neighbors who could become almost like extended family. I'm not sure if that clears up specifics of what we are looking for, but it's the best way I can think of to articulate our thoughts. Our discussions about what we would like to have haven't been defined in terms of lot size or square footage. Schools and a good neighborhood for the boys to make friends is really at the top of our list. I do love to cook and the kitchen is important to me. Also considering the climate, a 2 car garage at least is also probably a must have for us.

Michael, we are moving from the Naperville area. My husband is in sales (title changes with the ever evolving "structure") and is being transferred to the Target account with the same company. I'm a carolina girl, and we just keep getting farther and farther from the south! Everything that I have heard about the area is encouraging in that it has all been extremely positive.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:19 PM
 
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Check out SW Minneapolis, in the Southwest High School attendance zone. It sounds like it might be a good match. Great schools, very safe, lots of kids, friendly neighbors and lots of opportunities to meet others. Linden Hills is my favorite SW Minneapolis neighborhood, although it IS expensive. I've seen some very nice houses in your price range, though. In the same general area is the Fulton neighborhood. You can spend your summer days walking to the Fulton Farmers Market, catching a concert at the Lake Harriet bandshell or biking around the lake, you can volunteer at your kids' schools and meet tons of other SAHMs who also live in the neighborhood, etc. I don't think you can beat Fulton or Linden Hills for family-friendliness. You'll get more for your money elsewhere (you pay for location in those neighborhoods), but you have a decent budget and you may well find that the location premium is worth it! You won't get a McMansion (at least not for less than $400k), but you can get a very nice, charming historic home on a tree-lined block within walking distance to the lake and walking or biking to one of the state's best high schools.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:36 PM
 
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Thank you for that suggestion - I'll take a closer look there too. If its where I am thinking, some of those homes were really cute. One more quick question about schools. My older son has special needs - he is high functioning, and we would like him to be mainstreamed as much as possible like he is now. Is there a better school or district in regards to special education? My younger son is extremely bright; so we obviously want to find the right balance and place for both of them to flourish.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
126 posts, read 228,516 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cielei View Post
Thank you for that suggestion - I'll take a closer look there too. If its where I am thinking, some of those homes were really cute. One more quick question about schools. My older son has special needs - he is high functioning, and we would like him to be mainstreamed as much as possible like he is now. Is there a better school or district in regards to special education? My younger son is extremely bright; so we obviously want to find the right balance and place for both of them to flourish.
For your older son, you might want to contact the Pacer Center to get their recommendations for school districts. Pacer is really great to work with, and offer a wide variety of programs for parents of children with special needs and even will have advocates available to attend IEP meetings and such with you if any issues arise. My older son is high functioning but he is now 21, so I would hesitate to give you recommendations at this point.
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