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Old 06-04-2010, 09:07 AM
2 posts, read 4,167 times
Reputation: 13


We are moving this summer due to my husband accepting a job in Durham. We do not necessarily want to live in Durham, as most people have advised us against living there because of the schools. I am searching in many areas everywhere from Cary,Apex, Morrisville, Chapel Hill Raleigh, and have even looked at homes in Youngsville, and Wake Forrest, as my husband would be willing to commute within a 30-35 mile range of his job, if it means providing what is best for the family. We are relocating from Fayetteville, but we have only been in NC for about a year. Other than many trips to the Raleigh/Cary/Durham area Primarily to the malls,resturants etc, I'm not at all familiar with other aspects of living in this area. I am not familiar with the Wake County schools at all, and do not currently know anyone who does. Our move to Fayetteville was helped greatly by colleagues of my husband by recommending schools to avoid, and the ones to "aim" for. Unfortunately I don't have that resource this time since my husband had not started this new job and we will be not moving before he does. We have 5 kids, and this coming school year we will have 2 in High School, (Junior & Freshman) 1 in Middle School(8th grade) and 2 in Elementary (4th grade, and 2nd grade). I know that no school is perfect, and from experience we realize that not every school will fit every child but we are primarily looking for good advice on schools that present a positive atmosphere, and solid education and ones to avoid.

We will be renting for the first year until we are more familiar with the area and certain where we want to purchase our home, since this job is one my husband truly hopes to retire from. My concerns are finding the right schools from the beginning so that we do not have to relocate the kids yet again, especially since we have one so close to graduation.

I am willing to live in a home that may not have everything we want, but what we need, if it means our kids are getting the best education in a safe environment. I have used resources like education.com, schooldigger.com etc but it's not really helpful since most all of the schools have failed their AYP. From experience with moves in the past, I know that while the AYP is important, it does not necessarily give the whole picture of a school.

I have read some of the other posts on this forum and have gained some insight into certain towns. I am hoping to narrow down our search with the help of all of you that reply.

Also any advice on real estate or property management companies currently listing homes in the are would GREATLY appreciated!!
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:34 AM
Location: NC
4,532 posts, read 8,880,970 times
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I am not sure what you've heard about Durham but I worked there for yrs and have lots of friends there. I think it's a great place! Their indy restaurants can't be beat. The city is an eclectic mix of people, races, nationalities. Durham has changed quite a bit over the years, it's well worth looking at.
However, if you are against living there, you should check out NW Raleigh, there are lots of subdivisions there that are roughly 20mins from Downtown Durham. Consider Harrington Grove, Dominion Park, Westlake? And then there is Brier Creek. If he will work close to downtown Durham you could live in Wake Forest or N. Raleigh near hwy 98 so that he can go into Durham that way and avoid I-40, I-540.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:07 AM
2 posts, read 4,167 times
Reputation: 13
I should have worded my initial introduction and request differently and truly did not mean any offense to Durham residents.
Thank you for your reply, and I would love the hear of the areas you/your friends enjoy living and the schools there and your opinion on both. I have only visited the area for shopping briefly, and often find it hard to tell when i am one town or another so I certainly not ruling it out based on a personal experience.

I would be open to Durham as far as living, if i could find the right fit for us. I was leery of this because it was just one of the only places when we talk about moving and they assume it will be Durham (since the job is there)that people have commented negatively and advised us to search elsewhere based on schools. This coming from people who have lived in NC for sometime, including the teachers here saying that to my kids, which really gets them worried. The statement about not preferring Durham was based on the only word of mouth we have received about moving,and this is why i find this forum such a wealth of information.

Honestly, We are open to moving wherever offers the best schools in a safe environment, and if that fit is in Durham, I'm not against it. I am hoping to rule out areas that we should avoid and suggestions based on personal experience with the schools of ones that offer(ed) a great experience for your kids.

I truly look forward to getting to know all areas in and around the triangle better,exploring all the off the beaten path restaurants, and all the area has to offer in entertainment, for not only the family but for Date nights with just us, as well . We are looking to make NC our home, and just want to make this a positive experience for the whole family.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:23 AM
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Hi--we live in Morrisville, have been here 2 years, and LOVE it. Really love it! All the schools in "the 60" (zip 27560, lol) are solid as far as I can tell--my kids are at Carpenter and it's very good--the other elementaries that kids in the town go to--Cedar Fork, Morrisville, Alston Ridge, Green Hope--are all top notch. High schools are Green Hope and Panther Creek, both excellent schools. The middle school situation is trickier, as kids in this area don't seem to be assigned according to any rhyme or reason. Wherever you choose, make sure you find out which middle school you'll be assigned to. East Cary has a great rep but it's a long commute. Davis Drive is good and I'd aim for there or Mills Park.

We have year round schools here for elementary and middle, and with you having 2 in high school that might not be your first choice. There ARE traditional calendar options for everyone, and in some cases they are your base school. You can look over in West Cary to the neighborhoods that are zoned for Mills Park Elementary and Middle--I think those kids mostly feed into Panther Creek but don't take my word for it!

Here's an example--my kids go to Carpenter (year round) and our middle school assignment is East Cary (year round). The high school, as all high schools are, is traditional (Panther Creek). My eldest goes to middle school in 2011, so I'm thinking we'll request our traditional option (Green Hope, not even a mile from Carpenter) for our younger child and send my elder to traditional middle school just b/c I'm a little weary of the year round situation and would like to just make the switch now when there's a natural change being made anyway.

School assignments CAN and DO change, as the area is rapidly growing, and there aren't really immune areas. BUt I feel like, living in Morrisville, every option is a good one.

Try checking out greatschools.net if you haven't already.

I don't know what your budget is for renting, but I looked on realtor.com (am I allowed to post that?) and found a very pretty 5 bedroom, 3300sf house renting for $2295 in a good neighborhood (Downing Glen) with great schools: Cedar Fork, West Cary, and Panther Creek. For $2495 there's a 6 bedroom place in Weldon Ridge that has Mills Park elementary, Mills Park middle, and Panther Creek schools. Hope that helps

Last edited by annesg; 06-04-2010 at 10:30 AM.. Reason: add
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:34 AM
Location: NC
4,532 posts, read 8,880,970 times
Reputation: 4754
It's ok, I think your first post was clear and didn't come across as offensive. You did say based on what you'd heard about Durham, nothing wrong with that.

The problem with many people who are negative about Durham is that they've never taken time to visit, get to know the city, or live there. It is an up and coming city with many lovely areas and nice neighborhoods. For many people, their opinion of Durham is based on old information. Not firsthand, therefore not accurate. You should talk with some current Durham residents...hopefully some will see your post and respond.

Some of the things people bring up about Durham are:

Durham's crime rate has always been higher than Raleigh's, but the majority of the crimes occur in neighborhood's where the majority of people would have no reason to go to anyhow. Raleigh also has some similar areas but I think maybe less of them?

Years ago Durham had issues with their school board, many people from Raleigh looked down on them for this, or joked about it. Now it's Raleigh's turn to be laughed at.

As for schools, you should post a specific new post about this asking for Durham residents to reply. Us folks in Raleigh cannot tell you what there schools are like as we are Wake County.

Another suggestion so that folks can help you, give a price range and neighborhood specs for the type of house you'd like, and share what you are looking for in a school and if it's k-5, MS etc...
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:16 AM
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Carolinacrystal, I grew up in Fayetteville. I can assure you that any schools you choose in the triangle are likely to be a step up from Cumberland County schools. I went to one of the best high schools in town at the time and the year before I started a student was stabbed to death in the halls. I wouldn't live in Fayetteville again. I still have friends and family there, but the Triangle is home in NC for me and really is quite different from Cumberland County. There are similarities, of course, but to me the triangle has all of the good parts and little of the bad.

I think living in Durham might be a good fit for you, maybe SW Durham, near Southpoint mall. Creekside elementary is a pretty new school and supposed to be very nice. You might dig around on here and see if you can find some old threads with more info. Here's one: https://www.city-data.com/forum/ralei...c-schools.html . I know several families with elementary aged kids in Durham and they're all very happy. I have an acquaintance who moved from Chapel Hill to Durham so her child could attend Durham's School of the Arts for high school. I think the rumors that you should stay away from Durham schools are mainly rumors. I don't actually know anyone who has had a child in Durham schools who is unhappy with them. I'm sure there are some because there always are some, but I don't personally know any and I do know a lot of families in Durham.

Wake County schools are in flux right now with redistricting and a new school board. I can't tell you too much more than that, because I'm not in that corner of the triangle but, again, if you search you'll probably find more info than you wanted to.

Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools are excellent and the real estate prices reflect that fact. Many people move to CH/C specifically for the schools. CH/C schools excel in serving the gifted population and are very competitive, especially in high school. The main complaint I hear about CH/C schools is that kids who are "just" average tend to fall through the cracks. Special needs kids are well served and bright and gifted kids are well served, but average kids can get lost in the shuffle. That said, I believe over 90% of CH/C kids take the SAT and go on to college, so many of those "average" kids must be doing pretty well, too.

Apex might be a good fit for you also. It's a family-oriented town and would be a pretty short commute to Durham, depending on where your husband's job is.


P.S. Wanted to add: if you could tell us your idea of "good schools" that might help, too. Do you want a school, like many in the CH/C district that excel in challenging bright and gifted kids? Do you want a school that has great sports teams? Do you want a school that has many resources for special needs kids? Do you want a school that emphasizes project-based learning or volunteerism? Year-round? Traditional calendar? More specifics can help us narrow it down to a good fit for your family

Last edited by panchodog; 06-04-2010 at 11:27 AM..
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:34 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
10,728 posts, read 22,853,675 times
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Chapel Hill schools are known to be the best in the state, but Chapel Hill is also the most expensive place in the Triangle (on average) to live. As RaleighLass says, parts of Durham are "subpar" and that has given the whole city a bad rep (more accurately, there used to be more "bad parts" than there are now, but the city as a whole suffers.

Obviously, much of Durham is fine, with good schools, or people wouldn't be moving there to the degree they are. I know that Jordan high school, for example, has always had a good reputation. Southern and Hillside are the ones to avoid. I can't speak for middle/elementary schools, but one of those sites that rates schools should have the "scores". There is also Durham School of the Arts, which is a public school though competitive to get into.

With 5 kids at all different ages, I think there are likely to be some "issues" with 1 or 2 of them at some point no matter where you live, in the Triangle. But Wake county is the place where the reassignment has been such a hot issue and continues to be so.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:06 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,499 posts, read 54,175,303 times
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we moved to Chapel Hill from our 25-30 year old home near Atlanta. DH only has to be close to airport for his work as he travels 2 out of 4 weeks. Our main reason on picking Chapel Hill was for the schools. We bought in 27516 which has McDoulge elementary and the middle school right next door.

I don't think you will have trouble finding a house to rent with that many kids cause alot of people move away but keep their homes for rent. Lots of management companies too.

Wake County-include raleigh and Cary is in great flux with year round calendar. with 5 kids I don't think I would want to have some on tradition and others year round. alot of headaches.

Last edited by no kudzu; 06-04-2010 at 12:13 PM.. Reason: add a thought
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:09 AM
22 posts, read 52,060 times
Reputation: 17
We have been been contemplating a move to the area with schools being our primary concern. After some research, we decided that Chapel Hill is probably the right place for school stability and most similar to what we have in NJ. The downside of that decision is that the housing prices/taxes are also very similar to what we have in NJ! We considered Wake County schools, but with four children and dealing with the upheaval of a move, we really wanted a school system that wouldn't be in flux. However, we are going to rent for at least a year to make sure it's the right place for us. Good luck with your decision. We just accepted job offers yesterday so we will be in Chapel Hill by the time school starts. Time to pack!!!!
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