Report: Carroll County a 'School District People Flock To'

A report from the real estate site Trulia suggests that good schools are a motivating factor for people to move to Carroll County.

In Carroll County, we know the school system is strong. A national study of the role schools play in real estate trends reveals that perhaps those outside of Carroll County know how good our schools are, too.

A study conducted by real estate site Trulia ranks at the top of the list, alongside Calvert County, as a "school district people flock to" in Maryland.

"A great school system is just as important to the economic health of any community as anything else you can name," Superintendent Stephen Guthrie told Patch.  "When families have to relocate, the quality of the school is a major decision factor they use to help them determine where they will reside." 

Did schools weigh in on your decision to move to Carroll County? Tell us in comments.

The study analyzed Census data that, according to Trulia, shows that 57 percent of households where the oldest child is between five and nine-years-old said they moved somewhere in the previous five years. Factors that families take into consideration when deciding where to move include affordability, more space, and good schools, according to the report.

To figure out which school districts are the “most attractive”–in the sense that they attract families with school-age kids—Trulia looked at 2010 Census numbers to determine the number of elementary school kids (ages 5 to 9) and the number of preschoolers (ages 0 to 4) living in every school district in the U.S.

This data allows Trulia to determine if families with children reaching school age are moving into or out of an area. The higher the ratio (of elementary aged kids to preschool aged kids), the more "attractive" the school district is, according to the study.

Carroll County and Calvert County both scored a 1.27, next on the list is Queen Anne's County with a score of 1.19. Howard County comes in third at 1.18.

Trulia's report suggests that attractive school districts are often accompanied by affordable housing and open space.

"In addition to good schools, attractive school districts tend to have two other things going for them as well: (1) housing affordability–that is, lower price per square foot, and (2) lower population density, which means bigger houses and more parks, yards or other outdoor spaces," Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko said in a blog post.

Guthrie noted that the importance of good schools has value beyond making children smart.

"Noted economist Anirban Basu ... even noted this fact in his presentation to the last March," Guthrie said.  "At that meeting, he stated that the best investment local governments can make to protect their future is to maintain the best schools possible."

In Maryland, the report ranks Baltimore City schools at the bottom of the list with a .86 and Prince George's and Dorchester schools just above that with a .93.

"I know that our local government is in the process of reviewing local ordinances to spur growth," Guthrie said.  "Keeping our school system a quality one must continue as part of that same effort.”

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JoeEldersburg September 01, 2012 at 04:07 PM
When we moved here in 1999 the schools were overcrowded and the infrastructure was failing. Our government was controlled by development interests. Today the schools are better, but the standards are very low, like the funding per pupil. Carroll still offers little if any accelerated learning programs like gifted & talented or IB. We don't even host the ACT exam and our ratings on the Post's Challenge Index are falling. We're not a top 20 school system using DC metro standards. Our technology is second rate and the recreational amenities are atrocious. We moved here mostly because it was $100,000 cheaper than Howard Co., but as they say, you get what you pay for. If I got to do it over, I would choose Howard over Carroll across the board.
Ed September 04, 2012 at 09:40 AM
One problem, Joe. Carroll is not in the DC metro area.
JoeEldersburg September 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Ed, this is true enough technically, however we have a number of folks who commute to the Washington area suburbs daily for work and many people are transplants from neighboring counties, which are included in the Post's Challenge Index. Both Liberty & Century made the list of the top 200 schools in the area in 2011, but not in 2012. No other Carroll County school made the list. In fairness, the Washington metro area is very likely the top performing region in the country and we regularly compete for both residents and teachers with other DC metro counties. We are lucky to be included in the index, as it tells us how we are doing against the top performing schools and school systems. It's likely better to be compared to a top performing system and be found lacking, than be compared to say Baltimore, which is a much poorer performing on average than DC. One area we don't compare favorably with DC or Baltimore is funding per pupil, where we are almost at the bottom. While funding doesn't correlate 100% with success, it's silly to expect us to compete effectively with other systems when we are consistently outspent. One glaring area where we've actually outspent all the other state school systems is in building a HS (MVHS was over $70 million) without state funding...we are the only county in more than a decade to do something this stupid and now all our kids are paying the price for this lack of fiscal discipline.
Ed September 12, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Yeah Joe, but I think Baltimore City and PG county are at or near the top in per pupil funding in Maryland. How's that working out? I don't think that's a good measure. I'm more interested in outcomes.


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