Dallas is a world-class city, loaded with cultural opportunities, entertainment and nightlife. Like any city, though, the most important aspect of Dallas living isn’t how you spend your downtime, but how your family fares in day-to-day life.
If you have children, schools can be an important factor in where you choose to live. Dallas has a lot of top-class school districts to choose from. If you haven’t yet moved and are still looking for a place to live in Dallas, read on to learn more about the city’s school districts.
The top-rated school district in the Dallas area lies just north of the city in Highland Park. Consisting of four elementary schools, one intermediate school, one middle school and one high school, the district serves nearly 7,000 students from Highland Park, University Park and North Dallas. Recognized by the Texas Education Agency for high performance in all areas, Highland Park students score above average on the ACT and SAT.
The district is home to some of the top-rated schools as ranked by parents on Great Schools, including Armstrong Elementary and John S. Bradfield Elementary.
The Lovejoy Independent School District was the only district aside from Highland Park to achieve exemplary ratings from the Texas Education Agency in all areas for the 2010-2011 school year, according to RE/MAX realtor Dave Downs. Serving students from Fairview and surrounding areas, Lovejoy is located in Collin County, 25 miles north of the city. Consisting of three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school, the district serves over 3,400 area students.
There are more than 200 public schools in the Dallas Independent School District, and success rates vary greatly among specific schools. Following are two of the district’s best schools:
The Dallas Environmental Science Academy in west Dallas serves a diverse student body. About 62 percent of students identify as Hispanic, and 74 percent of students come from economically disadvantaged households. The school serves students in grades 6 through 8, with an emphasis on scientific learning and research intended to give students a strong science background before they enter high school. The school offers field excursions that include rock-climbing and zip-lining.
In 2010, the Texas Education Agency recognized James Bowie Elementary School as an exemplary school. Like the Dallas Environmental Science Academy, the majority of students here – around 96 percent – identify as Hispanic.
Great schools don’t come cheap, but the best public schools in Dallas are, surprisingly, located in some of the city’s lowest-tax areas. It appears higher property tax rates don’t necessarily result in better educational systems. Texas overall has tax rates considerably lower than most other states. And in the school districts of Highland Park, Lovejoy and Dallas, annual property taxes are around 2 percent.
While the tax rates are relatively low in Highland Park and Lovejoy, average home prices in these neighborhoods are much higher than in other suburbs. But you don’t have to overextend yourself to give your kids the benefit of Dallas’ best public schools. There are plenty of Dallas apartments that are ideal for families who want to live in these school districts, without taking on a mortgage.
The northwest suburbs of Dallas, including Denton, Grapevine and Keller, have some of the best schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, boasting half of the top-ranked schools. So, if prices in the city seem high, renting beyond the city limits may be your best bet.