If you are considering a move to the Philadelphia area, you may need to reexamine some of your assumptions about school districts and how to determine which are the top ranking ones. While in many regions, higher-rated school districts are found in communities with higher taxes, that scenario is not reliably true on Philadelphia’s Main Line.
The relationship between taxes and school rankings is arbitrary at best, so my advice is: don’t try to make any correlation. Part of the reason is that we have an uneven distribution of residential vs. commercial properties in the various townships (and it’s the property’s township that determine its assigned school district). Some townships, like Haverford, for example, in Delaware County, has relatively few businesses compared to the number of residences. That imbalance leaves a higher tax burden on residents in that township as there simply aren’t enough commercial properties to absorb more of the responsibility. Conversely, Tredyffrin-Easttown School District, rated among the top five in the state has relatively low residential property taxes, in part due to the concentration of large office parks which contribute heavily to the tax burden. While there are probably other reasons that taxes are so hard to use as a predictor, my point is simply not to make any inference about the ranking of any school district in connection to the taxes on a property in that district.
There are several websites which rank or rate schools, though they all use different critera/weighting systems, so it’s not necessarily simple to label any one district “better” than another. Be sure to read the criteria used. Try Niche, Great Schools, School Digger, Patch, and PA School Performance.
If you are relocating to the Philadelphia/Main Line area, please go to my relocation tab. If you’d like to and read other blog entries related to relocation, please scroll down a couple of lines and click on RELOCATION (to the right of FILED UNDER). Thanks!