What family with school-age children looking for a town to settle down in hasn't had this discussion?
"Sure, it would be great to live there. The schools are great."
"Yeah, but it's way out of our price range."
Inevitably, the towns with the best schools are the most expensive places to live. It's the way the proverbial cookie crumbles, and it explains why, around these parts, any discussion about best schools routinely ends with a list that looks something like this, in no particular order: Lexington, Sudbury, Concord, Newton, Wellesley, Brookline, Andover, Dover.
But what if, along with considering SAT or MCAS scores, teacher-student ratio, and other school-performance factors, you added in a few other ingredients to the pot and stirred? Like home prices. And diversity in the school district. And you said towns with the highest home prices and more diversity got penalized, while towns with more affordable homes and greater diversity got rewarded.
Now, we're talking.
This explains why, on our list here, Foxborough Regional is right there alongside Concord and Lexington. Because while Concord and Lexington have tremendous schools, they are also very expensive places to live. Foxborough? Also tremendous schools. But the average home there is almost half the cost. Only on a list like this might Boxborough score the same as Brookline. Both great schools. But Boxborough's average assessed home is half the cost of Brookline's.
Admittedly, no list like this can be perfect, as there are many other factors that go into such a vital decision in life. But at least this list, put together by the Globe's Matt Carroll, takes into account not just who has the best schools, but who has property that's affordable to more people.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more