When I moved here in 1981 (I was 29… Oh, to be 29 again…) it didn’t take much of a gander at Newburyport, MA to know that if “excellent” schools were at the top of my list of “must haves,” that Newburyport, MA was not the place to move to.
If a really good school system was at the top of my list, I would have considered moving to places like Hamilton, Wenham or Wellesley, wealthy suburban communities.
But I didn’t want to live in a “wealthy suburban” community. I wanted to live in this wonderful small seacoast city, that was actually a city, not a suburb. That was a short drive from miles of gorgeous beach along the Atlantic Ocean. And that had an historic quality that was just downright captivating. And I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen.
And I still think that today.
And this was before Maudslay or the Tannery ever existed.
Many of my friends and acquaintances home schooled (home schooling was very big back then) and many took advantage of the many first rate private schools in the area on all grade levels. I never expected the Newburyport public schools to be “excellent.”
When the bambino arrived I thought long and hard about my options. And I made a very conscious choice to choose Newburyport’s public schools.
An “excellent” education was not at the top of my list. “Life lessons” were. And I decided that life lessons for my child would be best learned in the Newburyport Public Schools, which I rated anywhere from a C+ to a B+. Certainly not an A+ or even an A-.
And I also felt that Newburyport as a community had so much to offer (which is one of the reasons why I chose it) from the Pioneer League, to the Newburyport Art Association, to Theater in the Open etc. etc. etc., that whatever deficiencies the Newburyport school system might have, the City of Newburyport offered a wealth of tangible and intangible gifts that would last in my son’s soul far longer than what he might find in a traditional educational system.
In my mind, the many assets that Newburyport has to offer contributed to my son’s acquisition of knowledge.
And I found my to my surprise that this was confirmed in an article linked to by the “yesfornewburyport.org” website, “Buyers will pay a premium to live near top schools.” (April 11, 2007).
“School, what is it good for? When it comes to home prices, school matters. Buyers will pay a premium to live near top schools.”
By Sarah Max, senior writer
“Not true everywhere
Of course, not everyone has school on the brain.
According to an NAR (National Association of Realtors) survey of buyers in 2003, 25 percent of buyers in the suburbs cited schools as an important factor in their buying decision. But in urban areas, only 12 percent of buyers ranked schools high on their list of priorities. Shopping, recreation and entertainment proved more important. In resort areas, meanwhile, only 8 percent of buyers ranked schools high on their list.
“There are only two places we have found school values going out the window,” said Bainbridge. One is beach property and the other is what he calls “historically preserved areas,” urban areas that are being redeveloped.”
CNN/Money, August 30, 2004
So it is quite possible that historic preservation and gorgeous beaches might be part of the reason that Newburyport, MA has become so desirable. And that the Newburyport school system could be part of a larger equation.