NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Parents looking for the best state school system for their housing dollar should concentrate on the northeast section of the country, particularly Massachusetts, according to a new report.
The state and region scored high marks for top schools in most median house price ranges in a ranking compiled by Forbes.com of U.S. cities and towns with the best public schools.
"According to our findings, if you have more than $400,000 to spend on a home, the Northeast is the region for you. Ten of the 20 towns above this price level are here, with six being in Massachusetts," according to the website.
Weston, Massachusetts came in No. 1 in cities and towns with a median home price range of $800,000 or more, followed by Mercer Island in Washington and New Canaan, Connecticut.
Belmont scored top marks in the $600,000 to $799,999 home price category, along with three other Massachusetts cities, Westwood and Winchester and Sudbury, coming in second, third and fourth place in the ranking (www.forbes.com/greatschools).
The state also had lead position in the $400,000-$599,999 home category with Acton.
But Edina, in Minnesota ranked highest in the $200,000-$399,999 house price range along with Zionsville, Indiana and Brookfield Wisconsin, while Mason, Ohio had top grades in the under $200,000 house price category, followed by Fishers, Indiana and Fort Thomas, Kentucky.
"Finding a great place to live and an excellent school for your kids are two of the biggest decisions a family will ever make," Bill Jackson, founder and chief executive of GreatSchools, an independent nonprofit group that rates schools across the country, told Forbes.
Forbes.com and GreatSchools analyzed 17,377 cities and towns across the United States to compile the ranking which looked at affordability, school enrollment and performance, test scores, home prices and population .
"While property taxes didn't factor into our ranking, 11 of the 25 places on the list have rates below the national average of 1.03 percent of home value," according to Forbes.com.
It added that Severna Park in Maryland, near Washington, D.C. pay only 0.62 percent of their home value in property tax.
Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Paul Casciato