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Fox Valley - Potential Move

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Offline  Fox Valley - Potential Move
#1

Posted: December 12, 2016, 10:58 AM Post
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I debated posting a topic on here about this, but I thought it would be a good place to find a few experts on the topic. My wife and I are starting to think more about a potential move back to WI. We've moved around quite a bit with her job over the last several years, but with our oldest child in preschool now, we are seeing the value of being in one place. We grew up on the west side of the state and don't have much experience with the Fox Valley. I did live in GB for a year but it was not a time where I was thinking about raising a family. We would not be able to live in GB anyway, so my experience there doesn't bring much to the table. We'd be looking more at Appleton and the surrounding towns. This is very much in the information grabbing stage of our decision making progress. Ultimately we are trying to narrow down a few options, compare, and then make the decision.

I'd love to hear any positives and negatives that people have had or see with that area. Any information on housing, schools, raising families, etc would be greatly appreciated. Again, I'm just trying to gather as much information as possible at this point so I can get a better feel for the area.

Thanks in advance!


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#2

Posted: December 12, 2016, 11:45 AM Post
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Well, we do have the Timber Rattlers, so that's a plus ; )

I know this is early, so you may not even have specific questions yet. As far as schools go, Appleton, Neenah and Kimberly districts are very good, in my opinion. Hortonville/ Greenville area is really growing too. FV is a very family friendly area as you probably already know. For housing, not sure if you want to rent or buy. If you're looking at buying, best thing to do is check out Realtor/Trulia etc. and you'll get a real good idea what is available for the price range you have in mind.


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#3

Posted: December 12, 2016, 12:30 PM Post
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Location: Green Bay, WI
My oldest brother & his wife raised their three kids in Kimberly, and seem to really enjoy it. The school there is supposed to be pretty good. They live about a mile or two away from the High School & the YMCA. Lots of newer retail/restaurants in that area.


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Posted: December 13, 2016, 7:07 AM Post
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I did think of the Timber Rattlers right away as a big plus!

Seems like the general talk was that Appleton, Neenah and Kimberly were all good. Are any of the Appleton schools considered better/worse? Or are there kind of general stereotypes of those 5 schools? Obviously the best way to get a feel for the schools would be to visit them.


I have been looking a little at the housing available in the area, just to get a feel for it.

Thanks so much for the info!


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#5

Posted: December 13, 2016, 10:41 AM Post
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By "5 schools" I'm assuming you mean the High Schools? Then there's also Xavier and Fox Valley Lutheran, and a couple other smaller HS. And yes, they all have stereotypes. Everyone has their opinion, but if I remember right from test scores they're all pretty close. Kimberly is definitely the cream of the crop for athletics, with Appleton North probably in 2nd. Also, remember there is open enrollment here. My own opinion, I wouldn't make a decision on where to live based on the HS when your oldest is only in pre-school. HS is 10+ years away, a lot can change by then!

Edit: Pains me to say it, but I would also consider Hortonville/ Greenville. Some new schools out that way, and housing maybe a little more affordable.


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#6

Posted: December 13, 2016, 9:28 PM Post
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I believe property taxes are significantly lower in Greenville than in Appleton, but I could be wrong.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#7

Posted: December 14, 2016, 6:57 AM Post
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FVBrewerFan - I'd love to hear the stereotypes if you have the time. I know they should be taken with a grain of salt! If nothing else, I'm sure it would be entertaining. Is Hortonville/Greenville the same school district? How big of a school is that? Like do you know what division they are for sports or how many kids typically graduate?

LouisEly- thanks for the tip!


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#8

Posted: December 14, 2016, 8:06 AM Post
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Yes, same district. Greenville is just a town next to Hortonville, feeds into Hortonville HS. I think graduating class is around 250, maybe a little higher. But it's growing. Now Div 1 (just recently), part of the Fox Valley Assoc conf. (I will get to the stereotypes some day)


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#9

Posted: December 14, 2016, 9:41 AM Post
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Appleton Public Schools Stereotypes:

Appleton West is the worst school according to people I know with experience there, via their own kids, or teachers who teach there. It is more of the inner city attitude, and there are more poor families that attend there due to it's location in the city. Obviously this also means that the school is the least safe of the 3, however, I don't know anyone who says it is not a safe school.

Appleton East is the mid range school, probably the most middle class of the three.

Appleton North, by far, and not even close, the best of the three. It serves mostly the kids in the suburbs of Appleton and the new housing developments/suburbs on the North side of Appleton. I have had 2 kids go through there, and their sports, theater, music programs are second to none in Appleton. They have the fewest discipline issues, least "gang" activity (if that is what it is still called these days), etc... I'm not 100% certain of the elementary schools that serve North, but I know that Huntley is one of them. Einstein is their middle school, which like the high school has the best opportunities to not be involved in the inner city crap.

If I were going to make a choice based on school districts, NORTH is the one to pick, and it isn't even close.

If sports is your thing, Kimberly is the place to go outside of Appleton, however, when a school is known for being very competitive in their sports programs, it is also harder to crack the starting line-ups on teams, if you are a below average athlete, sports will take a back seat because if you aren't the cream of the crop, there will be no place athletically for your kids. I know parents who have had kids that are athletes, and those who have kids who are not athletes. Even those who have athletic kids that have participated on those teams say that the stress related to competing in that district can be pretty severe. I guess it depends on your views on high school sports...


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#10

Posted: December 15, 2016, 7:52 AM Post
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Just curious what "inner city" issues are. I'm guessing that they aren't inner city issues like you'd have in Milwaukee?

How does Appleton North compare to Neenah?

I knew Kimberly was a pretty successful at sports but had no idea it was that hardcore. That's really good to know.

I also was very surprised that Hortonville was now a D1 school. I had no idea it was that big of a district.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#11

Posted: December 15, 2016, 9:37 AM Post
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Yea, he's talking about Appleton inner city. Nothing like Milw, Chicago, etc. Maybe a better way to put it is Appleton North has a lot of upper middle class, so does Neenah. East is more "regular" middle class, West is more diverse.
I know plenty of kids who went to West, and it's a good school, they really liked it there. Don't get the impression it's a crime-ridden crap hole with poor academics. Just not true.

All of that is really overblown, in my opinion. With open enrollment, that is gradually changing and North is seeing some of the same issues with drugs, etc. Just a sign of the times, no escaping that anywhere.

Honestly, with your oldest in pre-school I really wouldn't worry about HS yet. Find an area you would like to live. More rural, suburban, or in the "city." Elementary school far more important than HS at this stage. Maybe your kids won't want to even play sports by the time they're HS age, and whatever school is string in athletics could change by then- we're talking 10 years away.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#12

Posted: December 15, 2016, 10:03 AM Post
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Totally agree on not knowing what our kids will be doing in the future. Much more interested in a good school where they can grow as students. I guess I've just kind of had the thought that the high schools reflect the schools that feed in to it and can give you an understanding of what they are like. I also have maybe looked at that as a bigger picture of the families/adults that live in the district. The only other reason I like to know this now is that, if for some reason we'd have to sell the house, potential buyers could consider high school districts.

Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate the great info. Hard to get this type of information without talking to people that are familiar with an area.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#13

Posted: December 15, 2016, 11:03 AM Post
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Wrightstown is really nice and I think would be considered just outside of the Fox Valley area. Especially if you want to live around people but don't want to live in a city. I know nothing about the school district but the high school is somewhat new. You'd be about 20 minutes from both Appleton and Green Bay. Of course I'm only speaking from my experience of driving there to coach against them. The place might actually really suck but it looks nice.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#14

Posted: December 15, 2016, 11:31 AM Post
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Always forget about Wrightstown! Yes, sort of like Hortonville/Greenville, only Northeast of Appleton instead of West. Both are more rural, Wrightstown is smaller, but Jericho is right- new schools there.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#15

Posted: December 15, 2016, 11:57 AM Post
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Perhaps too off the beaten path for you but Winneconne also has a reputation as a very good school district. They are northwest of Oshkosh and I think Division 3 in basketball and maybe 4 in football.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#16

Posted: December 15, 2016, 12:11 PM Post
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Location: Team Tosa
My cousins and a lot of my friends grew up and went to school in Neenah. None of them ever really complained about it. The Fox Valley has grown a lot since I'd visit my cousins in high school. There's a lot more to do now than 20 years ago, I know that much. It's probably the area of the state with the greatest population increase in that time, though I could be wrong.

The high school I work at is dead center of highest incarceration rate in the state. I promise you there is nothing in the Fox Valley that comes close to anything happening in Milwaukee, or even Racine/Kenosha. I'd feel comfortable anywhere at anytime in the Fox Valley. I'd even feel inclined to send my kids to West where it's more diverse. That's just me.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#17

Posted: December 17, 2016, 7:03 AM Post
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I grew up in Neenah (live now in Charlotte, NC) and really enjoyed it....nice little downtown area and the schools are high quality, if a bit old. I taught and coached in Neenah as well as Kaukauna and think that both of those schools are high quality in regard to their athletics - Kaukauna's basketball and volleyball programs are currently among the best in the state. Kimberly is a great area with excellent schools and athletics as well...my principal in Kaukauna is now at Gerrits middle school in Kimberly and is a wonderful guy

The housing market in Neenah is less affordable than the surrounding areas....if I had to pick an area that would be my first choice to live in Fox Valley it would be the Darboy area in Kimberly school district.....


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#18

Posted: December 17, 2016, 8:22 AM Post
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My wife and I live in the Green Bay area, and while our job situation is pretty stable, part of me regrets not buying a home closer to Highway 41 in a community like Ashwaubenon, West De Pere, Lawrence, or Freedom. This would have given us better access to jobs in the Fox Valley if we ever found ourselves in a bind. Right now, it takes us about 20 minutes to get from our home to 41 South (and then at least another 20 minutes to Appleton). If you're set on the Fox Valley over Green Bay, I'd consider communities on the North side of Appleton (Kimberly, Kaukauna, Little Chute, etc.), which would give you better access to the Green Bay job market (if you ever needed it). That's just me. I'm pragmatic to a fault.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#19

Posted: December 21, 2016, 1:04 PM Post
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Location: Green Bay, WI
FWIW, I looked at the Wisconsin School Performance Report website and looked at a few of GB/Fox Valley schools. They didn't break out the Appleton schools. From worst to first (accountability score):

Green Bay Area Public (61) - Meets Few Expectations
Little Chute Area (67.1) - Meets Expectations
Appleton Area (70.9) - Meets Expectations
Ashwaubenon (71.6) - Meets Expectations
West De Pere (74.5) - Exceeds Expectations
Hortonville Area (77.9) - Exceeds Expectations
Kaukauna Area (78.6) - Exceeds Expectations
De Pere (80) - Exceeds Expectations
Kimberly Area (82) - Exceeds Expectations
Wrightstown Community (91.2) - Exceeds Expectations

A lot of those North end of Appleton communities show up (excluded Little Chute) as being on the better end of school choices.

I can attest to the Kimberly athletics/competitive nature. My niece, like my brother, was a standout cross country runner, and parlayed her success at Kimberly to a scholarship at a DII school. My nephew played football (more accurately, he showed up somewhere on the team photo), but that's the nature of that program. It's highly successful and will play the best athletes to win their games. When he was on the 5th grade football team, they installed the high school football playbook. They told you right then and there what your position was going to be from then until you graduated high school. They bluntly told the parents - look, if your kid is slow and heavyset at this age, he's probably going to be the same when he's in high school so he's going to be a lineman. The fast kids are likely going to remain fast, so they were taught the skill positions. But the competitiveness is something you are going to run into at any school. When you have a school like Kimberly, or Green Bay Notre Dame or West De Pere that are having success athletically, it can become increasingly hard for your child to get playing time as other parents with gifted student-athletes utilize Open Enrollment to get their kids into top-notch competition.

My boys are young (4 & 6), but I kind of freak out too when I think how different it will be for them than it was for me at a very small school (Iola-Scandinavia). I was the only senior on the varsity baseball team (and boy did I get WAY more playing time than I should have [laughing] ). I never had to worry about tryouts or being cut from a team. We were lucky to have enough guys interested in fielding a team.


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Offline  Re: Fox Valley - Potential Move
#20

Posted: December 22, 2016, 8:05 AM Post
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As you are looking around keep property taxes in mind. Most of the cities in the Fox Valley (Appleton, Neenah, etc.) have significantly higher property tax rates than the surrounding towns/villages (Greenville, Clayton, etc.).


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