Greatschools.org is a site I use and recommend to clients and customers to research the school districts they are thinking of moving to. Giving each school in the district a numerical ranking from 1 to 10 seems to level the playing field and helps searchers compare apples to apples. The site will allow you to compare along differing parameters as well.
As you know, your Realtor cannot comment specifically on a school district as it easily becomes a fair housing issue. That is why I won’t (and can’t) answer the question “How are the schools there?”. I will direct you to Greatschools.org and suggest you research what is important to you in your school district.
There is one other thing I will humbly suggest with respect to school district. Depending on budgets, school boards, and local politics, the status of a district is very dynamic. The underlying theme of a mission can change pretty quickly due to many factors. In my own school district, which I won’t name, there was a front page article last week stating that while enrollment was down, and had been for years, our school budgets have been climbing egregiously for those same years. Now I know it’s not linear and enrollment and budget aren’t linked at the hip, there were some pretty valid arguments both for and against a neverending tax bite due to school budget. What are your thoughts on the subject?
When I moved to my school district, our choice was absolutely driven by the schools. And I still hear that argument now from buyers looking in my neighborhood. And I am in no way denigrating our public schools. What I am suggesting is that perhaps all the information cannot be gleaned from clicking around on a website.
I have more thoughts on this; hit me up for more ideas on how maybe you can save some money by buying in an up and coming school district.
Greatschools.org is a great place to start your research though.