In a recent study conducted by the financial literacy website NerdWallet, Millsboro was ranked No. 1 among the best towns in Delaware for young families.
“Our goal is to help our readers make better decisions with their wallets and finances,” said Mike Anderson, an analyst for NerdWallet. “A study like this makes real estate more approachable. The value of the home and price of the home in itself doesn’t tell you much about the area you’re moving in to. What matters is how far your dollar will go.”
The study, published earlier this month, based its findings on three variables: quality of public schools, affordability and growth. NerdWallet considered 35 Delaware cities, only including those with a population greater than 2,000.
To evaluate the quality of education in Millsboro and other towns, NerdWallet utilized GreatSchools.com, which averages the ratings of public schools in the town. Those ratings are derived from standardized testing, student diversity and the number of students per teacher, among other factors. The average rating for Millsboro was nine out of 10, with East Millsboro Elementary rated at 10, Long Neck Elementary School rated at nine and Millsboro Middle School rated at seven.
In this year’s Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System testing, East Millsboro Elementary School scored above the 95th percentile in efficiency for most content areas.
Kelly Dorman, principal of East Millsboro Elementary, said Millsboro’s No. 1 ranking in the NerdWallet study is exciting, particularly because her school was cited in the study as excelling in standardized testing.
“We work with the community, the families and the East Millsboro team to meet the needs of all of our students whether they are social needs, behavioral needs and more importantly academic needs,” Dorman said. “Because we build a culture in our school that is positive and encouraging, our students want to do their best.”
Most of the data used in the study to analyze affordability and growth is derived from the U.S. Census, according Anderson.
According to the U.S. Census, the median home value in Millsboro is $229,700, with monthly owner costs at $1,397, median household income at $47,649 and growth between 1999 and 2011 at 74 percent.
The study cites Millsboro as being the fastest growing community in Sussex County, which is illustrated by a 64.3 percent population increase between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The study also highlights nearby major employers like Dogfish Head Brewery of Milton and Beebe Medical Center in Lewes.
Faye Lingo, town manager of Millsboro, said the town’s No. 1 ranking can be attributed to diversity in employment opportunities, ongoing development and close proximity to the Delaware beaches.
“We have several businesses and major employers where people can use their education,” Lingo said. “These vary from the service industry to the technology industry to the manufacturing industry.”
Page 2 of 2 - Lingo said the town is blessed with several developers willing to invest in the area, including those currently building Plantation Lakes, Wharton’s Bluff and Villages of Millwood, among others.
Tina Lynn Collins-Timmons, who is raising her 9-year-old daughter Hannah in Millsboro, said she whole heartedly agrees with NerdWallet’s assessment. Collins-Timmons has lived in Millsboro her entire life.
“We have a nice park and we’re conveniently located close to just about anything you need,” she said, adding that her daughter attends East Millsboro Elementary. “It’s one of the best elementary schools I’ve ever seen.”
Collins-Timmons added Millsboro is close to the beach but is still affordable, and the area offers a variety of housing, including mobile homes, townhouses and single-family homes.
“The only thing I would like to see is an additional retail shopping store like Target or Walmart,” she said. “But we have a good variety of grocery stores, salons and plenty of restaurants.”