Cherry Hill Public Schools named 10th best school district for your buck in New Jersey

When it comes to looking for an affordable school district, one website says there aren’t too many districts better than Cherry Hill.

The website recently named Cherry Hill Public Schools as the “tenth best school district for your buck in New Jersey.” NerdWallet released its ranking of all school districts in New Jersey on Jan. 18

In compiling the rankings, NerdWallet wanted to provide parents information on what towns had quality school districts compared with the average cost of a home. Its formula looked at each school district’s SAT and HSPA test scores, graduation rate, enrollment rate in four-year colleges and class size. Those numbers were compared to the median home value of each municipality to come up with a final score.

Joe Meloche, assistant superintendent for Cherry Hill Public Schools, said the designation is a testament to everyone involved with the school district, from teachers and administrators down to the students.

“It’s great to rank high in these external evaluations,” Meloche said.

Cherry Hill is unique among the other districts in the top 10 as it has the lowest median home value of the group. The median home value in Cherry Hill for 2013 was $274,600, according to the ranking. Every other school district in the top 10 had a median home value of at least $360,000.

“Cherry Hill is a hidden gem with the median home value of $274,600, which is the lowest in our top 20,” wrote Kamran Rosen, content analyst and economics writer for NerdWallet. “While the district scored well overall when it comes to academic quality, Cherry Hill, with 18 schools, is one of the largest school districts in New Jersey.”

When compared to school districts with a similar median home value, Cherry Hill ranked favorable. It had a graduation rate of 94 percent in 2013. Eleventh-grade students taking the SATs in 2013 also did very well, with an average score of 1634. The percent of high school juniors scoring proficient or higher on the 2013 High School Proficiency Assessment was 95.8 percent.

Meloche feels one of the biggest reasons Cherry Hill ranked high on the list was the community’s dedication to its schools.

“It really says something about the quality of the community we have here,” he said.

Another important factor to Meloche was the diversity of the school district. He talked about how the distinct character and ideas flowing from the different school communities has helped contribute to the district’s success.

“We’re a constantly changing community,” Meloche said. “You look at where we were in 1985 or 1995 and where we are now. We’re better than we were then.”

The school district gives a lot of credit to Cherry Hill Township officials and the police force. Meloche said the district’s high ranking also reflects on the quality of life in the township.

“We take it on the notion that it’s a comprehensive effort,” he said.

In South Jersey, Cherry Hill, along with Haddonfield, were the only two school districts to crack the top 10 on the list.