Magazine rates Wilton second best in education among similar towns
Among similar Connecticut towns, Wilton has the second best education system, according to Connecticut Magazine’s biennial survey, Rating the Towns 2015.
Published in its November issue, Connecticut Magazine’s survey rates all 169 Connecticut municipalities based not only on education, but economy, crime, civic engagement, and leisure and culture as well.
To rate towns with similar resources, Connecticut Magazine grouped the towns by median home values obtained from Zillow.com and include houses and condominiums — under $200,000, $250,000 to $249,000, $250,000 to $325,000, and $325,000 and up
With a median home value of $774,600, according to the survey, Wilton was grouped in the $325,000 and up category, along with 33 other towns:
- New Canaan.
- New Fairfield.
- Old Lyme.
- Old Saybrook.
Wilton placed second among its peers but was trumped by Darien. The town rated third best in the $325,000 and up category was Weston, while the lowest rated in the group was the Litchfield County town of Warren.
Connecticut Magazine used four elements to rate each town’s education system: 2013 Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) results, 2013 Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) results, 2014 SAT scores, and 2013 cohort graduation rates.
Since there is only one year of baseline data for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which replaced the CMT and CAPT after 2013, using SBAC data would have been “inappropriate for this ranking,” according to Connecticut Magazine.
To determine the strength of each town’s economy, Connecticut Magazine used 2015 Public Investment Community scores, compiled by the Office of Policy and Management.
According to Connecticut Magazine, the scores are based on population, per capita income, adjusted equalized grand list per capita, unemployment rate, equalized mill rate and per capita aid to children.
Towns with the top-rated economies in Rating the Towns survey have the least need in their communities and stronger economies.
Wilton was rated seventh best in its home value category and surpassed by Greenwich at No. 1, followed by New Canaan, Darien, Westport, Weston and the Litchfield County town of Roxbury.
The town with the lowest rated economy in the group was the New Haven town of Orange.
For crime, Connecticut Magazine used the number of major crimes — murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson and larceny — committed in 2013 per 100,000 residents as reported by the Connecticut Department of Public Safety.
In this category, Wilton was rated the 18th safest town among its peers, while Sherman, which has a population of less than 4,000, was rated No. 1.
The town with the worst crime rating in the $325,000 and up group was Orange, which has a population of approximately 14,000.
Connecticut Magazine based each town’s community engagement rating on its voter turnout in the 2014 election, as well as the amount of local news coverage it has available “from daily and weekly newspapers, websites and TV and radio stations.”
With a 61% voter turnout rate in 2014 and three local newspapers, Wilton ranked 19th in its home value group.
The Litchfield County town of Bridgewater took the top spot, followed by the New Haven County town of Guilford at No. 2 and the Middlesex County town of Essex at No. 3.
The town with the lowest community engagement rating was New Fairfield.
Leisure and culture
Connecticut Magazine rated the towns in terms of leisure and culture based on:
- Proximity to state parks and forests.
- Number of colleges and universities.
- Number of restaurants listed in Connecticut Magazine’s 2015 Best Restaurants issue.
- Number of shops, theaters, museums and other cultural venues.
Wilton had the 15th best leisure and culture score in its home value group, while Fairfield, Westport and the New London County town of Stonington took the No. 1, 2 and 3 spots, respectively.
Bridgewater received the lowest leisure and culture rating in the group.
Click here to view Connecticut Magazine’s Rating the Towns 2015.