Burnsville is about 10 minutes away from Bloomington and the houses are WAY cheaper on that side of the river..including in Savage or Shakopee. You can get bigger lots out there and more ft2 for your money. Bloomington is a great area to live in...I grew up here my whole life and wanted to move away, but ended up buying a house here as an adult because it's got everything you need/want within just a few minutes. It's close to downtown, has few "bad" areas, but it is a little more expensive to live in than some of the surrounding suburbs. Eden Prairie is on the west boundary of Bloomington and that is really nice also and I've seen some deals listed there recently. I would search: Bloomington (west), Eden Prairie, Savage, Burnsville, and Shakopee in your price range and you should find something really great! The schools are probably best in Eden Prairie, Edina, and west Bloomington. I don't know much about Savage, but I'd bet the schools are pretty good there....taxes may be high there because they've been building new schools out there though, so watch that when you are looking in certain areas.