What a great time to relocate to NC. It is wonderful here. I relocated back to NC from Ft. Lauderdale where I had sold real estate for Century 21 about 16 years ago. I have a daughter in the public schools and love it. You should have no problem finding a great house close to dining and shopping with at least 1/3 acre in your price range in either Cary or Raleigh. You may even want to consider Apex, Morrisville and Wake Forest.
However, our schools are going through a lot of transformation and change. I would recommend spending some time on Google reading articlesand on http://www.wcpss.gov
and getting to know how the system works here. It has several differences from many other areas of the country and even the state. We have regular public schools, magnet public schools, traditional calendar, year round, modified year round, etc. with the current school board trying to move to neighborhood schools with a little resistance.
There has been an extensive amont of press lately so you should be able to gather lots of great information. If you have any specific questions about areas and homes available around certain schools I would be more than happy to help. Just send me an email here through Trulia.
Good luck with the relocation.