What do Proposed School Boundary Changes do to San Carlos Property Values

Posted on 16 December 2009 by vvandervort

elementary_school_boundary_mapAbout a week ago, I wrote a post about the San Carlos School District getting serious about the idea of changing the boundary lines for the elementary schools.  Today I’m going to put out my opinion on what will happen to property values in San Carlos if the school district implements the changes.

For the streets/blocks that are being moved out of White Oaks Elementary and into Brittan Acres, it should have a negative impact on their property values.  White Oaks elementary (API score of 913) has had the repuation for several years of being the best school in San Carlos (up until this last year, they have had the highest API score, Academic Performance Index, but this last year, Arundel obtained a higher API score).   Now these streets will be going to Brittan Acres which has an API score of 907.  The difference in scores is nominal.  The problem though is that now the families on these streets have to cross Brittan Avenue to get over to Brittan Acres and many families are not pleased.   I think some buyers are going to shy away from these streets now so that they can get access to White Oaks and so they don’t have to worry about their children crossing Brittan.

All of the streets on the east side of San Carlos are being switched from Brittan Acres over to Arundel.  I don’t think this will have much of an impact on property values in this area.  People are buying in that area for affordability and access to any San Carlos school, not a specific school.  Let me digress for a moment.  One of the reasons I think San Carlos is a fantastic town is that those who live on the “east side” are slated for  the same schools that serve the west side.  The same cannot be said of our surrounding communities of Belmont, San Mateo, or Redwood City.

The last shift that is proposed by the San Carlos School District is to move an area that is slated for Arundel elementary over to Heather elementary.  This could be big.  Heather has an API score of 861 – the lowest in San Carlos.  So this move takes those streets and moves them from the best scoring school in San Carlos to the worst.  It is my understanding that Heather elementary has the special education program for the San Carlos elementary schools and that their test scores are included in the test scores for the whole school.  If this is the case, to judge Heather by its test score is not fair.  In speaking to families who attend there, they are very pleased with the school.  However, there are an unbelievable number of buyers out there who are looking at San Carlos specifically because the schools are so strong and they are just looking at API scores.  My guess is that when they see a street has access to Heather, they will shy away from it and look for a house on a street that is slated for one of the other 3 elementary schools.

It still remains to be seen how these border changes are going to be implemented.  Some reconfiguring has to be done, but the San Carlos School Board was going to be revisiting the topic after their town hall meeting where San Carlos citizens got to voice their opinion about the proposed changes.  The board is scheduled to vote on this on January 21, 2009.

To see a list of streets that are being moved, you can see them as a PDF at the San Carlos School Distrcit site.

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