A Final Word on School Boundaries

bobbredel Uncategorized Leave a Comment

A lot has transpired over the last two weeks with all the talk of the boundary changes to San Carlos Schools. I was disappointed by some of the commentary which I thought was uncalled for.  I have removed those comments from the site.  Having a difference of opinion is what this site is all about, however, I thought a few of those comments went too far and they have been permanently removed.

Clearly, folks have very strong opinions on their schools in San Carlos.  As mentioned in several blog posts, in my opinion, it is most likely the number one reason that many buyers choose to settle down in San Carlos.  I have been fortunate enough to sell a good number of houses in San Carlos over the past few years and I can tell you that it is on the top of nearly everyone’s list.  Therefore, beyond the primary benefits which San Carlos schools provide to the students and families, the schools are also directly related to our housing market.

We are very fortunate to have such fantastic schools.  All of the public schools in San Carlos offer a first rate education, in my opinion. Lately, I feel that two groups in particular have received a bad rap. Heather School and San Carlos residents living east of El Camino seem to be the focus of unwarranted criticism.

Let’s start with Heather.  Heather is falling victim to what is becoming a very unfair indication of school quality when measured so tightly against other outstanding schools….the API Score.  Heather is sitting at an 861, up significantly from last year. However, when compared against Arundel at 917, White Oaks at 913 and Brittan Acres at 907, many parents wonder about the discrepancy and assume that something is wrong with Heather rather than investigating further. This is the danger with relying too heavily on APIs.  The APIs cannot give you a first-hand account of what it is like to attend that particular school.  They cannot tell you anything about the PTA, the resources, teacher involvement, parent and student happiness, the administration and so on. One other item of interest here is to take a look at what happens after those students leave their particular lower elementary school.  Interestingly, Tierra Linda, which has feeder schools of Heather and Arundel, scored a 921 on the APIs.  Central Middle School, which has Brittan Acres and White Oaks as feeder schools, only scored an 881 on the API.  In my opinion, this is the most concrete evidence that the rap on Heather is very unfair.  Unfortunately, in the real estate world many buyers will purchase on perception.  Many will not take the time to adequately investigate Heather before writing it off.  Many buyers run exactly by the APIs and if one school’s score is far enough away from another, they will hesitate and possibly go another direction. Those homes that are currently zoned for Arundel, but may be re-zoned for Heather will take a hit with most buyers who are focused on schools.  I do not think it is a major hit, but it will be enough to make some buyers think twice. It kills me to say that, but it is the reality of the situation. The bright side is that Heather seems to be making great strides on the API scale and hopefully they will be able to close the gap to where the score difference is negligible.

With regard to east side San Carlos, I can tell you that some of the most generous, supportive families in all of San Carlos live there and work very hard at making San Carlos a better place.  As mentioned in an earlier article, many of the families in east San Carlos could not afford homes on the west side, but chose to live there because they valued education enough that they were willing to accept a slightly smaller house because they wanted their kids to be a part of San Carlos and the San Carlos School District. Dividing San Carlos will not solve anything. Last I checked, the 94070 covered both the east side and west side.

Finally, I think everyone can agree that there is not an answer to the impacting problems which everyone will agree with.  I do have a substantial amount of faith in the SC School Board and trust that they will come up with the solution that works best for all of San Carlos.

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bobbredel