San Carlos Schools Making An Impact Beyond the Classroom

Bob Bredel looks at the impact API scores will have on the San Carlos Real Estate market in his latest column.

The release of the annual Academic Performance Index (API) scores for California schools brought fantastic news for all San Carlos schools.  Schools falling under the San Carlos School District received some of the best scores in the state.

The success of the San Carlos School District over the past ten years has translated into a direct benefit for all those owning property within the city limits.  In the late 1990s, San Carlos property values started to accelerate a faster pace than surrounding towns.  At the same time, San Carlos schools started to distinguish themselves as being among the elite.

The full power of San Carlos schools was not completely realized until our drop in housing prices from October of 2008 through 2009.  While San Carlos had a drop in housing prices, the freefall that everyone was expecting never materialized.  San Carlos was one of a few niche areas that felt more of a slap-on-the-wrist, rather than a bubble bursting.  The primary reason for San Carlos getting off easy during the housing downturn was the San Carlos schools.

As a realtor in San Carlos, I can tell you that the number one factor for prospective buyers choosing San Carlos is the reputation and performance of its schools. The increasingly popular San Carlos School District has gained a following that goes well beyond the mid-peninsula.  Currently, many buyers that are moving into San Carlos are doing so from San Francisco.

You would be hard-pressed to find an area of the United States that puts more of an emphasis on education than the mid-peninsula.  With San Francisco and the biotech companies to the north and all of Silicon Valley to the south, education is of primary importance in many households.  Therefore, it really should not be a surprise that those towns will stellar schools have weathered the housing downtown turn better than those without top performing schools.

The use of APIs as the sole guideline to evaluate a schools is misplaced. APIs never tell the full story and most involved in public education will tell you that the API score should be one of many guidelines used in establishing the true merit of a particular school. However, in the real estate world, the API score is usually the one and only guideline used.  Parent participation, facilities, course offerings and financial stability are almost never given a second thought by most buyers.  They are concerned about one item and one item only, the API score.

While I believe that San Carlos schools would pass any thorough screening by prospective buyers that wanted information beyond the API scores, San Carlos continues to benefit greatly from the almighty API.


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