School District is Always Important.
It’s not news that the quality of the school district is a key decision criteria for many potential home buyers as they plan the educational path of their children. Even buyers without children pay close attention to a home’s respective school district because it has a direct relation to the value of homes in that district. It’s one of the reasons that San Carlos home values have remained stable (and high!) over the past few decades.
The recent recession has taken a toll on just about every school district across the state. As I reported earlier on the site, the San Carlos School District recently handed out termination/reduction notices to 28 employees for the upcoming school year that may result in the elimination of 18.5 full-time positions across the district. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a district as small as San Carlos.
The “Fringe” Neighborhoods.
But San Carlos shares a border with Redwood City to the south and Belmont to the north, and as home buyers soon realize, the school district boundaries don’t necessarily match the city boundaries. This results in a relatively small pocket of north-San Carlos homes that are actually zoned for the Belmont-Redwood Shores District, and a much larger pocket of San Carlos homes to the south that fall inside the Redwood City School District borders.
How have these two school districts fared during the economic downturn? And more important, what impact does this have on the mindset of home buyers?
Feeling the Pinch.
San Carlos isn’t alone in its struggle to balance the school budget. Both the Redwood City School District and the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District have had to take drastic measures to get their budgets in line by the March 15 state-imposed deadline, and these cuts will have far-reaching implications for both school districts. Here’s a quick recap of both:
- Redwood City: They handed out a whopping 140 “pink slips” in order to shave between $4.7M-13.7M off of their current $78M budget. The cuts include 82 classroom teachers as well as 17 other specialty teachers. The result will be a significantly higher student/teacher ratio for all schools in Redwood City. I have heard that class sizes of 33 (or higher) students will become commonplace in Redwood City schools, which is a far cry from the 20:1 ratio that all communities have strived to achieve at the elementary school level. It’s important to note that these figures are by no means “official”, but it doesn’t take a huge stretch to see how the possible loss of 82 “front-line” teachers will result in significantly more crowded classrooms. For more information on the Redwood City cuts, click here: Redwood City Issues Pink-Slip Notices.
- Belmont-Redwood Shores: The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District just approved $2.5M in cuts to get their budget in line for the 2010-11 school year. These cuts will result in possibly 25 teachers losing their jobs, the closure of ALL of its school libraries, and an increase in class size to at least 25:1 for K-3 and 30:1 for grades 6-8. For more information on these cuts, click here: Belmont-Redwood Shores School Budget Cuts.
The Bottom Line
Even though the San Carlos School District has had to make some painful cuts, one could argue that it will emerge from these budget cuts in slightly better shape than its neighboring communities. However, it’s important to note that the numbers quoted above are all preliminary and reflect “worst-case scenarios” that consequently may change as the beginning of the 2010-11 school year approaches.
But this perception has not gone unnoticed by home buyers in the market today. Some who may have considered buying homes in one of San Carlos’ “fringe” neighborhoods are now re-thinking that strategy. One thing is for certain — it has forced home buyers to do their homework and contemplate yet one more important element before they decide where they’re going to live.
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