Led by Superintendent Craig Baker, the San Carlos School District and members of the San Carlos Educational Foundation met with some San Carlos realtors today regarding the recent boundary changes to San Carlos school assignments. The SCSD emphasized three points:
(1) All of the San Carlos schools rank among the top schools in the State of California
(2) The boundary changes were essential due to high capacity at White Oaks and low capacity at Heather
(3) The SCSD does not believe that there should be any difference in home valuations which are related to the particular assigned school, since all San Carlos schools are top schools
First, I want to thank Carrie DuBois of the San Carlos School Board for inviting me to the meeting. Second, I have heard Dr. Baker speak at several meetings now and I am very impressed with what he has done so far. For only being in his position for 7 months and walking into a firestorm of issues such as the budget shortfall and the immediate need for boundary changes, he’s done a great job of navigating the SCSD. Additionally, he seems to get how San Carlos works. He is actively soliciting input from the community and plans on holding future town hall meetings. The fact that he would take time out of his schedule to meet with some realtors because he wants to make sure that the SCSD is being portrayed accurately to the community and incoming residents, says a lot.
Points 1 & 2 above have been discussed ad nauseam on the San Carlos Blog and I do not feel it is necessary to bring that particular discussion back at this time. The third point regarding the prospective effect on valuations of houses based on their assigned school in the SCSD is an interesting one. The SCSD made the case that there should not be any difference in valuation whatsoever, since all of the schools are excellent and the APIs are all very similar as well. The SCSD also emphasized the point, and it’s a good one, that people should look beyond the APIs in truly evaluating schools. Reading between the lines, the SCSD believes that the reputation that Heather has with some buyers who judge schools solely on APIs is unfair. I wholeheartedly agree with SCSD and here’s why:
(1) First, the API scores for Heather have improved almost every year to the point where they are just a few percentage points away from the other San Carlos schools.
(2) Almost every family that I have talked to that goes to Heather really loves their school.
(3) I believe this is the most important point to emphasize to those that believe Heather is a step behind the other schools, based solely on the API scores: Heather and Arundel feed into Tierra Linda. White Oaks and Brittan Acres feed into Central. The Tierra Linda APIs beat the Central APIs. Clearly, the students at Heather are being prepared appropriately.
There are some buyers who will always hold on to the APIs as if they were gold and not see outside of the prospective scores, no matter how close those scores may be or the other important qualities that a school can provide. I think we have made progress in helping folks see the bigger picture when it comes to San Carlos schools. Hopefully, any hit to valuation is negligible with the new boundary changes. As is the case with most issues, gathering all of the facts before making a judgment is always the best practice.
Could the minor differences in API scores be due to the special education classes that I know are present at Heather as well as Central? From my perspective as a long-time resident with family who’ve gone through the schools, I do believe that they are all excellent and equal.