Schools and API Scores
The Academic Performance Index (API) database was replaced by California School Dashboard in late 2017. It uses a system of color-coding school districts and individual schools on a variety of factors, displayed in either pie charts or grids. There has been a lot of controversy with the old API scores system as some feel schools may “test towards the API,” and potentially not have well-balanced curriculum for students. The California School Dashboard has had its share of comments, particularly surrounding how academic performance should be the most important when scoring a school. This system allows for a good overall rating when a school may have poor academics.
How Scores Affect Housing Prices in the Silicon Valley
Historically, there has been a direct correlation between the high API scores (which, as of 12/27/2018 is a program no longer administered by the California Department of Education) and the cost associated with the home. I have seen the exact same home one block away in a different district (with higher API scores) demand $200,000+ more (similar home, comparable lot size, similar living square footage, type of home, etc).
Smart home buyers pay a premium to have their children get an excellent public school education with the idea that they will likely be handsomely rewarding by the next set of parents who will pay an even larger premium when it comes time to sell their home. It’s not about academic scores alone, though.
There are many things I review with my clients in our initial Buyer Consultation. The conversations surrounding schools and scores that I have with my clients who are embarking on the process of buying a home include suggesting that they:
- Look in areas where they feel comfortable (close the activities they enjoy, coffee shops they like to frequent, etc.).
- Look in neighborhoods that have homes that appeal to them and that they can afford.
- Consider what age their children currently are. Will they be attending high school in a couple of years, or are they currently only 2 years old? First time home buyers often think that they will stay in a home forever. The average Silicon Valley family moves every 5 to 7 years (sometimes more frequently). It may not make sense to stretch right now for the house with nearly perfect scores for all three schools (elementary, middle, and high school) when all that is needed for the foreseeable future is a good elementary and middle school.
- Consider the pros and cons of public schools. What is the economic expense from all angles on either choice (public vs. private school)? I’d urge you to speak with your financial advisors. If you don’t have a professional, let me know and I will recommend mine to you.
The bottom line is that when a family is comfortable in their home, their life will be more enjoyable and, as a result, their children’s education and overall happiness will likely be impacted in a positive way.
My aunt used to tell me when I was a little, “Dawn, live where you want to live and everything else will follow (including the job)!
If you have any questions, or want to schedule a private consultation or call, just reach out to me.
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