Killing Home Values — Another Lesson from the GASD

I spoke to some friends recently who will be enrolling their son in Kindergarten this year at the GASD.

As each elementary school in the district is now a magnet school, the enrollment process works as a lottery. The enrollment form is here. So parents select their preference of the four schools in a ranked order and then a random selection occurs that determines where your child will be placed.

Therefore, it’s impossible to know precisely where your child(ren) will attend elementary school. So you could live around the corner from an elementary school but due to the random nature of the lottery, your child may have to be bussed across town.

As schools tend to be one of the top criteria in deciding where to live, I’m struck at how much this runs counter to supporting home values and livability of living in the district. I’m curious as to how realtors explain this to out-of-town byers without screaming in frustration.

But the best part, or most ironic part, or just idiotic part, is that the assignment of schools on a random basis assures that the distance that children must be transported — whether by bus or by parent– must increase compared to a neighborhood school. This is truly astounding given two key trends: the focus on “green” and sustainability ; and the direction of gas prices.

The driver for magnet schools is not related to promoting educational programs but to collecting dollars available for magnet programs. What’s lost in the race toward magnet schools is the “hidden” cost that this incurs in longer transportation routes and in wreaking havoc with home values given the uncertainty of which school your child will attend. Does it make any sense that educational choices are strictly the random selection of your child’s name from a computer program? Does it make sense to increase the transportation distance given the new reality of gas prices?Do home buyers want to move to an area with a random process of selecting your elementary school?

I’m amazed there has been no pushback to the magnet program. Am I alone on this?

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