Home Buying in 92130>Question Details

ramot1973, Home Buyer in 92011

Future of Carmel Valley schools.

Asked by ramot1973, 92011 Tue Nov 27, 2012

We are first time home buyers and are considering buying a home in west-Carlsbad area for its vicinity to work. Having good elementary and middle school is our top most criteria. There are some good schools in west Carlsbad, however, the budget deficit makes the future of these schools uncertain in my opinon. Is Carmel Valley relatively unaffected by budget cuts? Is Pacific Rim of Carlsbad with rating 10 not equivalent to Carmel schools with rating 10? Does it make sense to commute longer distance for supposedly better elementary schools in Carmel Valley? Thank you in advance for your valuable advice.

Help the community by answering this question:


First, the easy answer. The school ratings are a national average so a 10 in Carlsbad is equivalent to a 10 in Carmel. Just as a 10 in the west coast is the same as a 10 in the east coast.

Now, the hard answers.

Elementary and middle schools are less important than high schools. Why? To go to a good elementary or middle school often one just needs to live in the district those schools are in. Some high schools, on the other hand, are grade and test based entrances and location is less of a factor. Plus, it is less important which elementary or middle school one comes from in moving to a higher education as high schools are to a better college.

The other factor I would consider is why schools rate the number they do. Most parents think that the reason a school is rated high is because of the schools excellent program and teachers. If you analyze the numbers involved that really isn't the case. If you look at the test scores of students of most any "good" school you would think they would increase as they go up in grade. For example, 6th graders would score @ 80%, 7th graders @ 85%, and 8th graders @ 90%. This climb in test scores would imply that students get better from the good teachers and programs that school provides with each school year. However, that isn't the case. Most often you will find that all grades (6th grade to 8th grade) will generally score the same across the board, meaning that the students came into the school already that smart. So, the reason for their smartness, isn't the school, although that helps. It is more often that these high scoring students have a good family based structure in their home. And, the reason why some schools have a higher incidence of smart kids is just for the plain fact that we, as parents, just want our kids to be around other kids that are just as smart.

As far as your question on whether to commute a longer distance for a better school. I wouldn't do it for elementary or middle, but I would probably do it for a high school.

Good luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2012
It is extremely difficult, if not impossible to predict the budgetary effects upon school districts. That being said, the ranking scale that you are referencing is utilized by the great schools website and is not an official metric. The API score is the number that matters. However, even that is not a perfect picture. It is a good idea to look at the School Accountability Report Card (SARC).

Here is the link for Pacific Rim: http://carlsbad.schoolwisepress.com/home/site.aspx?entity=21…
The 2011 is the most current, 2012 should be out shortly.
Pacific Rim's API for 2011 was 975 - 6th overall for primary schools.

I imagine the end goal is giving your children the greatest opportunity to get into top colleges. Since, the college admissions committees only looks at high school performance, I would weight the high schools a little bit higher in importance.
Many Carmel Valley residents attend Torrey Pines, Canyon Crest Academy, or San Dieguito Academy. For the 2011 year CCA ranked #2 & Torrey ranked #5 in the API scores for San Diego County public high schools. For a list of all the API scores:

Hopefully, this helps with your decision making process.

If you need assistance in buying a home, please contact me.

Jim Hiatt
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2012
I wouldn't recommend commuting farther to work in order to live near "better" public schools. Some of the things being taught in the pubic schools these days need to be untaught by the parents when the children come home from school, regardless of which public school they attend. Since a longer commute to work would require sacrificing time with the children, I wouldn't recomment it. The public schools in Carlsbad are equivalent to the public schools in Carmel Valley. Both are very nice areas and both have good public schools--as far as public schools go. Of course, private schools are the best option if the budget allows. As far as property values, west Carlsbad is one of the areas that really held its value during the downturn. Since it would be closer to work, Carlsbad would probably be the best choice. After all, you will probably be on the job longer than your children will be in school. Let me know when you are ready to see some properties and I will send you detailed listings of properties that meet your criteria.

Tera George

Coastal Realty
(760) 931-0345
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2012
Hi Ramot1973,
Both of the areas you are considering are very good choices and you would be happy in either community. Schools receive a lot of the funding from property taxes, so the higher the property values the more money the schools will receive. Also, regardless of budget deficits or cuts higher end communities find ways to raise money to make up the difference. I live in Penasquitos part of the Poway Unified School District and although we have gone through many years of budget cuts, we have also had voter approved bonds for school repairs. Carmel Valley and West Carlsbad are both highly rated school districts.
I would suggest that you visit the schools and talk with the principle. Talk to the teachers, PTA president, etc... and you will learn more in those conversations than in any other format.
Best to you,
Janet McCarthy
Professional Realtor
Connect Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2012
I went to K through 12 in Carlsbad, and I came out just fine. I pursued a Computer Engineering degree at USC and have since become a Real Estate investor and Broker Associate. Good parenting is more important than good schools, and a long commute might detract from your good parenting. Both Carlsbad and Carmel Valley are great communities, so live where it makes most sense.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2012
I am a local resident of 20 years in San Diego and Carmel Valley schools have always been regarded as top notch. Loads and loads of families move there for the schools. When market prices plunged 33%, Carmel Valley prices only went down 25% because of its desirability.

When buying a home, the only think you can do is make the best decision with the facts you have now. No one can predict the future. This applies to your house, your schools, and your life. I do recommend you research school ratings on this website: http://www.greatschools.org.

Please let me know if I may be of additional assistance to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2012
The best advice you got from the other question you asked specifically on Carlsbad is talk to other parents whose kids have gone or go to the respective schools. The second best advice you got was that teachers make the difference. I would say the principal makes a difference as well. One of the best things you can do to ensure a good education for your kids is to get involved in the school - be known to the teachers and principal in a positive light. Any school in any district is going to have its issues and its highlights, most of which is not in your control.

Those rankings you are looking at are based on assessment testing that occurs in the spring and the principals look good to the Superintendent when they can show they have improved scores.. In some cases, there is a bit of teaching that goes on to cater to those tests....to boost scores. It is the equivalent of getting 100% on your DMW driver's license test - to do so you need to memorize a decent amount of useless information. Some go to the extreme of having the kids practice with last year's tests. My point is that there are other things to consider beyond that score.

If you are truly concerned about budget deficit and what it will do to education, enroll in private school.

A discussion outside a public forum will get you the most candid, valuable information that you are seeking. Let me know if I can be of service.

(760) 525-8698
CA DRE 01775528
NMLS 980076
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2012
Dear Ramot1973,

As REALTORS we cannot comment on school districts because it would be considered steering or redlining. We have to tell you to do your own research or we can lose our license, and you have no idea how helpless I feel. In my opinion, your kids will do just fine because they have parents like you. Do your research, talk to parents, PTA, ask for the curriculum of their classes.

Although I don't agree with raising taxes, this should give you some piece of mind, the people of California decided to temporarily raise the taxes on successful folks (7 yrs.) and sales tax (4 yrs.) by passing prop 30, but rejected a measure that would have required everyone's taxes to be increased by rejecting prop 38. My take, it is easier to be generous with other folks' money than your own because prop 38 would have raised taxes on everyone. Sorry for the political/tax rant,but it makes me sick every time they raise my taxes and I needed to vent a little.

I would love to help you find the home that best fits your needs. BTW, I just sold a home in that area 2 months ago, and my clients really love everything about the area.

A strategic geographical advantage I like about the Carlsbad area is that it gives you options to work either in Orange or San Diego County.

Hector R. Gastelum
Realty Executives Dillon
REALTOR #01382940
efax 619-270-2516
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2012
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