The best thing I did, was tour the schools while in session and see the children and teachers in action. Would highy recommend this, if you have the ability to live in any school district. Also, talk to PARENTS who have their children in the schools to see what they like and don't like. I often hear volunteers sing the praises of a place, but they haven't ever had a child of their own in attendance - it's a vastly different perspective.
http://www.greatschools.org/ Real estate professionals are prohibited from steering, enticing a buyer to purchase, or not, in specific neighborhoods.
There are websites like w.city-data.com that can give you all sorts of statistics about an area code. It will help you determine if it looks like a "safe" area. An agent will be reluctant to give you their opinion in a public forum because what they say may be interpreted as breaking a law.
For schools, do a search on "review of schools in 95476". Websites such as w.great schools. will have a lot of useful information about the schools. Yes, there are definitely some excellent schools in that area code. Reviewing test scores is one consideration for choosing a school and matching a school to your child's needs and temperament is another consideration.
Feel free to email for more information: Hilary@ilovesonomacounty.com