The gentleman below mentioned that there is a portion of Walnut Creek that feeds into Lafayette schools. You may want to look at the houses that are along Olympic Blvd., West of Hwy 680. That's the general area that feeds into the Lafayette schools (although you'd want to confirm any house w/the owner/realtor).
I'd say that another thing to take into consideration when you look at the three towns is location. W/Lafayette being on a BART line, it's far easier to get into SF during a work day than Alamo & Blackhawk. If you're at home but thinking about going back to work some time in the future, that's something to think about. You can get to SF, Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Ramon/Bishop Ranch and Pleasanton all w/in 45 minutes either driving or taking BART.
Look at the Great Schools website. Lafayette schools are ranked neck and neck w/the best districts in Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara Counties; as well as the City of Piedmont.
There are a small amount of apartments in Lafayette that may be a bit lower on the socio-economic spectrum, but I've not heard it impacting the quality of the schools.
In fact, our family (and I know countless others) move to Lafayette BECAUSE the schools are great. Yes, you pay more for a smaller home that you can get in other communities, but homes keep their values (relatively speaking), it's convenient to SF and its beautiful.
Re the market in Lafayette. Yes, there's been some correction in the market, but when you compare to 95% of the Bay Area, we're keeping our value pretty well. Pulling this data straight from Trulia, May - July -08 the avg selling price has declined 2.2% vs. the same time as LY. In this economy, I'd take that any day of the week!
If people are cutting their original asking price by $200K+, then my bet is that they had an unrealistic expectation of the market to begin with. Gone are the days (at least for now) when you can have a 94549 zip and just "assume" that the market will go up every quarter.
But we're just a short hop away from Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, etc where their values truly have dropped by 20% - 25%. Many of those who bought there are 1st time home buyers w/limited equity. I feel for them.
No district is "utopia"- but I have not heard what Susan referenced and based upon some of her other posts about how Lafayette is "so overpriced and is due for a 25% market correction" I wonder what her movitation is in her under-selling the schools...
The curriculum for all the Lafayette schools is outstanding for any child in the highest performance rankings ... some of the elementary classrooms score several grades ahead of their actual grade ... perfect and challenging for those kids working at that level, but it might be time to be cautious if your 5th grader (for example) tests out normal for a 5th grader ... and everyone else in the class is working at the 8th grade level.
Best of luck,
Melissa Mancini, Realtor, CBR, GRI