School Growth

The new and improved Foster City school looks fantastic, huh? Yet, the discussion/debate about more schools continues. It continues for good reason too. Oddly, or not oddly, the subject of new schools is a hot one in communities all over the Peninsula. Seems like everywhere I go I hear constant debate about this topic. I’ve got some clients looking in Los Altos and it came to light on a house we were looking at that the gorgeous park that was just at the end of the street from a home we were looking at was being considered for redevelopment into an elementary school. As you can imagine, plenty of folks in this part of Los Altos are not looking too kindly to the idea.

Same story here of course…as it is in San Carlos and San Mateo and on and on and on. How do we resolve it? Overcrowding in schools is a real concern. 250 kids a year are joining just the San Mateo-Foster City school district. That’s a need for 75 new classrooms. Bowditch has a plan to ad onto the school and accept 5th graders to take the edge off of the elementary schools. There’s lots of kids out there and this issue is simply not going away. Available vacant land isn’t being created…there’s going to have to be a solution for all these new kids and demand for schools. There solution is going to have to come from us paying for it in some way…and it’s going to come from in an area of land that will need to be redeveloped for that purpose.


I guess it goes without saying that good schools are a pretty good element for an community’s property values. Good schools are a reason people decide to live in certain places. In Foster City the schools are both fantastically good and are also a very good reason why prices are stable here. Every year the API scores for all the FC schools shine and as a result many people are attracted to this town.

Basic stuff you say, right? Well what surprises me is how VERY important this seems to have gotten this year. The market turned around and multiple offers are now the rule again…in many places. Not all places though. It sure seems to me that buyers are more discriminating about where they are willing to write over bids on. San Carlos, Palo Alto (obviously), Menlo Park, Burlingame, parts of San Mateo, Belmont, Millbrae and Foster City have done very well this year. Other areas with weaker schools…not so much.

I wrote 3 offers in Foster City on different properties in the last week. All of them had multiple offers and went well over the asking price. In San Carlos it seems like everything that comes up is getting overbid. A large 4 bedroom house on Melendy ( a busy street) got multiples a few days ago. Meanwhile, I have a listing on a VERY nice home in Redwood City that’s 1) Priced well, 2) is in fantastic condition and 3) is in a very nice neighborhood…yet I’ve had slow traffic at best and not even a hint of an offer, much less multiple offers. The only explanation is the reputation of the schools. How did I have 300 people at 2 open houses in September at a listing in San Carlos, get multiple offers with the winner going $275,000 over asking? A few weeks later I get 60 or 70 people at 2 open houses in Redwood City and get no interest and almost a full week before we have an agent showing.

Really, it’s amazing! It has to be the schools. People have become more focus than ever on this one single criteria. They’re willing to pay more to get it too and that makes it so much more competitive in the good areas.

Square 1 for a 4th School









Well, it’s back to the drawing board for those hoping to add a 4th elementary school in Foster City…or in outlying San Mateo for that matter. Due to opposition, the idea of re-creating Charter Square for said school via a bond was dropped last Thursday by the school board. This has been a pretty wild and circular ride trying to find and agree on a suitable site for this school and who knows if it ever will happen? Here’s a couple of pretty informative links on this topic.

Elementary School Bond Put On Hold


What Will It Take To Build A New Elementary School?

New API’s

  API   Met Growth Target
  2011 Growth 2010 Base 2010-11 Growth Target 2010-11 Growth   School-
All Subgroups Both Schoolwide
and Subgroups


SAN MATEO-FOSTER CITY 840 839 D 1        
Elementary Schools
  Albion H. Horrall Elementary 730 724 5 6   Yes No No
  Audubon Elementary 901 901 A 0   Yes Yes Yes
  Baywood Elementary 932 943 A -11   Yes No No
  Beresford Elementary 829 830 A -1   Yes No No
  Brewer Island Elementary 951 948 A 3   Yes Yes Yes
  College Park Elementary 825 785 5 40   Yes No No
  Fiesta Gardens International Elementary 753 776 5 -23   No No No
  Foster City Elementary 936 940 A -4   Yes Yes Yes
  George Hall Elementary 834 821 A 13   Yes No No
  Highlands Elementary 873 865 A 8   Yes No No
  Laurel Elementary 858 838 A 20   Yes Yes Yes
  Meadow Heights Elementary 859 854 A 5   Yes No No
  North Shoreview Elementary 865 846 A 19   Yes Yes Yes
  Park Elementary 747 759 5 -12   No No No
  Parkside Elementary 786 764 5 22   Yes Yes Yes
  Sunnybrae Elementary 788 809 A -21   No No No
Middle Schools
  Abbott Middle 783 821 A -38   No No No
  Borel Middle 829 812 A 17   Yes Yes Yes
  Bowditch Middle 909 906 A 3   Yes Yes Yes
  THE Bayside S.T.E.M. ACADEMY 720 714 5 6   Yes No No

Once again, the State of California has released their API scores for schools and, no surprise, Foster City schools are doing incredibly well. Brewer Island went up to 951 and continues to be the top elementary school in the district while Audobon stayed even at 901 while FC School dropped slightly…although to a spectacular 936 from 940. Bowditch is also the top middle school as well. This continues to be good news for homeowners here as these scores always weigh favorably on buyers making their decisions. Congratulations to the schools!

4th School Delay

The big $25 million bond to build a 4th Foster City school will not go on the November ballot after all. Officials decided last night to pull it to conduct more studies on the possible site. They’re pretty tight lipped about their location as well. District officials are still planning to construct the new school, they just need more time to put it all together before it goes before voters. Here’s a link to the SM Daily Journal article about this:

Schools Pull Bond From Ballot

New School=Tax

It would appear that the addition of a fourth school here in Foster City is going to come along with a tax in order to pay for it. The land can be purchased through funds through the 2008 Measure L. The contruction of the new school is to be funded by a bond measure costing $18 to $20 per $100,000 of a home’s assessed value.

The details of this big event were published in the Daily Journal a couple of days ago. Here’s a link:

Fourth School May Mean Tax For Foster City

How Much?

Now a dollar figure has been attached to building a 4th elementary school in Foster City. That number is 40 million. It would be come via a bond measure that would likely go before FC voters this November too.

What’s interesting is that the vote will most likely be contained to Foster City residents only. The cost won’t be shared by the San Mateo side of the district…which has typically been the case in the past. This’ll sure be an interesting arguement. I’m going to be anxious to see how it plays out in the community! Here’s a link to the SM Daily Journal article:

New School In Foster City May Require $40 Million Bond

So Close…Yet So Far

In yet another classic example of a dog chasing it’s own tail…the San Mateo-Foster City School District is targeting private property in Foster City on which to build a new elementary school. Here’s how the Mercury-News reported it the other day:

“District officials told the board Thursday that they plan to pursue talks over the next two months to acquire private land in Foster City. The district would also survey residents to determine what they are willing to do to support construction of a fourth elementary school in Foster City, officials said.”

Seems like it was just a  month or so ago that the District was talking about a big parcel in San Mateo at the end of Mariner’s Island Blvd. Guess that’s not the only idea they’re thinking about. I just have one question though…any idea where this big piece of public land is going to come from? The only big vacant area I can think of is the dreaded 15 acre site/Village Square. I’m thinking the city’s not going to give that one up. They’ve been clear on this one in the past…as they should be in my opinion. Outside of that, where is this dream property coming from? Think the Metro Center is going to be bulldozed? Is Charter Square big enough? Where’s is this elusive private 5 acres?

I sort of had to laugh at the last part of that quote above too…about the district surveying residents about their willingness to build a 4th elementary school. Are they going to ask residents to give up their residences? Maybe half of Antigua could be bought…or all of Foster’s Landing or Lantern Cove? Actually, come to think of it, I did hear a rumor a few years ago about Lantern Cove being sold or converted into condos…maybe it could be scraped and the land converted into a school!

I honestly can’t think of another alternative…can you? Meanwhile, the photo above sort of says it all to me. One day dizziness will probably cause an end to all this. One things for sure…we havn’t heard the end of this topic. Here’s the wholoe Merc story:

School District Pursues Private Land In Foster City For New Campus

The 4th School

The San Mateo-Foster City school district has come up with a new idea about the addition of another elementary school for kids in this town. It’s going to be discussed tonight in closed session at a board meeting, but the idea is that a 4th school could be added at the end of Mariners Island Blvd (technically in San Mateo) and end the drama and arguement about what part of FC (park, 15 acre site…etc) gets the school.

The area is an almost 3 acre lot that’s essentially across the street from Gilead Sciences and 3rd Avenue. A developer had the idea for a condo project at that location but never followed through with their plans…thus the opportunity for this l0cation.

Seems like an interesting compromise, but certainly it’s one that would eliminate most of the Foster City kids being able to walk to the school. Anyway, here’s a link to the San Mateo Daily Journal story:

Vacant Lot Eyed For New School Site

What Else Is New?

  API   Met Growth Target
  2010 Growth 2009 Base 2009-10 Growth Target 2009-10 Growth   School-
All Subgroups Both Schoolwide
and Subgroups


SAN MATEO-FOSTER CITY 846 836 D 10        
Elementary Schools
  Albion H. Horrall Elementary 731 729 5 2   No No No
  Audubon Elementary 908 890 A 18   Yes Yes Yes
  Baywood Elementary 941 946 A -5   Yes Yes Yes
  Beresford Elementary 841 780 5 61   Yes Yes Yes
  Brewer Island Elementary 952 949 A 3   Yes Yes Yes
  College Park Elementary 738 763 5 -25   No No No
  Fiesta Gardens International Elementary 776 769 5 7   Yes No No
  Foster City Elementary 952 932 A 20   Yes Yes Yes
  George Hall Elementary 818 823 A -5   Yes No No
  Highlands Elementary 879 872 A 7   Yes Yes Yes
  Laurel Elementary 861 841 A 20   Yes No No
  Meadow Heights Elementary 854 842 A 12   Yes No No
  North Shoreview Elementary 841 852 A -11   Yes No No
  Park Elementary 766 789 5 -23   No No No
  Parkside Elementary 767 777 5 -10   No No No
  Sunnybrae Elementary 808 799 1 9   Yes Yes Yes
Middle Schools
  Abbott Middle 832 803 A 29   Yes Yes Yes
  Borel Middle 816 826 A -10   Yes No No
  Bowditch Middle 912 910 A 2   Yes Yes Yes
  THE Bayside S.T.E.M. ACADEMY 722 696 5 26   Yes Yes Yes

OK, here we go again! This time the State of California’s Academic Performance Index (API’s) came out…and all of Foster City’s schools lead the pack in this district. All three are over the 900 mark, congratulations to Audobon School for making that increase! Both Foster City School and Brewer Island School are tied for the district’s top spot. Needless to say…it’s really impressive. Listed alphbetically above, Foster City does an amazing job when compared to others…and that includes Bowditch Middle School as well. It’s also interesting to note that FC schools outpace all of the similar schools in the vaunted communities of Burlingame and San Carlos as well. Congrats you guys!