Its the old question: Which came first the chicken or the egg? You could ask yourself the same question about schools and neighborhoods.
"Do good neighborhoods create better schools? Or do good schools create better neighborhoods?"
The topic has been hotly debated, widely researched and extensively written about. However, there doesn't seem to be a clear answer.
One study by the National Association of REALTORS found that 19% of home buyers cited schools as a top reason for buying in a particular neighborhood. Neighborhood quality was the top reason cited by 62% of home buyers. You could argue "quality" encompasses many things: nearby shopping, close to dining, general condition of homes, and probably schools. In my years of experience, there have been more than a few home buyers that choose to look in one particular school zone. They did not want to see any homes outside that chosen school zone. It was the most important factor influencing their home purchase.
Other home buyers might not be so concerned to make it their top influence, but rarely is a home purchase completed without some substantive discussion of the schools and attendance zones of a neighborhood. In Beaumont, TX you can find out the attendance zone of any home by entering the street address at the BISD website. The Beaumont Independent School District provides this information for any concerned citizen.
School zones have become so important they are even addressed in the residential sale and purchase contract in most states. Real estate companies have grown increasingly demonstrative in disclosing to potential home buyers that school zones can and do change. Home buyers have been know to back out of contracts if a school zone change is announced before closing. Home buyers seem to believe good schools mean good neighborhoods. Then simple laws of supply and demand then kick in.
When demand goes up for a particular school, the homes in that school zone see their market value go up.
If you are a believer in the theory, A good school = a good neighborhood, then you'll want to know the best schools in our area. The Texas Education Agency has an accountability rating system that rates all the schools in Texas. The 2007 District Accountability Summary lists three Beaumont schools with the highest rating -Exemplary- and nine other with the second highest rating -Recognized. Dunbar, French and Price Elementary took the top rating.
Want to know what neighborhoods attend these top notch schools? Click BISD Map to see for yourself.
Surprise! Not any of the top three are located in the west-end of Beaumont which is often thought of as the most sought after residential area. But don't be too alarmed, many of the Recognized schools are in the west-end.
Where does this all lead us? Back to the same question we started with. Do good schools create good neighborhoods or do good neighborhoods create good schools? While there still doesn't seem to be a crystal clear answer one thing is clear. Somewhere out there right now, there is a family deciding where to buy their next home and guess what, they are asking about the schools.