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School quality and housing markets have always gone hand in hand.

When a realitor can say little about the demographic make-up of an area, often they are left to describe the local school system. This is the say-it-without-saying-it secret everyone seems to accept as ethical. And clearly attendance zone boundaries, ‘neighborhood’ or ‘walkable’ schools, and language like that couches other expectations as to the connection between a school and local residents. But generally, changes in housing trends remain fairly slow-moving when it comes to the connection with local schools. Generally.

The DesignShare team took notice of a story out of San Antonio, Texas recently when an enrollment cut-off for schools sparked a massive home-buying trend as families aggressively sought new homes so that their kids were guaranteed spots in coveted schools:

Home sales and prices in the Stone Oak area of San Antonio hit record levels in the first four months of the year as buyers raced to beat a school enrollment limit being imposed by the North East Independent School District. The San Antonio Express-News reports that nearly 1,100 buyers closed on a house or signed a contract for one by April 30. The district had set that deadline as a way to cap enrollment at the crowded Reagan High and Bush Middle schools. Students from neighborhood homes bought after the deadline will be assigned to other schools.

An anomoly or an increasing trend? If you have an answer, consider interacting with the American Schools & University magazine poll:

This week, the North East school district in San Antonio, Texas, has capped enrollment at a high school and middle school in one neighborhood by telling people who bought homes in the area after April 30 that the schools would not have space for their children. Should districts determine who will be allowed to attend a school based on when someone has moved into the area?

A. Yes, capping enrollment in this way allows a district to have greater control over its space needs and provides adequate notice to families that the school might not have room for their children.
B. No. Districts should establish and adjust attendance boundaries based on where students are living and which facilities can accommodate them, and not take actions that distort the real estate market with arbitrary home-purchasing deadlines.
C. Other.

What do you think?

E-mail your answer and any other comments to mkennedy@asumag.com and we’ll publish them in next week’s Schoolhouse Beat.

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