If you have a child in Fairfax County Public Schools then you might have a different perspective than what people believe when reading Zillow school profiles. For example, the student population has surged in Fairfax County exceeding the projections given to the School Board just last year, and those temporary classroom trailers seem to have become routine to school administrators.
The truth is, when home buyers catch wind that their child’s school “experience” is dysfunctional, they look for homes elsewhere.
“We used to play jumprope at recess” stated my daughter at dinner the other night.
“Why don’t you still?” I asked.
“Because the trailers and the quads now take up the blacktop, so we aren’t allowed to” she said.
With real estate web portals selling people on test results and hard data on student performance, advanced programs, and graduation rates, it is essential that potential home buyers in Fairfax County who have school age kids dig harder into each school to see what is really going on. Many schools are already at or well-over capacity.
FCPS has an excellent web site, and every school has a site too so you should check those out. But if it is really important to you, stop by the school to see if it is a trailer park already. Set up a meeting with the Principal or PTA member… remember: research, research, research!
Are there renovations underway, additions planned, or is there a need for redistricting soon?
I honestly don’t watch the Fairfax school board meetings on Channel 21, but the January 24, 2013 meeting covered a local Vienna
real estate school issue that impacted clients. Needless to say I was impressed with the scope of the job they have at hand, but disturbed at the scope of the job at hand too. Take a look at the chart above which shows the September 30, 2012 actual enrollments at these elementary schools. Yes, they already exceed last year’s forecasts for 2016.
There were over 30,000 jobs created in 2012 in Northern Virginia
If you ask almost any Realtor in Northern Virginia, you will probably learn that people are moving here for two reason:
- A job
- Fairfax County Public Schools
When I mentioned to a couple moving here from California that “this home feeds into XYZ High”, they looked at me in shock because “our California schools stink”.
The value that a good school systems adds is critical to the local real estate market, and it can suffer long-term damaged if Fairfax County earns a reputation for crowded schools where classroom instruction is constantly interrupted ~ like when ten year-olds leave the trailer because they have to walk into the building to go to the bathroom.
On a good note, Fairfax County Public Schools announced on December 21, 2012 a proposal to build three new elementary schools and one new high school. Obviously this is a good development to ease over crowding issues in the future but did not address the future of a new Tysons Corner elementary school. Have you looked at the forecast population growth in Tysons Corner?
Also of note, The Washington Post had an article profiling Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High school, known as TJ, and how the county is trying to get surrounding counties to chip in for a renovation. Although TJ is a nationally known public high school, in my opinion, TJ no longer needs students from surrounding rural counties primarily because those counties have changed significantly in the past thirty years. Plus, the population of Fairfax County has gown by 500,000 residents since the 1970’s and Fairfax residents should come first.
Good Public Schools and Real Estate Values
More than ever the quality of public schools impact the values of our homes. Home buyers should know that boundaries may change and not all elementary schools are currently stuffed to the gills, but, there are plans to shift students here and there which may impact a nice neighborhood school negatively… like taking over the much loved blacktop or playing field.
Taking a look at the schools is something I like to discuss with clients as they are trying to focus on buying a home. Discuss this topic with your Realtor if you aren’t working with me so you can make informed decisions.