Location, location, location. These three words are magic to the professionals in the real estate industry. They feel that the value of a piece of property rises and falls based on where the property is located. However, I use another set of three words to describe value…location, location, education. These three words describe what families use when considering a move into a new town. They want to be sure that this community has the best schools and that their children will receive the best education so they will be prepared for entry into the 21st century.
Foster City has always been known for its excellent schools. A recent report from the California Department of Education describing the Academic Performance Index (API) scores of all schools in the San Mateo-Foster City District showed that the three elementary schools in Foster City, Audubon, Brewer Island and Foster City Elementary had the highest API scores of all 15 elementary schools in the district and that Bowditch Middle School led the other middle schools with the highest API scores as well.
The performance of these schools clearly demonstrates why families are moving into town. We’re getting a lot of new students and, at the same time, our property values have maintained their prices in spite of what else is going on with the rest of the state.
With an influx of new students and an already overburdened school population, there seems to be compelling evidence that we do need another elementary school and that Bowditch will soon need to be expanded as well. The school district has been trying for many years to find a suitable site to build that 4th school but to-date has not been successful. At a recent school board meeting the trustees along with the superintendent felt that it would be useful and desirable to reach out to the community to receive input so that a 4th school location could be identified. They plan to set up an advisory group consisting of interested community members to work together, discuss alternatives and, hopefully, come up with an option or two that can be agreed upon. The writing of this article is prior to a joint City Council/School District Board meeting on the 26th, but I am hoping at that meeting, parameters would be determined on the make-up of the advisory group and how interested residents can either serve on this group or attend its meetings. These opportunities will be well advertised.
Just as important as school performance, “location” in terms of schools means that children can get to and from schools safely. The school district and the city have been having fruitful discussions so we can get the children to school safely. An important component of that safety is to have school crossing guards at critical intersections at our three elementary schools. Rather than engaging in any ‘finger pointing’ as to who should be paying the cost of the crossing guards the committee has focused on child safety as the primary issue and that, together, we will find a solution to the funding of the crossing guards.
Several options were discussed on how we could pay for these guards. We discussed trying to secure a grant or reaching out to PTA’s, individuals and to the business community for their assistance.
If you have any thoughts as to how we could fund this most important child safety issue I would welcome your input. Please call me at City Hall, 286-3501 or email me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.