Open enrollment and real estate
February 10th, 2012
07:25 AM ET

Open enrollment and real estate

By Jim Roope, CNN Radio

Listen to CNN Radio's podcast on open enrollment from Jim Roope.

(CNN) Parents in Los Angeles may soon have the opportunity to apply to send their children to whatever school they choose. Open enrollment, the policy of eliminating school district boundaries, could, however, harm certain segments of the economy. One segment that could be adversely affected is real estate.

“Open enrollment is kind of a mirror to me of busing without the bus ride,” said Stuart Venner, a national real estate adviser and consultant. “People want pride in their neighborhood, pride in their area. When you have people coming in that may disrupt their way of life really, I think it’s going to lower and hurt the housing market in an area that doesn’t need to be hurt any worse right now.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District is considering open enrollment to stem the tide of kids leaving district schools for charter schools. But L.A. real estate agent Leti Venderstein doesn’t like the idea.

“I think it’s going to impact [real estate],” she said. “Values probably will come down in certain areas, what you would call good school districts.”

The L.A. Unified School District is the second-largest in the nation, with more than 660,000 students enrolled in K-12. The Clark County School District in Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, is the seventh-largest district. It instituted open enrollment a few years ago, and Vegas real estate agent Rosa Herwick says early economic concerns softened after initial fears.

“Last year, only 1,200 students applied to go to different schools out of 310,000,” Herwick said.

Still, in other parts of the country such as Iowa’s Eddyville-Blakesburg school district, choice schools became overcrowded, causing home values to fall in some neighborhoods. But real estate professionals in that district also said that home values in less desirable areas increased slightly, since parents weren’t locked into one school.

Superintendent John Deasy of the L.A. Unified School District will study the effects of open enrollment on his city for the next few weeks and is expected to make a recommendation in mid-April.

Posted by
Filed under: Podcast • Policy • School choice
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Thalakos

    i live in mass. we have school choice and it has not effected real estate prices. also u either take the bus to the local school or the parent has to bring u to your Choice school. its a little different here because its from one city to the next. i live in western mass and could enroll my kids in boston if i got them there everyday. LA is one huge area tho so politics r different regarding busing. here town taxes pay for the busing to go to that area school. if u want to go further than that school either move closer or figure out how to get there.

    February 12, 2012 at 3:55 am |
  2. ted

    Of course, everyone wants a better quality without paying more. Not a fair game. Better school district / residents pay higher property taxes.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • ed

      thats right should be one set property tax for all areas

      February 12, 2012 at 4:40 am |
      • roflcopters

        You really need to think about what you just said...schools make more money from higher income people...by dropping the rate to a "flat rate", you are effectively giving either a tax break to the rich or increasing taxes on the poor in said district. This system is flawed but there is no way to fix it that doesnt penalize some and reward others. At the end of the day, the school that has the most money can afford better buildings and can spend more on teachers which attracts the top teachers in the areas. People need to start drilling the importance of education into their kids from not only a perspective of how important it is to be well educated but how important it will be for their kids. Better education leads to higher income jobs which gets circled back into better education for your kids.

        February 12, 2012 at 5:24 am |
  3. U ROCK EVERYONE

    wow groovy is every one tired of loosing sleep LET THE GOVERMENT WORRY ITS THEIR BROKEN SYSTEM

    February 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  4. CADude

    No Bussing! Claims of discrimination, racial bias and lawsuits will follow. More tax dollars down the drain!

    February 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  5. smthnice

    Yeah, real estate prices are so much more important than getting children the education they need to keep OUR society going in the future... Also most charter/magnet schools have an enrollment cap, so no 30+ classrooms and the kids that don't get in go on a waiting list. As for sending your kids to a "gang infested" school... get a grip. All kids need an education and getting them an education is the ONLY thing that will even hope to help bad areas. Yes, I'm a parent, yes, I'm a teacher and yes this is a good thing if done properly.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  6. Jennifer

    The cost of busing children to the schools is an invalid point. Open enrollment doesn't mean that the district has to bus the children to the school that they choose. In fact, part of open enrollment is that it's the parent's responsibility to get their child(ren) to their school. If a place chooses to bus students to whatever school they want to go to, that's the district's problem and bad fiscal management on their part.

    Children will still go to the crappy schools because parents aren't able to get their child(ren) to the better schools. The bad schools will not close down nor will they lose all that many parents. For the most part, people live in the bad school areas because that's where they can afford to live. Most of these families also can't afford to transport their children across town to better schools (whether it be work conflicts, unreliable transportation, or whatever).

    Real estate prices won't be affected that much. Keep in mind, schools still have to allow the kids that are zoned for that school to go their first. They then have to consider those that have applied for open enrollment. Fire codes and capacity limits still have to be obeyed. Open enrollment doesn't guarantee that just because you've applied for a different school that your child will get to go there.

    My hometown has had open enrollment forever (25+ years). The good schools are still the good schools. The crappy schools still have plenty of students at them and remain open. Transportation to a school in which you are not zones for is not the responsibility of the district but rather the responsibility of the parents. (Granted the district is never nor has it ever been legally obligated to transport children to and from school, but that's a whole other issue.) This is people panicking about change and not taking the time to think it through. Personally, I think that every place should have open enrollment policies.

    February 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  7. vma

    Wasss a happening! Of course it will affect real estate. People pay tens of thousands of dollars more just to live on the other side of a street if it changes school disctricts.

    February 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  8. JOSE0311USMC

    EAST LA

    February 10, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  9. JOSE0311USMC

    IF IN LA HAVE A CHOICE OF SCHOOLS , THAT MEANS THAT EAST LA SCHOOLS WILL SHUT DOWN ?? NO PARENT WANT THEIR KIDS IN DRUG INFESTED SCHOOLS.....THAT WILL ALSO OVER CROWD OTHER SCHOOLS IN GOOD NEIGHBORHOODS .....I'M A HISPANIC GUY, IF I LIVE IN A WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD I WOULD NOT WANT KIDS FROM EAST LA OVER CROWDING MY SCHOOL...IS GOING TO BE MESSY....NO PARENT IS GOING TO WANT THEIR KIDS GOING TO GANG INFESTED SCHOOLS. MEANING THAT ALL THE HISPANIC KIDS-POOR BLACKS ARE GOING TO WHITE SCHOOLS...WHAT IF THERE IS NO ROOM ?? 50 KIDS PER CLASS ? LOL.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Our district ended their choice program after 6 years mainly because running the buses became just too expensive. When we first moved into the area there were 5 houses on our street with elementary school aged kids. None of them went to the same school. Buses were running all over with very few kids in them. They were having to schedule school start times all over the place so that the buses could handle all of the routes.
      And on top of that, most people preferred zoned schools. Going back to zoned was painful, but worth it.

      February 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm |