The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have been the proverbial "last straw" for many parents regarding public schools. Public schools have long been in decline in the USA and now with COVID protocols and remote learning, mask mandates, and all of the other knee jerk reaction to this pandemic, many parents find themselves home-schooling or paying for private school. The numbers are actually a bit shocking in a state like Washington that has some of the best public schools in America.
Many Clark County school districts are seeing significant enrollment reductions despite massive growth in local population. As is seemingly true with all government entities, they rarely see it coming and often are too sloe to react. School districts are directly funded on a per student basis. District leadership continues to bludgeon parents with unpopular changes to teaching curriculum and a sizable percentage of the public is fed up.
Parents want their students to get an education, in elementary school a rounded mix of English, math, and science as a base for secondary schools where more sophisticated concepts can be introduced. Our schools seem to be off the rails with politics mixing in. There is no place for partisan politics in our public schools, yet they seem to be there anyway. Parents are clearly frustrated and not just one side of the political isle, this has become an almost unifying issue.
So what does this mean for real estate values? There are several areas here in Clark County where neighborhood values are higher largely due to the presence of highly rated public schools. I have often argued that the difference between the best and most popular schools and the least popular is pretty minimal. Washington has an iron clad constitutional mandate to keep all public schools well funded. But that doesn't stop people from paying a premium for neighborhoods with well reviewed schools or districts that have more premium infrastructure.
Parents seeking the best public schools are probably the same parents now making alternative education decisions. Property values that have been driven up over schools could see a slowdown in popularity as parents decide to buy a in a less expensive neighborhood and home school or send the kids to private school. The data is in and it is clear that in person instruction is very important to developing children academically. Hopefully the idiots running the schools at the state level will realize this before the schools suffer tremendous funding shortfalls.
In the mean time, why would a family pay an exorbitant premium for a particular school district if they are not going to send their kids to those schools anyway. That may spell trouble for those neighborhoods over the next few years.