Losing Home Equity to Unaccredited Schools

PASS Parents and Friends:

Want to learn how non-accredited schools may have cost you thousands of dollars? Well, read on…..As you all have heard, this year W.W. Robinson Elementary and North Fork Middle School lost their statewide accreditation over their performance on SOL tests. Peter Muhlenberg Middle School is in danger of being in the same category next year, and if the numbers for Sandy Hook Elementary don’t improve, they will lose accreditation down the road.

What does this mean for local education? Well, it means SCPS is going to become even more focused on the SOL tests than before, and particularly on the 25% of children who aren’t performing on them. Doubtless the large English Language Learner population will be the focus of intensive efforts. The School Board is evaluating creative solutions to try to address this, but all the additional resources they focus on the under-performing kids are going to have to be pulled from programs benefiting other kids, because half of the Board of Supervisors have made clear that they do not support additional resources for education at this point.

Obviously, addressing this problem will require more than just money, and developing that solution will be top-of-mind for SCPS. But lack of money had contributed greatly to the problem, and having additional resources would certainly make solving it easier. However, two of the Supervisors have taken “no new tax pledges” that virtually guarantee that if they are re-elected, SCPS will have to try to solve the problem without it.

The consequences of this situation may affect more than our kids (as if that weren’t enough). One way to grow our local economy is to attract new residents, especially families “in their spending years.” Families are far less likely to buy a house in a place where their kids will have to attend a non-accredited school. (As a Realtor, I can tell you that families research school districts when they are looking to buy.) Having non-accredited schools makes it harder to attract new residents.

It is entirely possible — even likely — that housing prices will fall in the areas with non-accredited schools, as the pool of potential buyers shrinks. You may have saved $60-80 on your property taxes last year because the BOS didn’t raise the rate to 64 cents, but you may well also have lost thousands of dollars in equity in your home as a result of the non-accreditation.

That’s why the upcoming elections for BOS are so important, If you think that this is a crisis that demands additional resources, I urge you to find out where the candidates stand on that.

Abby Walters

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