I hold a lot of open homes in Almaden Valley and the vast majority of prospective buyers tell me the main reason they’re looking in 95120 is for the excellent public schools. Many of them also suffer sticker shock at Almaden home values: Average list price of $1.07 million even in today’s depressed market.
Many of these buyers also are surprised when I tell them they can get equally good public elementary and middle schools in nearby Cambrian (95124) for an average of $400,000 less ($671,407). Before I prove it, a caveat: The main reason for the price gap is the relative size of the homes. In Almaden, it’s 4-or-5 bedrooms and 2415 square feet and in Cambrian, it’s 3-or-4 bedrooms and 1554 square feet. The gap in price-per-square foot of list prices is actually quite small, $412 in Almaden and $396 in Cambrian.
That said, here are the comparisons for selected elementary-school and middle-school API test scores:
- Los Alamitos Elementary (916)
- Graystone Elementary (958)
- Simonds Elementary (968)
- Williams Elementary (972)
- Castillero Middle (804)
- Bret Harte Middle (909)
- Bagby Elementary (924)
- Carlton Elementary (930)
- Guadalupe Elementary (930)
- Alta Vista Elementary (938)
- Union Middle School (892)
- Dartmouth Middle (900)
Before you jump down my throat, yes, I’m aware that some of these schools’ service areas don’t fit comfortably within certain zips. Guadalupe, for instance, is located within 95120 and serves many western Almaden households. But it’s also part of the 95124-based Union School District and serves some Cambrian homes. Similarly, Dartmouth Middle is located in 95118 and serves both Almaden and Cambrian students.
My point is that elementary and middle school scores in the two areas are virtually a statistical dead heat.
High schools are a different story, but I would point out that Leigh High School (816), which serves many Cambrian homes, has pulled virtually even with Pioneer High (825), which serves a lot of homes in Almaden.
So, if public schools are important to you but your budget is closer to $750,000 than $1 million – and you don’t necessarily need 2,000 square feet or more – Cambrian is full of great neighborhoods and well-built (often fully updated) homes.
And don’t forget, you can research both API scores and demographics of any California public school by finding the school house down the right rail of this blog and clicking where it says “Click here to get school test scores.” Duh.