Coronado ranks first in our study and the citt's biggest draw for families is the school system. There are two elementary schools, one middle school and the high school. All receive high ratings with GreatSchools (greatschools.org), a nonprofit that uses test scores to assign schools a score between 1 and 10.
Our City used these scores in part to calculate a neighborhood score based on elementary, middle and high schools. Coronado ranks seventh with a 9.25 average, according to GreatSchools. But other factors, such as access to day care and walking access to elementary schools, were also used by us to rank schools. That pushed Coronado to the top of our rankings.
The best schools, according to GreatSchools, are found in Torrey Highlands, with a perfect 10, But the other data points lowered its ranking to third over all. The median neighborhood had a 6.5 score, with the lowest, Barrio Logan, at 3.44.
Schools have long been considered one of the most important factors for a good neighborhood for families. We agree. Our City assigned school quality with the highest weight in our study at 20 percent.
Look at Poway as an example. For years, that city’s school system was a powerful draw and a major reason for its growth.
“We used to get people who would walk in all the time for the school district,” said Jim Reifeiss, a real estate agent who works in Poway and Rancho Bernardo. “Schools are the number one factor for many homebuyers.”
Reifeiss chose to live in Poway because of the good schools.
“If you live in a community where the schools are a priority, you get a lot of the other things that make a great neighborhood — like facilities and a sense of community.”
But while Poway was the go-to neighborhood for schools 10 years ago, times have changed. The city now ranks 22nd in school quality, which is good, but not good enough to pull in homebuyers like it used to. The recent controversy regarding the expensive Poway school bonds hasn’t helped matters.
Coronado, in comparison, has maintained a stellar school system by turning to residents for donations.
“Coronado parents put together a foundation in 1985 that annually raises $400,000,” Tanaka said. “There is a very strong network of giving back.”
Those funds have traditionally paid for new computers and other expenses, not including salaries. But in recent years, as the state has cut back on funding, the foundation has funded resource teachers and other positions.
That, of course, is one of the benefits of living in a very affluent neighborhood. The median home price in 2012 was $1.285 million, making it the fourth highest zip code in San Diego County. Only Rancho Sante Fe, Del Mar and La Jolla were more expensive.
Still, Tanaka said rents are affordable in the city of 25,000 people. That includes for a fairly large Navy population.