Schools are one of the key deciding factors for many families when choosing a site for their next home. Even for families without children, school ratings impact resale value, and schools impact property taxes. All Mueller homes fall within the jurisdiction of the Austin Independent School District – AISD, and as of 2012 there is no Mueller School within the development.
[edit: coincidentally at the same time I was writing this, I got an email from one of the neighbors who is on the Mueller Education Advisory Team - a grass roots organization looking at schools for Mueller. This is what it says:
There is a misconception that everyone in Mueller is going to send their kids to private school, thus negating the need for a school here. When I go to my sons' school, I see so many Muellerites not only bringing their kids, but bringing their time and effort to make the school great. Many of us moved to Mueller to be involved in our community, and our public schools are part of that community.So while the rest of this blog post talks about public school ratings, it bears repeating that many neighbors support public over private schools.]
To be frank, Texas public schools are not renowned for their academic ratings, and the stereotype of East Austin schools is that they could be better. If you check out any of the generalizations on the fora at city-data.com, you’ll see people saying that Eanes ISD and homes in West Austin track to the best performing schools. As a Realtor, I am prohibited ethically from passing personal comment on whether schools are good are not as this is subjective opinion. If you take a look at the Texas Education Authority’s own ratings for Austin Schools, you can draw your own conclusions.
But if you ask most neighborhood parents, school ratings aren’t the whole story. There are many critics of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) which was the main academic testing scheme used between 2003 and 2011. It is gradually being replaced by 2014 with the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR). So where else can you look for school reviews and information?
You can use sites like schooldigger.com and greatschools.org to see other schools that are available and how they are perceived. I prefer greatschools.org as it seems to have a more complete list of schools, and when you select a school, it gives you a simple comparison with other public and private schools nearby. There are far more reviews on greatschools.org than on schooldigger.com, and while a review is only as valid as the review approval process, the number and length of reviews speaks to me. The key advantage of schooldigger.com is that it graphically presents statistical and demographic data.
So which public schools do neighborhood schools track to? In general Mueller is split into two camps, with the majority of the the homes built before 2012 tracking to:
Maplewood -> Kealing -> McCallum
[Note - there have been some erroneous data in the MLS for four Mueller home listings which have cited the incorrect middle and high schools for these homes for sale. This is due to the way in which data for the MLS is automagically populated from the tax records, and the tax records in those instances did not agree with AISD. My money is on AISD. ]
The Section 6 homes now track to:
Blanton -> Pearce -> Reagan
Here are some more resources for these public schools:
- Maplewood Elementary school site and trulia reviews
- Blanton Elementary school site and trulia reviews
- Kealing Middle School school site for the magnet and comprehensive academic programs and trulia reviews
- Pearce Middle School school turnaround plan (2011) and trulia reviews this school may become a single sex school
- Reagan High School school site and spirited discussion in the trulia reviews
- McCallum High School school site and large volume of trulia reviews
Choosing a school for your family can be a big deal. My advice is to talk to the parents who have chosen each school you are interested in for their family and build a picture before you go on a school visit. Here’s a great article on questions to ask at a school visit. If you want to know more, get in touch or call 512 215 4785.