Property Values Could Drop With New School Boundaries

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COLUMBIA - Homes in neighborhoods affected by public high school redistricting could experience drops in property values, but a member of the Columbia Board of Realtors said she does not foresee any dramatic change in prices.

After the Secondary Enrollment Planning Committee for Columbia Public Schools whittled more than 100 proposals for redistricting down to just three plans Thursday morning, president-elect Kim Coleman said current proposals to switch boundaries for Rock Bridge, Hickman and the new Battle High School could play a role in the housing market.

"Some people will ask for certain school districts, whether they look at test scores or other criteria. I can see how one home in one district may be a little easier to sell, or sell quicker, than in another district," Coleman said. "There is going to be some value. But not to a huge extent."

CPS community relations coordinator Michelle Baumstark said the subject of possible changes in some property values never arose during any discussion of boundaries. She said the district would rather focus on "doing what's best for kids" instead of on the housing market.

However, she did say she thought property around Battle High School could spike, citing the new homes and businesses that could develop around the area.

"We saw the same thing 40 years ago when Rock Bridge High School opened up," Baumstark said. "Now you look at the south side of Columbia and it looks totally different.

Coleman did not rule that possibility out. Still, she said Battle's effect on property and development is hard to predict at this point.

"We have the new unknown entity at this point with the new high school coming in. I don't really think we know what that value is going to be," Coleman said.

Seth Meyer, who is selling a home in a neighborhood near Broadway and Stadium, said buyers have not voiced concerns to him about a possible switch from the Rock Bridge to Hickman jurisdiction. Describing his neighborhood as "excellent for families," Meyer said most buyers rarely mention the school aspect.

"I don't think they should have any concerns," Meyer said. "I haven't really heard anybody too upset about the convergence, simply because I think both high schools in this city are great."

Coleman said she does not anticipate huge changes in property value because of the stable market in Columbia. Normally, she said property values rise from year-to-year in the city.