Public school perfomance impacts housing value in Houston super neighborhoods
New Rice report adds to the affordability question in Houston
A new report from Rice University’s Shell Center for Sustainability
evaluates a missing component of the current affordability equation in
Houston — high school performance and its impact on housing prices and
subsequent location decisions. According to the report, for every one
percentage point increase in high school graduation rates, housing value
is predicted to increase by $7,945.
“The Sixth Houston Sustainability Indicators Report: Sustainable
Communities and Public Education” focuses on education, one of the major
priorities for the City of Houston, and was selected to complement
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s plan to develop Complete Communities in
Houston. The report utilizes the comprehensive sustainability
indicators from the Houston Sustainability Indicators project to make a
robust attempt at characterizing the relative impact of Houston
Independent School District (HISD) performance as a predictor of housing
prices, when compared to many other factors.
The report also evaluates existing geographic boundaries, or super
neighborhoods, to determine how communities can better participate in
their development. According to the study, the results are critical to
Houston policy makers who can use this procedure to objectively
prioritize communities in terms of targets for public services and
“HISD’s current policy of relieving overcrowding by adjusting zoned
attendance boundaries creates attendance boundaries that do not
correspond with existing community boundaries,” said Lester King, the
urban sustainability fellow with the Shell Center for Sustainability and
lead author of this report. “Community leadership and neighborhood
involvement operate at the level of our geographic communities, not at
the level of the feeder patterns around our children’s schools.”
According to the report, there is no discernable reason why high
school feeder patterns should not follow super neighborhood boundaries.
Aligning feeder patterns with community boundaries allows for Houston’s
communities to better identify with their community schools and
participate in their development.
“Aligning feeder patterns would change the capacity in schools,” King
said. “Relieving overcrowding is important, but having communities
participate in the success of public schools should be a higher
The report concludes that the graduation rate explains 17 percent of
the variance in housing value and that other demographic and
socio-economic factors account for 73 percent through five indexes:
wealth, ex-urban communities, African American, four-bedroom communities
and industrial communities.
“In order to develop a stronger sense of community involvement and to
foster ownership of k-12 schools as true community resources, it is
important to align the zoned attendance boundaries with community and
neighborhood boundaries where possible,” King said. “Community
involvement is an indispensable goal which is in-line with HISD Board
policy for school improvement.” The new report can be found on the
Houston Sustainability Indicators (HSI) project website at www.HoustonCommunitySustainability.org.