Best California School Districts

This NerdWallet analysis of California school districts factors in various school performance metrics and the affordability of homeowners costs to rate the 375 school districts in the state. Unsurprisingly, districts with higher-valued homes make up the bulk of the top school districts.

However, NerdWallet could also identify some "hidden gems": school districts offering excellent public education and affordable home prices. The charts below locate the school districts that offer the best of both worlds and show the correlation between home values and some school performance metrics.

California's hidden gems: school districts with good performance metrics and affordable home prices
Page Title
Rank
Graduation rate
Average SAT score
High school STAR mean scale score
Student-to-teacher ratio
Median home value
Location
Benicia Unified5098.00%158736822.87$433,000Benicia Unified School District, California
Ferndale Unified4997.10%147435618.39$473,300Ferndale Unified School District, California
Scotts Valley Unified4897.90%165338721.19$593,100Scotts Valley Unified School District, California
Sierra Unified4790.50%157036719.47$486,300Sierra Unified School District, California
Eureka City Unified4689.10%147135220.16$561,100Eureka City Unified School District, California
Sonora Union High4591.20%156834320.45$566,000Sonora Union High School District, California
Ventura Unified4490.30%160236421.92$472,300Ventura Unified School District, California
Center Joint Unified4389.10%153835924.2$615,100Center Joint Unified School District, California
Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union4297.10%186741419.01$574,100Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union School District, California
Mariposa County Unified3990.30%157735419$526,200Mariposa County Unified School District, California
Fremont Unified3882.10%173938522.44$745,100Fremont Unified School District, California
El Dorado Union High3793.10%161037323.54$665,300El Dorado Union High School District, California
Roseville Joint Union High3692.30%155636322$484,900Roseville Joint Union High School District, California
Saddleback Valley Unified3495.30%162738425.53$698,600Saddleback Valley Unified School District, California
East Nicolaus Joint Union High3392.70%151937118.16$550,100East Nicolaus Joint Union High School District, California
Yreka Union High3294.50%154135520.63$723,400Yreka Union High School District, California
Temple City Unified3194.60%171338725.21$597,500Temple City Unified School District, California
Mendocino Unified3093.00%171736914.81$343,700Mendocino Unified School District, California
Fortuna Union High2790.60%157335721.08$543,600Fortuna Union High School District, California
Arcadia Unified2698.30%178939922.91$584,500Arcadia Unified School District, California
San Luis Coastal Unified2596.50%166036919.08$504,500San Luis Coastal Unified School District, California
Plumas Unified2392.30%153935516.6$597,800Plumas Unified School District, California
Paradise Unified2185.30%157135019.55$600,300Paradise Unified School District, California
Fall River Joint Unified1788.30%149535417.18$621,900Fall River Joint Unified School District, California
Calipatria Unified1690.30%134434419.21$546,000Calipatria Unified School District, California
Irvine Unified1195.50%181339824.87$637,500Irvine Unified School District, California
Durham Unified1094.50%154736017.7$708,900Durham Unified School District, California
Siskiyou Union High789.60%160935012.96$639,900Siskiyou Union High School District, California

Source: Nerdwallet.

Compare correlations between different scores for all California school districts in the scatterplots below. First off, median home values are positively correlated with graduation rates and slightly negatively correlated with student-to-teacher ratios: i.e. more affluent school districts tend to have better graduation rates and smaller classrooms.

Student performance is also (positively) correlated with median home values in the school districts: both the average SAT scores and the high school STAR mean scale scores tend to be higher in school districts with higher median home values.



Median home values and graduation rates



Median home values and average SAT scores



Top 20 School Districts



Median home values and student-to-teacher ratios



Median home values and high school STAR mean scores



Bottom 20 School Districts



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