February 26, 2011

Gasp! Openings in Prestigious High School District!

Here’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day!  Wouldn’t you like to enroll your teen in Lynbrook High School, in the “we’re actively throwing nonresidents out of our schools” Fremont Union HSD?


Of course, there’s a catch.  To take advantage of this amazing offer, you have to already live in the FUHSD attendance area.  Talk about the rich getting richer!  Here’s the most recent test scores, for those fortunate enough to consider this amazing (and very limited) opportunity.

School City 2010 Growth, 2009 base API
Cupertino HS Cupertino 891 / 879
Fremont HS Sunnyvale 730 / 740
Homestead HS Cupertino* 858 / 852
Lynbrook HS San Jose 939 / 925
Monta Vista HS Cupertino 943 / 935

*Located right at Cupertino/Sunnyvale border and the vast majority of students are from Sunnyvale, with remainder from Cupertino and Los Altos.  Hey Fremont, the “growth” API means it’s supposed to get BIGGER than the “base” score.  That means the growth number is supposed to go UP.  You know.  MORE.

And some other wanna-be high schools are almost as aggressive about removing “illegal students” as FUHSD.  What a sincere form of flattery, hiring a private detective to ferret out people living on the wrong street.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

January 27, 2011

Combines Character of the Past Era with Modern Monthly HOA Fees

Here’s another delightful find from Burbed reader sonarrat, who only comments, “One of the oddest listings I’ve ever seen.”  And sonarrat has certainly found us some odd ones before!

1566 Duckett Way #19, San Jose, CA 95129


BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 2,776
$/SQ. FT.: $576
LOT SIZE: 4,620 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Colonial
VIEW: Green Belt, Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Cupertino
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81050795
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 99 days

This beautifully restored Colonial Revival home in new home community combines the character of the past era while offering all the luxuries of today’s lifestyle. 2 story home plus sunroom, detached artist studio and basement/wine cellar. Gourmet kitchen with viking appliances. Large redwood deck off master overlooking wooded creek! Top Cupertino School District (Blue Hills, Miller, Lynbrook).

imageOdd?  It’s a listing with Cupertino schools and there’s 8s in the price.  That sounds downright normal!  What is odd is the small lot size and all those extraneous buildings.  Which ones are yours and which are merely situated really, really, really close to yours?

You know what else is odd?  Upwards of a million and a half for the house and not one interior picture.  Are they still restoring it?  Guess they don’t want you to know, because they conveniently left the year built off the listing.

But the satellite view might give us a hint.


Heck, the $175 a month HOA fees are needed just to sweep up all that construction mess.  Well, other than the unspecified townhouses or condos on the site, let’s see who the neighbors are!


Definitely a million plus view!  So, is this a convenient location?


You betcha!  This house is within 1000 feet of three gas stations, four shopping centers, a bus line, and the world-famous California 85 freeway, which goes directly to Google! 

Now all the seller needs is the economy to do a Revival along with this Colonial.  Then some lucky buyer, somewhere, will say, “Honey, do you know what I want?  I want to live in a big Colonial Revival right next to a bunch of attached housing!  Then they will all know that WE live in the Big House, even if it has an apartment number!”

Plantation boss lifestyle without the kudzu!  What are you waiting for?  Think of the fun your kids will have giving out their new street address!

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

January 25, 2011

With all three Good Cupertino schools!

You remember the phrase “the value is in the land”?  Usually that’s said when calling the house a crapbox is an insult to outdoor toilets everywhere. Let’s just say that today’s land isn’t much to talk about, either.  So, where is the value?  Because today’s house is a value!  Read on to find out if it’s a positive or a negative value.

1586 S Bernardo Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94087


SQ. FT.: 1,603
$/SQ. FT.: $580
LOT SIZE: 7,956 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch, Contemporary
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81100512
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 19 days

Charming home with all three good Cupertino Schools- West Valley, Cupertino Middle, Homestead High. Double Pane windows * Bright Kitchen with Family room * Hardwood Floor * Central Heat and A/C * Spacious living room w/ fireplace, sliding doors to fruit tree large yard * Los Altos border * Must see to appreciate. Compare the price to other homes with all three Good schools!

Does this house have Cupertino schools?  It does?  Great!  Just checking, as the Realtard only mentioned it a few times. Does the house have anything else, in case I might want to consider living in it rather than merely taking advantage of all three Good schools?


Well, it has a kitchen.  At least I think this is a kitchen.  It’s hard to tell because while it has cabinetry and counter-like fixtures, this room seems decidedly short on luxury kitchen-type appliances. You know, such as, say, an oven or a refrigerator.

It’s got a sink, okay?  Plug in a microwave next to it and you can make all the ramen you want.  And you don’t need a fridge for PB&J.  What’s that?  You do?  You’re just not being flexible enough.  There should be room to keep a small ice chest in one of those cabinets.  Store the peanut butter and jelly jars in the cooler.  Problem solved.

What?  You’re worried about where to get more ice for the cooler?  Right here:


imageSee that circled area at the bottom?  That’s a Mini-Mart at the gas station.  See that school between your future house and the Mini-Mart?  That school is the reason this architectural armpit has a wishing price of $930,000.  You are not buying this house unless you have at least one child who will attend every one of those Three Good Schools.  So make the little brat bring home ten pounds of ice for the cooler every day.  It’s the least the ungrateful wretch can do for you after you spent almost a million dollars for public school.

imageThe value of this place is not in the land, as the backyard demonstrates.  The value is obviously in The Three Good Schools.  And proximity to the Mini-Mart.  And so convenient to the freeway and the Los Altos Border!  Why, Caltrans has installed a handball court right across the street!  So not only will your kids attend The Three Good Schools, you need not waste money on sports leagues or appliances!

imageYou know those other homes with all three Good schools you’re supposed to compare to this one?  They not only cost more, the kids living there will have to travel much further to play handball for free.  Every time you look at this sound wall handball court (which means whenever you leave this house), you can pretend you’re living in an exclusive, ivied walled compound, just like in Atherton.  A very, very large one, because it’s so Full of Win.

Comments (19) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

July 11, 2010

County Grand Jury Recommends School District Consolidation. Expect Massive Migration to Palo Alto.

What puts a house in rather than out of the Real Bay Area (RBA)?  A damned good school district.  Now watch some meddlesome busybodies try and ruin everything!

Consolidate Santa Clara County school districts to save millions, grand jury recommends


By Sharon Noguchi

Posted: 07/04/2010 07:15:28 PM PDT
Updated: 07/04/2010 10:24:07 PM PDT

When budgets are tight, businesses often consolidate — so why not school districts?

After all, Santa Clara County school districts are a hodgepodge of large and tiny agencies, each with its own administration, and with century-old boundaries that randomly join disparate regions while dividing other communities. Some superintendents oversee 25,000 students, while others supervise only a few hundred.

So the Santa Clara County civil grand jury has recommended unifying and consolidating the county’s 31 school districts, which it projects could save $51 million annually.

District officials dispute the estimated savings, and question the benefits. In past decades, similar suggestion have been shunned as politically implausible. Why should this time be any different? For one, schools are facing unprecedented cuts to their budgets now.

The grand jury released two reports on June 24th: “Achieving School District Efficiency through Consolidation” and “Looking at Policies Our Schools Use to Find and Place Employees.”  These thrilling potboilers describe that “while the school districts in Santa Clara County are doing well in all areas, there are redundant administrative functions that can be made more cost effective through school district  consolidation.”  I tell you, I couldn’t put it down!

By merging elementary and high school districts that share attendance areas, the county’s 31 distinct school districts could be reduced to 16, unless the county actually has 34 districts (per 2008-09 Grand Jury report “Who Really Benefits from Education Dollars? (Hint: It’s Not the Students)“).  That’s the fun of an official report; you just never know what alternate facts could emerge!  Last year’s report had six findings and suggested actions, and it’s number 6 that must have led to this year’s threat to school administrators:

Finding 6

The operation of 34 K–12 school districts and four (4) community college districts
creates excessively high management and administrative costs. Five K-12 school
districts have excessively high Superintendent costs per student which is reflective of
the district’s having only one or two schools.

Recommendation 6

A consolidation of districts should be considered to reduce the numbers and costs of
Superintendents/Chancellors, Boards of Trustees, administrative staff and overhead.

One piece of good news for administrators and board members is the grand jury didn’t recommend all 31 school districts be rolled up into one countywide nightmare like Los Angeles Unified.  Instead, they selected feeder elementary districts that could be merged with high school districts, creating “Unified School Districts” that serve the same boundaries.  These are the four “lucky” high school districts and corresponding K-8 districts singled out:

  • Campbell Union HSD with Burbank SD, Cambrian SD, Campbell USD, Moreland USD and Union ESD
  • Fremont Union HSD with Cupertino USD and Sunnyvale SD
  • Los Gatos-Saratoga HSD with Lakeside JSD, Loma Prieta JSD, Los Gatos USD and Saratoga USD
  • Mountain View-Los Altos HSD with Los Altos SD and Mountain View-Whisman SD

imageThe civil grand jury’s reasoning is that unified school districts save money and can operate more efficiently than smaller districts with just a few schools.  The grand jury holds up these unified districts in Santa Clara County to support the concept: Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Milpitas, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Santa Clara.  And their gold standard of the benefits of school district unification is last year’s formation of Twin Rivers Unified.  In Sacramento.  Puh-leeeeeze!

Are they seriously suggesting that RBA cities such as Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos should emulate mediocrities such as Milpitas and Morgan Hill?  Seriously?  The only RBA city on the Unified list is Palo Alto, and they’re so Special none of the regular rules apply anyway.

Can you see parents who paid the RBA premium to live in Los Gatos wanting to share a school district with the hillbillies of Lakeside?  Or the families who paid the big bucks to live south of Fremont Avenue now finding themselves sharing a school district with North Sunnyvalers?  Wouldn’t every Los Altan sooner pull their kids out of public school than consort with those troublemakers from Latham Street?

image Obviously I’m not going to comment about the proposed Campbell Unified District, because they aren’t in the RBA so nobody much cares.  The Grand Jury also wants to merge four East San Jose school districts into two union districts, and even fewer burbed readers would ask. (Berryessa + Orchard, Alum Rock + Mt. Pleasant, if you insist.  You’re welcome.)  All 21 school districts suggested for consolidation have 90 days to respond to the civil grand jury, and expect the replies to be even more thrilling reading.

Now, some of these recommendations make sense.  There is only one school in Lakeside, Luther Burbank and Orchard School Districts.  One-school districts are clearly wasteful, and the Grand Jury has already noted criminal behavior in Burbank SD.  But some of the proposed unified districts will be much, much larger than others.  The proposed Mountain View-Los Altos Unified would have 21 schools, and the proposed Los Gatos-Saratoga Unified, 14.  But both proposed Campbell and Fremont Unifieds would have 41 schools each, which isn’t much smaller than San Jose Unified’s 43.  All the other current Unified Districts (which the Grand Jury report specifies as an ideal model) have between 14-24 schools.

41 schools?  Are they serious?  Does this fit the reasoning behind “Five K-12 school districts have excessively high Superintendent costs per student which is reflective of the district’s having only one or two schools”?  Cupertino USD, a K-8 district, already has 25 schools, which is more than all but one existing SC County unified district.  This is not a school district with excessively high costs, the complaint of the 2009 report.  This is a district that manages to produce perfect API test scores despite below-average funding.  But someone took the idea of merging feeder schools into high school districts and ran all the way to Twin Rivers Unified with it.

image At a certain point, large school districts lose the ability to respond to parental concerns, and nobody could call a 41 school unified district anything but large.  Effective and responsive school districts are exactly what parents expect when they spend the big bucks to buy in the RBA.  So recognize this plan for what it is: a recipe to remove Cupertino from the RBA forever. 

It’s clearly a plot by Palo Alto real estate agents.

Comments (99) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

April 28, 2010

Condo living in Santa Clara for under a million

Thanks to Burbed reader DreamT for this guest post!
Beds: 3
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 2,157
$/Sq. Ft.: $449
Lot Size:
Property Type: Townhouse
Style: Contemporary, Mediterranean
Stories: 1-3 (Low Rise)
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 2010
Community: Santa Clara
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81011793
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 38 days
Top Cupertino Schools, these rare find brand new 12 Mediterranean style town homes and 2 single family homes located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Low utility cost, quiet neighborhood, close to shopping and commute. All the homes are built w/ top of line material and workmanship. Hardwood & lush Berber carpet, gourmet kitchen w/ granite counter, beautiful balconies, durable concrete tile roof, A/C .

You no longer need a million dollars fair and square to reside in Santa Clara! For the meager sum of $969,000, acquire a townhome within spitting distance of Gorgeous Freeway 280, and admire hapless commuters from the beautiful balconies while sipping nearby Barefoot Café’s confections.

Really, look no further – you won’t find anything more Mediterranean in the heart of the Silicon Valley! The Safeway across Stevens Creek rivals Monaco’s best resorts, the nearby flat-top Eichler wannabes rival Old Nice for age, and you have to see the Berber carpetting – I was told it contains real Berber blood as flame-retardant, since abestos is now out of style.

You will also humiliate the neighborhood’s previously priciest sale, a jolly mustard-colored 1955 3/2 rancher that sold in 2006 for $950k. Gosh, you will actually single-handedly double all of the neighborhood’s house values! What are you waiting for? You be da king! (on a Berber carpet)

Lest I forget, your kids will be eligible to attend Cupertino School, but with such top of the line material and workmanship, not to mention Berber carpets, this is almost an afterthought.

Maybe you should offer above $1M after all. Pride of ownership should not come cheap.

Comments (47) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:13 am

April 12, 2010

With Real Cupertino Schools

Thanks to Burbed reader Madhaus for sending in this guest written post. Here it goes:

901 Cascade Drive — With Real Cupertino Schools

Here’s another typical overpriced house in a “special” zip code.  What makes 94087 so special?  Some of it has REAL CUPERTINO SCHOOLS!


Can you think of anything else to explain the price these sellers are asking?  $1.15 million?  (Whoops, cut to $1.099 million!)  AS IF!  The last $1.15 million sale in this tract went down in Spring, 2008, which just happened to be the local market peak.  And the property was on a 9500 square foot lot!

Let’s take a look at this one.  Oops!  Not quite as generous, is it?


Oh, dear, that looks like quite a busy street only one house away.  Oooh!  Looks like this house is on the corner of a couple of arterials! Well, let’s go inside, shall we?

The original design in this tract is an L-shaped 4/2 with a large living room.  901 Cascade has had some remodeling done in the 1970s.  The garage was turned into a room with a half bath and a laundry room off it.  Since the new space was set up as a formal living room, the effect of these

utilitarian offshoots is jarring.


Here’s a view of it that cleverly leaves out those rooms that don’t belong.

A free-standing garage was built next to the front bedrooms, ensuring little sunlight.  A continuous roofline/gating thing connects the garage with the former garage, giving the house some unity of concept but hey, it’s still an awful shade of olive green.

The smallest front room had a doorway (not a door) installed from the entrance hallway and is used as a piano room.  The two rear bedrooms, including the master, were extended five feet into the back yard, so they don’t seem as pitifully small as the front rooms are.

The hardwood was nicely done throughout.  Homes in this 1956 tract do have hardwood floors, usually covered with carpeting.

The kitchen made no impression.  Probably not enlarged at all but the appliances are newer than 1980.


The front shared bathroom appears to be either the fifties original or a very old update.  The master bath was enlarged to replace the tiny shower with a smallish jacuzzi tub.  The tiling looks old and feels dated.  Well, what do you expect, with a remodel done in the early 1970s?

The agent is from Willow Glen (clearly a wanna-be ZIP who doesn’t know about Special) and obviously doesn’t know this neighborhood.  Yes, it has REAL CUPERTINO SCHOOLS, but even so, this is overpriced. Corner undersized lot, too close to Mary Avenue, schools threatened with layoffs and severe budget cuts, 2008 peak sale of 1.15m was on 9500 sf lot on quiet street.  Agent admitted this Green Home was listed for $1.2m last summer and the sellers didn’t get the price they wanted: 1.15m.  Now they’re just asking for it up front.

Not many other visitors, either, just 2 couples, one when we arrived and one as we left.

Evidently the agent decided to drop the price after a month of no “serious” offers, and now it’s Pending Without Release.  Given that only ePraisal estimates this home as being worth anything remotely near that, do you think those those REAL CUPERTINO SCHOOLS will keep adding as much value as they had?


Comments (31) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:38 am

March 22, 2010

House comes with Asian prunes and lucky price!

Beds: 4
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 1,249
$/Sq. Ft.: $680
Lot Size: 5,800 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Ranch
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1956
Community: Cupertino
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81008438
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 20 days
Lovely ranch style home with CUPERTINO SCHOOLS! Garage converted to one-bedroom, full bath, kitchen apartment, currently tenant-occupied. Private yet convenient location to ever popular Stevens Creek shopping. Fruit trees galore–White & Yellow Peach, Avocado, Asian Prunes, Apricot, Nectarine, and many more! New roof & hardwood floors. Sunroom & apartment non-conforming and not included in sq ft.

Hey it’s a lovely ranch style home with Cupertino Schools and a lucky price.


Even better, it comes with an apartment… can you say cashflow? You could easily rent it out to someone who is looking to spend big for CUPERTINO SCHOOLS.

But what really caught my attention was the idea of a tree growing Asian Prunes. Um… Just how do you grow prunes? Any agricultural experts here who can help resolve this mystery?

Comments (24) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:22 am

March 21, 2010

Their Future is Now: Support Our Children and Protect Our Schools

Their Future is Now:  Support Our Children and Protect Our Schools

State budget cuts are undermining the Cupertino Union School District’s quality of education. The School Board must now make cuts to core
instructional programs. Among the actions planned, our District will lose up to 115 teachers in Kindergarten through 8th grade across the
district. (This is equivalent to losing 4 schools!) Students in every grade level at every school will be impacted.

The time to act is now! With a $375 contribution per family – about $2 per day of instruction – we can save our excellent school programs

The campaign is ready to accept donations for the District-wide fundraising effort.http://www.savecupertinoschools.org/

1.  We need a large number of donations by this week (Wednesday evening) so that the fund raising team can get others
vested in the district to donate on Thursday morning in preparation for the Official March 16 Kickoff press conference.

2.   In addition this week, you can take advantage of the installment plan so that your donation can be divided by 2 monthly payments. Donation is tax
deductible. Sponsored by CEEF, 501(c)3 Feel free to share the informationwith other parents and friends.

Thanks to an anonymous Burbed reader for sending this in!

To all you cynics who claim that Prop 13 needs to be repealed to save our schools – take a look at this and weep!

We don’t need to raise taxes at all! Parents are more than willing to tax themselves directly to pay for the education of their children. This enables more of our precious tax dollars to go support the true hope for the future: retiring baby boomers.

This is win win. Property taxes stay the same for retiring baby boomers who pay 1/2 to 1/10 the property tax of their neighbors. Parents with their annoying children who are destroying the state with their greedy need for services pay for schools. Schools improve. House prices go up for everyone – including the baby boomers who pay 1/2 to 1/10 the property tax of their neighbors.

It’s clear – the next step is to cut school funding even further, and rebate residents based on how long they have owned their house. And keep those kids off the lawns!

Comments (53) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:09 am

February 18, 2010

Homework in Cupertino school district TOO MUCH

It’s Search Engine Thursday!

Recently someone found this site by searching for: Homework in Cupertino school district TOO MUCH

Is it really? I’ve heard that in Cupertino, A stands for “Average”, B stands for “Bad”, C stands for “Crap”, and D stands for “Disowned”.

But frankly, is there really such a thing as too much homework? Wasn’t Silicon Valley built on people working night and day on their startups (95% of which failed)? It makes sense that Cupertino should pile on the homework now, so that students can understand what it is like to succeed (or not) in the working world. It’s about imbuing a strong sense of work ethic.

And besides, how will one get into a great university without too much homework (ignoring the fact that all your other classmates are doing the exact same amount, so that you’d actually be better off going to a place that has less homework, and less competition)?


Comments (28) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

February 15, 2010

When do Cupertino school district office start residency investigation

It’s Search Engine Thursday!

Recently someone found this site by searching for: When do Cupertino school district office start residency investigation

What a peculiar question!

My guess as to why someone was looking for this information was because it was some jealous school district that wanted to capture Cupertino’s best practices. I mean, after all, why would someone in Cupertino be looking for this information?

What are your guesses as to the intent? Are you familiar with these sorts of investigations?

UPDATE: Yeah, I posted this on the wrong day. Oops. Thanks Herve for flagging it.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:32 am