Your Home: Shawnee Mission home values need happy teachers!

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By Chad Taylor

I was so thankful this week to receive an email from a reader who asked if the stall in negotiations between SM teachers and the school district could have a negative effect on housing demand and thus could cause home prices to soften. The short answer is a resounding YES!

Our team is fortunate to assist home buyers and sellers all over the KC metro, and one of the primary motivators for a home buyer in the SMSD are our great local schools. These great local schools are supported by a solid foundation of great educators. *Warning* I am going to get on a soap box here. If I were to start a new calendar year without clearly defining the pay structure and expectations for my team members, I can guarantee that their work output and quality of work would be affected in a negative way. And why shouldn’t it? When a team member or employee does not have certainty in their position and the support of their employer, it must certainly impact their overall mindset.

Please know that I am not saying that our great SMSD teachers and staff are doing a lesser job due to the drawn out negotiations with the district. I am, however, saying that as a parent of two SMSD students at Prairie Elementary (GO Panthers!) it is deeply concerning to me that our teachers don’t feel that they have the support of the district. The best public education possible is the goal of any parent and an integral piece of a quality education is a stable and appreciated teacher population.

I learned many years ago that if I don’t create an environment in my business where my team can see unlimited opportunity for their growth, I will lose them. Talented team members and employees want growth and opportunity. When they feel that someone else has placed a cap on their potential growth within our organization, they will go somewhere else where opportunity for growth is present. The last thing that we want is for our talented teachers to go to another district. We need them here!

Getting back to the question from our reader, an unstable school district is a recipe for disaster when it comes to the demand for housing in an area and overall home values. Therefore, the sad situation concerning the teacher contracts for this school year, or lack thereof, will impact all SM homeowners. Not just the homeowners who have kids in school.

I remember several years ago when the KC School District lost their accreditation. There was a mass exodus to the Kansas side and MO home values certainly suffered because of it.

Most of us in the SMSD area already live in smaller, older homes which we purchased for a premium in part due to the great local schools. If the district continues to create uncertainty in the community by not making the contract negotiations a priority, we may first see private school enrollments increase followed by an exodus out south and west to the Blue Valley and Olathe School Districts for example.

Long story short: well-compensated teachers who feel supported by their district will provide a better educational experience for our kids. When our kids are doing well in school, we as parents spread the word. Trust me. We like nothing better than to talk about our kids. This narrative will reinforce that the SM area is a great place to live and worth the premium paid for housing.

We are currently headed into a market correction as it is. The last thing that we need as a community is more uncertainty. Strongly supported and fairly compensated teachers = happy students = happy parents = a great local school community. All of the above support a more stable housing market. That sounds like a win-win to me!

This weekly sponsored column is written by Chad Taylor of the Taylor-Made Team and Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC. The Taylor-Made Team consistently performs in the top 3 percent of Realtors in the Heartland MLS. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email. You can find out more about the Taylor-Made Team on its website. And always feel free to call at 913-825-7540.