Santa Barbara Area Schools

Are you planning to relocate to the Santa Barbara area? Or do you already live in this Southern California community and want to move to a different home that better fits your lifestyle? 

If you have school-age children, one of the considerations when looking at homes for sale in Santa Barbara is probably school district. Whether you’re looking for public or private schools, Santa Barbara is home to many top-rated options. 

Private Schools

Public schools are not right for every family who buys homes for sale in Santa Barbara. Some prefer a different type of environment for their children and are more interested in what private schools have to offer. 

Here are some of the best private schools in the area.

  • Cate School. Combining West Coast energy and East Coast tradition for over 100 years, Cate is a co-ed prep school with almost 300 students, the majority of whom live on campus. It’s located on 150 acres just 15 minutes from Santa Barbara and has an overall A+ rating from The application deadline for Cate School is January 15 and yearly tuition without financial assistance is $49,700.

Credit: Cate School

  • Crane Country Day School. This independent and coeducational K-8 private day school is set upon a stunning 11-acre campus, providing a peaceful place for children to learn. Established in 1928, Crane prides itself on hands-on learning opportunities, including exciting class trips to destinations like Yosemite, Catalina Island, and even Boston. Tuition ranges from $31,000 to $33,500 depending on grade level.

  • Laguna Blanca School. Laguna Blanca School has 300 students and serves children in grades K-12 across two campuses. The school aims to provide a supportive community for its students that promotes overall well-being as well as academic excellence. Tuition for the school is $29,230 per year and the application deadline is February 1.

  • The Riviera Ridge School. This Santa Barbara private day school serves students from kindergarten through 8th grade. Riviera Ridge encourages students to develop their emotional intelligence along with academic excellence, enjoying thriving performing arts, visual arts, programming, and service learning programs. Students can even go swimming during P.E. and take a surfing extracurricular! Depending on grade level, tuition at Riviera Ridge ranges from $18,000 to $29,950.

  • The Knox School of Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara’s school for gifted children from kindergarten through eighth grade, the Knox School encourages critical thinking, problem solving, abstract reasoning, and higher-level thinking skills. The school is a great fit for students who are quick learners, shrewd observers, and incredibly curious. Tuition ranges from $19,312 to $28,270 depending on grade level.

  • Santa Barbara Middle School. This independent school serves students in grades 6 through 9. The school encourages students to develop global thinking skills, intellectual vitality, and lifelong resilience through project-based learning and experiential education. Students have the option of beginning each Friday with a 6:45 AM Sunrise Swim at Leadbetter Beach, one of many fun events and traditions that bring the school community together. Tuition is $33,525.

Public Elementary Schools

Santa Barbara has the highest concentration of top-ranked public schools in California. With 124 public options, 84 of which are elementary schools, you’ll have plenty of choices when you buy one of the homes for sale in Santa Barbara. 

Some of the best include:

  • Cold Spring Elementary School. With an overall rating of A+, Cold Spring Elementary School serves 171 students from kindergarten to sixth grade. Students in this school consistently perform in the top 5-10% of all California schools, and parents appreciate the warm home environment as well as the quality of the teaching staff.

  • Montecito Union. Named the #1 best public elementary school in Santa Barbara County by, Montecito Union is ranked the 23rd best public elementary school in the state, and its teachers rank #3 when it comes to the best public elementary school teachers in California.

Credit: Montecito Union School District


  • Washington Elementary School. Larger than both Cold Spring and Montecito Union, Washington Elementary School has 600 students and a student-teacher ratio of 26:1. The school has an overall A rating from Located on Santa Barbara’s Mesa, the students enjoy some of the best views in town.

Public High Schools

For those who have teenage children and are looking at homes for sale in Santa Barbara, there are several top-quality public high school options:

  • Dos Pueblos Senior High School. Those who want to send their high schoolers to the #1 rated high school in Santa Barbara County should look at Goleta, located just 12 miles from Santa Barbara. With approximately 2,300 students in grades 9-12, Dos Pueblos has an overall grade of A+. Highlights of Dos Pueblos include a new Robotics curriculum, a student-run television news program, and a restaurant run by the Culinary Arts students.

Credit: Dos Pueblos Senior High School

  • San Marcos Senior High School. San Marcos Senior High School has an overall A rating on and offers numerous opportunities for students to participate in community service projects as well as academies focused on areas such as entrepreneurship and getting into top-tier colleges.

  • Santa Barbara Senior High School. The original high school in Santa Barbara, this institution boasts graduates such as dance maven Martha Graham, sand volleyball star Karch Kiraly and football legend Randall Cunningham. rates SBSHS the #3 public high school in Santa Barbara County and gives it an overall A rating.

Those who buy homes for sale in Santa Barbara and are interested in sending their children to private schools need to keep the above application deadlines in mind for the 2022-23 academic year. Parents should also make a decision about whether they want their child to attend a day school and continue to live with them during the school year or live on campus for a fully immersive experience.

If you are relocating to the Santa Barbara area or if you already live in the community and are looking for a new school for your child or children, you’re in luck — Santa Barbara County has a wealth of highly-rated options. 

Haven’t yet found your new home? Reach out to a trusted Santa Barbara real estate agent such as Randy Solakian to help you choose a home near the school of your choice.


Work With Us

One of the Santa Barbara region's most illustrious real estate leaders who has assembled a sales history that spans over three decades and includes the area’s most legendary estates.

Contact Us
Follow Us