California schools are developing plans to create affordable housing for teachers to combat significant staff shortages affecting districts across the state.
In one Silicon Valley-area district, a blueprint is being developed to attract and retain teachers by creating avenues that allow them to save money and buy a home in the area.
“My goal is let’s help as many people as we can own a home,” Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD) Superintendent Dr. Ayinde Rudolph told The Washington Examiner. “In my mind, this is the American dream.”
Rudolph, who created the “Laying the Foundation” blueprint, noted that high housing costs, long commutes and cramped living quarters are driving teachers away from the area. One teacher, Rudolph said, lived with four roommates where the living room was converted to an extra bedroom.
The median home sale price in the MVWSD area is nearly $1.9 million, with a median monthly cost of $3,400. Teachers at the nearby schools typically earn between $75,000 and $134,000.
The district’s housing plan will include 144 units throughout a 716-unit complex. 123 of the units will be reserved as one or two bedrooms for teachers and staff. Residents in the building will be chosen through a lottery system and will pay half of the median housing market rate. The units will be completed by 2024.
The reduced-cost units have multiple paths of funding. The primary funding source will come from a $250 million bond measure voted on by the community, $88 million of which will be set aside for the project. Taxpayers will also provide $3 million to the plan, with an additional $13 million provided by the developer.
The project, in total, will cost $122 million.
Community members initially pushed back on the blueprint and expressed concern that affordable housing would drive down home prices in the area. But Rudolph claimed that residents were more open when they announced the measure would be restricted to educators.
“That is also what helps to create generational wealth and out here in California: You can pass your home to your kid, and they can assume it for its current assessed value,” Rudolph added. “Real estate is how most millionaires are made.”
Los Angeles has also decided to create affordable housing. Since the area took federal funds to support the plan, they will be required to follow federal guidelines limiting who is eligible to live in the units. The MVWSD plan does not have the same limitations.
A National Center for Education Statistics survey found that 44% of public schools report having full- or part-time teacher vacancies.
The survey, published in March 2022, also found that 61% of public schools reporting at least one vacancy cited the pandemic for the open jobs. The survey reported that most of the vacancies were due to resignations, not retirement.
Fox News’ Joshua Q. Nelson contributed to this report.
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