Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 16, 2016

I can’t ignore the teacher next door

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Conveniently SF Chronicle has produced a wonderful piece on teachers being priced out of the Bay Area.

Not to be missed is the great graphic that shows which cities don’t pay their teachers enough to afford to live there, if we use the commonly accepted metric that no more than 30% of your salary should be spent on housing costs.  AUSD is not on the dot graph, but I figured I would pull some numbers here.

Here are the median rent numbers in Alameda for all units and a breakdown by type of unit:


Here are the teacher salaries at AUSD, the salary differences are helpful as well:


However with more numbers and data there are more variables, this also does’t make assumptions for two income households as well, but, of course an area should be affordable for a single person.

So I created this table to calculate the percentage of salary spent on rent based on the data points above:


Essentially what it says that is a teacher who is single could afford a one-bedroom unit in Alameda only if s/he makes the “average” rent or highest salary.  Clearly that person would be spending way more than the 30% if they made the lowest salary, and slightly more than the 30% if they are mid-career.

Forget about having a family and attempting to rent a two bedroom in Alameda on any of the salaries.  So a single parent would either have to share a one bedroom or spend between 49 – 93% of their salary on a two-bedroom.

And look, these aren’t even shitty jobs people, these are jobs that require more advanced education than your traditional undergraduate degree.  If teachers can’t afford to live in the community whose kids they are responsible for every damn day then — as someone pointed out — what about the service workers who are also important to the “quality of life” of Alameda?



  1. Lauren,
    You neglected to deduct healthcare costs. For a family of three on Blue Shoeld, I paid almost $2,000 a month out of pocket for the medical, dental and vision package offered by AUSD as my husband is self-employed. I chose to switch to Kaiser just to drop that cost to $1400/month. I used to have full coverage, so essentially, AUSD teachers are making far less today than 20 years ago.

    Comment by jaysmom — May 16, 2016 @ 6:30 am

  2. If Alameda passes The Tenants Together/ARC Initiative our future teachers/administrators and middle class won’t be only priced out by sky rocketing market prices but they will be shut out due to little to no inventory available. The reality is that generation X and younger are moving back to cities ounce inhabited by miniorities . The old school dream of working in SF and driving home to Walnut Creek is no more. We need a housing plan that is sophisticated enough to address our middle classes current and future needs. What ARC is proposing has not worked in SF , Oakland or Berkley . Ignoring the problem is not the answer either. Right now the school district owns the BOQ on the base , the city needs to incentivize a developer to make the work and reserve a large portion for staff. At least right of refusal at a below market price.

    Think outside your little box. Don’t be fooled into thinking that ARC is helping . They are tricking this community by inserting parts that no one is talking about . Read their 27 pages. Only two pages deal with rent increases. Only 2!!
    The other 25 take away property rights and will kill this town.

    Comment by Ted — May 16, 2016 @ 6:30 am

  3. Are these salaries adjusted to reflect what they would be based on 12 months of work or is this for 9 months of work?

    Comment by Cat 6 — May 16, 2016 @ 7:22 am

    • Looks like it is based on the number of working days per the CDE summary.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 16, 2016 @ 8:07 am

    • Cat 6, while it might appear that teachers work 9 months a year that is not true. I’ve been a teacher for 25 years and I’ve never worked 9 months. I arrive to school by 7:30 each morning and usually stay until 5:30. My work doesn’t stop there as I have assignments to grade, emails to answer and planning to do. Yes, we don’t have to work those hours but if I don’t my job isn’t done and my students will suffer. This summer I have four weeks of training after school ends. Our pay as described above is distributed over twelve months.

      Comment by Diana Kenney — May 16, 2016 @ 8:39 am

      • don’t forget the weeks and weeks of paid vacation during the school year! Seriously, teacher pay is lousy for most of their career, so who would care if they only work 9 months unless the complainer is are some crabby libertarian? No vacation ( except summer) goes without being ruined by the stack of school work which beckons for correction etc. The summer is tainted by prep and other fun stuff like being a student. When I was a student it was the same, unless the teachers had mercy and didn’t assign home work over winter break. There is a term for the spouses of sports fanatics isn’t there? Like a “football widow”, because the husband is supposedly unavailable for the entire season? The same term should exist for spouses of teachers, but with teaching the “season” lasts 9 plus months.

        Comment by MI — May 16, 2016 @ 3:35 pm

  4. Lauren, can you give a link to the page where you found the by-district salary info? thank you

    From what I can piece together, we are below average for the state in terms of an “average” salary.

    Comment by MP — May 16, 2016 @ 7:28 am

    • It’s a part of the Chronicle piece, there’s a widget to search by School District, the link is in the original post.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 16, 2016 @ 8:00 am

    • I believe that the average salary data in the Chronicle is just that – an average of what the district pays all teachers. It’s important to keep in mind that Alameda’s teaching force is on the older side, thus the average is higher (and AUSD’s costs are higher). Meanwhile, the salary of a mid-career teacher who has to pay for health insurance is lower than every school district in Alameda County. AUSD is losing its early to mid-career teachers to surrounding districts, because its increasingly difficult to work in Alameda and live in the Bay Area.

      Comment by Ron — May 16, 2016 @ 12:19 pm

  5. These are annual salaries. Teachers do not work nine months a year. We finish in late June once we pack up, clean and organize our classrooms then start lesson planning and room prep in early August.

    Comment by Sharmaine — May 16, 2016 @ 8:23 am

  6. The 30% rule is somewhat outdated (at least in markets like the Bay Area), but if you are talking about rent only and not including utilities, some advise only 25% which is an even greater challenge to meet. It’s difficult for teachers anywhere to support a family on a single teacher’s salary alone. The job has historically not been well paid because most teachers were women and it was reasoned at the time that women didn’t need to earn as much money as men. At the beginning, teachers were all unmarried women who only supported themselves, and it wasn’t until World War II that married teachers were even allowed in most districts. Even today, 87% of primary education teachers in the US are female. Sexism is at the root of the income problem for teachers. Until women and the work they do is considered worthy of a living wage,public school teachers will continue to be underpaid. It’s better in some other states but not much. As wealthy a state as California is, with a GDP of 1.959 trillion, it ranks 36 on the list of states favorable to teachers. Alabama with a GDP of 165.8 billion is number 30. What’s wrong with this picture?

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 16, 2016 @ 9:01 am

  7. @2: Ted, If the “free” market system you apparently support has worked so well, why are rents so high NOW and why is the housing supply so limited statewide NOW? The current system of gouging working people and retirees on fixed incomes with 20 to 35 per cent rent increases–often in successive years–is not exactly what we renters would call “successful” or fair.

    When landlords only opposed any change when the City Council was looking for solutions and never presented any effective or reasonable alternatives to stabilizing rents in Alameda, they lost their credibility as responsible community partners and contributors. Since you never contributed to solving the crisis that you helped create and–in many case, at least–abandoned tenants to their own devices,we have been forced to take matters into our own hands in order to survive. Reap what you have sown…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 16, 2016 @ 12:27 pm

    • John,

      No matter what you do some will be displaced, some will thrive and some will not. That’s the actual truth Ruth. Your broken ideology did not work in Oakland , Berkrley or SF. All your doing is creating a marke where tenants get outrageous buy outs. It’s a week documented failed policy that some politicians like Oddie cling on to. Your proposed initiative is an over reach and when most people are explained that most of the 14 section are punitive , they feel duped that it was presented as ” rent control “. The Jason Buckley’s of the world will not and should not be helped by any measure. The Jason Buckley’s of this world need to get off their ass , put down the key board and work . You want to talk about seniors and a means tested method to help others that’s different . If it’s so expensive here , why does Angela Hockabout not work while her kids are in school? These are your poster children. Entitled , entitled , entitled.

      Comment by Ted — May 17, 2016 @ 6:22 am

      • When you resort to personal insults and libertarian platitudes (“get off their ass and work”), you already lose credibility and just validate the other side’s argument. So, cheers to that.

        Comment by Jason — May 23, 2016 @ 12:42 pm

  8. I emailed the reporters who wrote this story to ask about Alameda Unified, which was missing from the chart in the SF Chronicle story. Here is their response:

    “Thanks for reading our story! We’re glad you found it interesting. We didn’t put Alameda on the chart because it was not one of the 115 largest school districts. Here is what we have for it:

    Average teacher pay: $67,845
    Mid-career teacher pay: $63,339
    Median on-bedroom rent: $1,750 (RealFacts, Zumper didn’t have estimates)
    Proportion average teacher would spend on a one-bedroom: 31%”

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 16, 2016 @ 1:27 pm

  9. I think the average rents listed on the graph are a bit on the high side. More than half the population of Alameda are renters and I doubt that most of them pay an average of $3400 for a 2 bedroom apartment and those who do are also paying for a pool and other amenities. Most of the apartments in this city are not in buildings that have pools and tennis courts. We recently had a 2 BR for $2K per month and it took months to find a tenant. When I asked the management company why it was taking so long, I was told it was the slow season. If we truly have a housing crisis, a chance of having to move in the rain would not deter someone who really is looking in earnest for a roof over their heads. Now, it is spring and kids are still in school but people are looking again and we were able to fill our vacancy. There is a big difference between $3400 and $2000 per month for what I think is an average apartment.

    Comment by Nancy Hird — May 16, 2016 @ 1:56 pm

  10. For those willing to think, and live, out of the box, we have a 4 bedroom house for lease. It has 2 master bedrooms, a third bedroom with an attached bathroom. It could easily be shared by two or three couples. It is located on one of the finest areas of Oakland. Looking for respectful tenants, of course. It also has 1000 SF deck and large garden patios. Only 8K per month. Sharing houses was common in Europe after WW2, and lifelong friendships were created.

    Comment by Ed Hirshberg — May 16, 2016 @ 5:53 pm

    • Ed, this is satire right?

      Comment by MI — May 16, 2016 @ 9:25 pm

      • For those willing to think, and live, out of the box, we have a 4 bedroom house for lease. It has 2 master bedrooms, a third bedroom with an attached bathroom. It could easily be shared by two or three couples. It is located on one of the finest areas of Oakland. Looking for respectful tenants, of course. It also has 1000 SF deck and large garden patios. Only 8K per month. Sharing houses was common in Europe after WW2, and lifelong friendships were created.

        Comment by Ed Hirshberg — May 16, 2016 @ 10:10 pm

        • OK, but if I don’t get to live next to bomb crater, how post-WW2 Europe is it really? No thanks.

          Comment by gaylon — May 16, 2016 @ 10:55 pm

  11. I don’t know why the website reprinted my earlier comment instead of the new one. At any rate, this is a serious suggestion. If you can rent and share a house cheaper than renting an apartment, then why not. 4 one bedroom apartments at 2200 would be 8800. That is more than our 4 bedroom, and most others.

    Comment by Ed Hirshberg — May 16, 2016 @ 11:32 pm

    • A PC liberal would rather starve to death or die of exposure than rent from Ed Hirshberg. Thanks for trying, Ed, but some people are more interested in their political agenda than actually solving the problem or examining the facts. After all, if problems are solved by republicans, what will they have to talk about?

      Comment by vigi — May 17, 2016 @ 9:24 am

  12. I woke up this morning wondering if the rents of houses and apartments are moving in opposite directions because apartments are being withheld from the market due to rent control, but houses are under no such threat. In the industry we view houses as horizontal apartments. Marketplaces give room for some imagination. Years ago we rented office space to a teacher, who would teach 9 months as per usual, and then in the summer months he would build one spec house. So he spent the winter designing the house, getting the permit and financing. When school let out he would break ground and generally be marketing the house by September. One of the more interesting deals we worked was helping my sister get rid of her fishing boat. No one wanted to buy it, so we ran an ad “have fishing boat will trade for real estate”. Ultimately traded it for an almond orchard.

    Comment by Ed Hirshberg — May 17, 2016 @ 10:47 am

    • Houses are being withheld and/or sold because of the ARC initiative that would require $18,000 pay outs to repair that house if you had to move people out. Maybe they are scared that the original renter would sublease to a person the owner would not want occupying their home and they are stuck with this person if the ARC initiative moves forward. Unlike the 20 members of ARC [ I count everyone I log in ], property owners can’t just give a 30 day notice to the bank and be on our merry way.

      All you kids that got certificates for breathing are being told no for the first time and reality is hitting you hard .., maybe that ” blog ” isn’t going to finance your dreams ….no fair…I don’t want to work!!!!

      This is America !!! Get off your ass[keyboard] and make it happen.

      Comment by Teddy Pie — May 17, 2016 @ 12:30 pm

  13. 50 years of San Francisco rental information transcribed from news archives show 6.6% increase over the years.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — May 17, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

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