Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 14, 2017

“Technically homeless”

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Since we’ll be on the subject of the School District for a while, here’s something that I think is really important and it was only mentioned by one of the candidates for the School Board position as being critical for AUSD: teacher retention.

But mostly we always look at teacher retention from a salary and compensation perspective, but salary and compensation is only one of the issues facing teachers in Alameda and the Bay Area in general.  Finding housing that is affordable is becoming an increasing concern and if our teachers are unable to secure housing then it won’t matter how much we are able to pay.  Yesterday, City Lab had a piece on this precise issue, highlights:

Finding and keeping an affordable place to live can be an all-consuming chore in Silicon Valley. Some of the area’s teachers, administrators, and teachers have to live two hours from school to find housing that fits their budget. Some combine two families into one apartment. Others move in with relatives. “They drive here when it’s really early and (there’s) little traffic. They sleep in their car for a few hours and then they start work,” San Mateo Union High School District Superintendent Kevin Skelly says of some teachers who live more than 60 miles away. Other staff members are technically homeless. “We have teachers who are couchsurfing,” he says. “It’s brutal.”

There are reported teacher shortages all over the Bay Area and yet the solution to teacher shortages in some cities are to truncate the process to becoming a teacher instead of retaining the teachers that already exist that leave for greener pastures or more affordable housing.

And even as much as we say we value education and how we’ll summit any mountain to benefit our children, we still balk at ensuring that the human beings in charge of educating our kids don’t have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to beat the traffic to be at school at 8:20 sharp to teacher those kids, from the City Lab piece:

Other Silicon Valley and Bay Area public school districts have considered teacher housing, but not all have been able to get the surrounding public on board. Cupertino Union School District had been considering teacher housing, but Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz says the district had to nix the plan due to “lack of community support.”

I know that this School District has toyed around with the topic of building housing for teachers and it will be interesting to see what the response if this proposal ever gets pitched to the community.

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3 Comments »

  1. Another topic for another day: when development actually occurs who pays for new school facilities. After legislative changes in 90s, developers pay nominal developer fee that does not come close to paying for building of facility capacity.

    Historic note: From an old redevelopment agreement, AUSD received funding to build employee housing. When the District explored building housing at the old Eagle site, there was community opposition to the development as well as nearly all of the district staff could not qualify for low income housing.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — March 14, 2017 @ 7:25 am

  2. When you oppose housing the direct outcome is increased homelessness. We’ve built less than half the amounts of housing we’ve needed state-wide for the last ten years due to the loss of redevelopment funds, complicated zoning laws, NIMBYism and anti-urbanism. The people who are hurt the most are low income people of color, seniors and the disabled. The people are still coming and folks are still having families. We have to start questioning our morality when we let folks who have stable housing in a housing shortage dictate how much and what we build to house people in one of the world’s largest job centers. Building the housing our state needs could grow our economy by 220 Billion dollars, increasing the funds going into our state coffers by millions of dollars every year.

    Comment by Angela — March 14, 2017 @ 9:39 am

  3. Building teacher-specific housing sounds great, but I think it conflates two issues — lack of housing in general, and low paid teachers. I’d rather just pay our teachers enough so that they can afford to live here, and build more housing overall. Right now the median teacher in Alameda makes around $70k. Even if Alameda provides housing, we won’t attract and retain great teachers at that kind of salary.

    Comment by Phill — March 20, 2017 @ 8:30 am


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