Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 10, 2017

Show your appreciation

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

In honor on Teacher Appreciation week, I thought I’d post this infinitely depressing tweet that came up on my feed yesterday:

As some folks complain about the “overdevelopment” on Alameda our local metros are essentially not affordable for our teachers, you know, the people who make our schools “good,” keep our home values up, and educate our most precious little ones.

Only 10% of the housing stock in the closest major city, Oakland, is deemed affordable for teachers compared with New York City — the great big “Manhattanization” boogeyman — is at least 33% affordable.

Add to more depressing factoids, SF Gate also ran a piece about a teacher who found herself homeless even though she has a masters degree and was gainfully employed as a teacher.   From SF Gate:

The unworkable math behind teachers and housing was detailed in The Chronicle last year: San Francisco’s cost of living was by far the highest among 821 school districts in the state, but its average teacher pay ranked with the likes of Dixon, Susanville and Chowchilla at No. 528.

Nothing much has changed. In fact, a new report by Apartment List, an online listing of apartments for rent grouped by location, shows that San Francisco’s teachers have it not only the worst in the state, but the worst in the entire country.

At every level of experience, San Francisco’s educators must pay more of their income for housing than anywhere else in the country.

Think the answer is the far-flung suburbs? The report figured that Pittsburg and San Pablo are the only semi-nearby places where San Francisco teachers can live without spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent. As anybody who commutes from there to the city knows, that will take a couple hours out of your day.

“Certain jobs have to be local: police officers, teachers, firefighters,” said Andrew Woo, a data scientist at Apartment List. “We want to make sure our cities continue to be affordable for those kinds of workers, and so far, it seems like San Francisco is really struggling to make that happen for our teachers.”

So while free lunches and gift cards are nice gestures to our children’s educators during Teacher Appreciation week, if we really appreciated teachers we would advocate on their behalf for better salaries.  We would advocate for affordable housing in our communities so that our teachers can afford to live next door instead of on a couch or a three hour commute away.

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32 Comments »

  1. Well, who’s going to lead the charge on Prop 13 reform?

    Comment by baby mama — May 10, 2017 @ 6:31 am

    • I would guess that with the current prices of real estate, that prop 13 reform may be a red herring and the real issue is where the money is spent. Like the federal govt saying we can afford wars, but not food or health care. It’s called priorities. If you take my prop 13, please give me back the social security that is offset. I worked for 25 years in the private sector. I would like my money,please.

      Comment by Retiredteacher — May 11, 2017 @ 6:18 pm

      • Retired teacher worked for 25 years in private sector…does that you mean you taught at private school?

        Comment by dave — May 13, 2017 @ 12:46 pm

        • dave, she could have worked for 25 years in private sector before becoming a teacher. In CA teachers pay into STRS. They then are not allowed to collect Social Security. When a teacher splits a career there is some formula to recoup some of Social Security but my impression is that teachers get screwed. My wife went from law to teaching and got a credential at Mills. It was all out of altruism and she didn’t even realize the unfairness of the pension system until after she became a teacher. Other states don’t have this prohibition at all, which in CA is referred to as “double dipping”. With teacher’s shitty pay at least they’d get their due if they were allowed to “double dip” when they retired.

          Comment by MI — May 13, 2017 @ 2:56 pm

        • That’s standard procedure Mark. Double Dipping applies to Fed retirees so why should it not apply any other Uncle Sugar

          Comment by jack — May 13, 2017 @ 5:57 pm

        • You would probably have to explain the details to convince me Jack, but if a person pays into one fund for half their career and another for the other half, why shouldn’t they have access to both? It is NOT prohibited in other STATES and if it is a federal law that would see to be a whole other venue. But to give a glib Jack like answer to your question how about “because the feds have their heads up the asses”.

          Comment by MI — May 14, 2017 @ 11:42 am

        • If your wife worked for an employer that provided a pay-in retirement program like the teacher in California thing and also previously worked for an employer that deducted social security from her pay then the Social Security payment she gets will be reduced per the Windfall Elimination Provision which is a recalculation of your Social Security benefit if you also have a pension from “non-covered” work (no Social Security taxes were paid). The normal Social Security calculation formula is thrown out and replaced with a new calculation that results in a lower benefit amount. Some states allow both, CA ain’t one of them.

          Comment by jack — May 15, 2017 @ 10:33 am

  2. Just remember friends, when you oppose housing, you’re in favor of homelessness. We make transit problems worse (and put more carbon dioxide in the air) when we refuse to build dense housing close to job centers. Our children’s education will deteriorate since teachers don’t have stable places to live. We’re already in a teacher shortage. And remember, original zoning laws began as efforts to segregate. The more you oppose housing, the more you are continuing racist traditions in our history.

    To oppose housing in the largest housing shortage since the gold rush? Opposing housing when tall dense energy efficient housing tied to transit could actually get more people out of their cars? Is the problem housing or is the problem the opposition to it and the resulting housing policy for the last 40 years? Because what we’ve been doing for the last 40 years has created this problem.

    It’s time for something different and policies that prioritize widespread new housing development statewide over protecting the folks who already have stable housing. The jobs aren’t going anywhere and our population will continue to grow. There is no moral argument to oppose housing anymore, especially since it’s already causing enough suffering to qualify as a crisis. Too bad it’s not a natural disaster or perhaps then people would take the urgency seriously.

    Homes for all. What kind of liberal bastion are we if teachers who make 65K a year have to sleep in homeless shelter?

    We can do better.

    Comment by Angela — May 10, 2017 @ 6:32 am

    • Well put, Angela. Housing for all in the Bay Area, particularly, is a conundrum not easily solved. It needs wider thinking and less knee jerk response. What is logical is often not popular because of our tendency to hunker down and say “I’ve got mine, Jack, screw everybody else.” I truly believe that community based solutions are possible, but not without some serious mind stretching, innovative thinking and risk taking. And maybe a magic wand.

      Comment by Kate Quick — May 10, 2017 @ 7:15 am

      • Teachers should find an occupation that pays more or relocate to a cheaper area if they’re not satisfied here. Or maybe Kate can begin a “crowdfunding” scheme to bring their income to what she thinks is appropriate.

        Comment by jack — May 10, 2017 @ 7:57 am

        • OK, I ask you this, Jack: once our teachers are all driven out of the bay area, who should we get to teach our children? Should the district advertise their positions on TaskRabbit and hire the lowest bidder? Idiocracy, here we come!

          Comment by Kristen — May 10, 2017 @ 4:28 pm

        • There is no exodus of teachers from Alameda schools except on Fridays afternoons when they all congregate at Rockwall.

          Comment by jack — May 10, 2017 @ 5:04 pm

        • Here’s a fun “crowdfunding” idea – taxation. Since it looks as if federal tax rates are going to drop (for at least some) it seems like the time is right to dump Prop 13 and tax Californians enough to actually pay for the quality of services we demand. If we want good public schools with experienced, qualified teachers, that just might cost more in taxes than we’re currently paying.

          Comment by Ron — May 10, 2017 @ 10:41 pm

        • http://www.caltax.org/resources/cataxfacts.html
          California already has the highest taxes in the nation, Ron Mooney. Some people are never satisfied.

          Comment by vigi — May 11, 2017 @ 10:03 am

        • Tax rates are one metric to use. Tax burden is another metric. CA is number 10 on that list.

          https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-highest-lowest-tax-burden/20494/

          Comment by Mike McMahon — May 11, 2017 @ 5:43 pm

        • vigi, if we adjusted the commercial side of Prop.13 we might not need to renew these parcel taxes every few years.

          Comment by MI — May 13, 2017 @ 12:23 pm

      • I suggested to the city council today that the big o site, now unpermitted, be changed to be mixed use with either low cost senior or low cost teacher house on top. We have many other underutilized sites that could be used in the same manner.

        Comment by Retiredteacher — May 11, 2017 @ 6:20 pm

  3. The teaching profession has not been valued compared to other professions with similar educational backgrounds.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/08/16/think-teachers-arent-paid-enough-its-worse-than-you-think/?utm_term=.c5a3e92e8860

    Even on the international stage: http://www.businessinsider.com/teacher-salaries-by-country-2016-1

    Comment by Mike McMahon — May 10, 2017 @ 7:18 am

    • The problems are easy to identify: Firemen overpaid, teachers underpaid, and per student funding well below the national average.

      The solution is pretty easy as well: pay firemen less, pay teachers more, fund education at least at national avg

      But implementing that solution is the insurmountable challenge. It would mean overturning union control of politicians and freeing localities to tax as they see fit. That’s a when-donkeys-fly situation.

      Comment by dave — May 10, 2017 @ 7:31 am

      • I will not point the finger at the firemen who save my life or my house. I will point it at waste. There is much.

        Comment by Retiredteacher — May 11, 2017 @ 6:22 pm

        • Firemen’s avg total compensation (salary + benefits) is more than double that of an AUSD teacher. For a fair number of them it is more than triple.

          Comment by dave — May 12, 2017 @ 8:45 am

        • As a teacher I was asked to do some difficult things. I was not asked or ordered into a burning building. Let’s bring teachers up, not firefighters down.

          Comment by Retiredteacher — May 12, 2017 @ 2:26 pm

  4. While not directly applicable to Alameda, another factor leading to higher prices in the region:

    http://www.oaklandmagazine.com/May-2017/The-Real-Cause-of-Gentrification/

    Comment by Mike McMahon — May 10, 2017 @ 7:24 am

  5. The issues of teacher housing is yet another place where Alamedans and all Californians must confront the divide between homeowners with a bit of security and investment in keeping things as they were and the great need for so many folks to find affordable housing. The Bay Area’s economy mirrors a global trend that keeps an elite on the ascendancy able to afford things like stable housing, fancy meals etc while the majority slips downward. No matter where we are on this spectrum, we are all going to lose that traditional “sense of community” however we may personally define it if we continue to dismiss this crisis and focus only on our individual needs.

    Comment by Laura Thomas — May 10, 2017 @ 9:35 am

    • Aha, time for the Bolsheviks to arise and demand their dues.

      Comment by jack — May 11, 2017 @ 5:50 pm

      • Humanity. Where is the humanity? Not with jack. Come on! Red scare? Are you a million years old? I’m a senior, but…….

        Comment by Retiredteacher — May 11, 2017 @ 6:15 pm

        • What the fuck is this thing you call “humanity”?

          Comment by jack — May 11, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

    • a. I thought the SF Bay Area set trends, not follow them.
      b. What are “fancy meals”? One of the great features of this area is the variety of exotic, ethnic, high-quality food available in any price range not restricted to an elite.
      c. Obviously there is no real “sense of community” in Alameda. All you have to do is read this blog to discover that.
      d. You sound like Angela Hockabout: another East Coaster who traveled 3000 miles to live here and lecture us about how we are doing it all wrong.
      e. Why aren’t you in Atherton or Burlingame or Los Altos complaining about the homes on the market for $13 million on estates that take up so much valuable land that could be used for more affordable housing that only sells for $1 million? Closer to the hi-tech jobs, too!
      f. In short, why pick on Alameda?

      Comment by vigi — May 12, 2017 @ 9:12 am

      • It’s not about picking on Alameda it’s about Alamedans working on solving an Alameda problem.

        Comment by Retiredteacher — May 12, 2017 @ 2:28 pm

  6. From Alameda’s housing development page:

    C. 2437 Eagle Avenue
    Developed by the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda (AHA)
    Location: At the corner of Eagle Avenue and Everett Street
    Housing type: 20 rental units (includes one manager’s unit) affordable to very low and low-income households. The project will include one, two and three-bedroom units plus community center and recreation areas. Applied for tax credit funding in 2016

    What if half of those units– the low income ones– were reserved for Alameda teachers? Low income for a family of four in Alameda is $80,400, for a family of three, $72,400. I know a teacher with two kids who is just scraping by (and hoping her landlord doesn’t sell her building) on about $55K per year. The struggle is real.

    Comment by Kristen — May 12, 2017 @ 8:33 am

    • Maybe she should have kept her old man around.

      Comment by jack — May 12, 2017 @ 5:33 pm

  7. Comment by jarfree — May 13, 2017 @ 11:03 am


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