- The San Francisco Unified School District will develop at least 550 housing units on district-owned property for teachers and paraprofessionals over the next 10 years, under a resolution that the school board adopted Tuesday night.
- The resolution, the result of collaboration between the district, the mayor’s office, the union, the Council of Community Housing Organizations and an affordable housing fund, stems from the voters’ approval of two propositions last year — an affordable housing bond that included $20 million for educator housing and another proposition that allows such housing to be built on public land.
- In addition to one site where the district is already constructing 130 units, officials have identified three other places for potential housing “that will emphasize the retention of consistent and experienced SFUSD educators with strong ties to the community,” the resolution says.
The resolution notes that high housing costs have led to some SFUSD employees becoming “super commuters” — driving as much as two to five hours to get to work. Working side jobs, living in cars and sleeping on friends’ couches are other examples of how the short supply of affordable housing has affected educators in the Bay Area.
The district notes between 2011 and 2017, rent increased by 50% and home prices increased by 72%, contributing to the shortage of housing options available for those earning less than 120% of San Francisco’s area median income of $118,000 for a family of four. Most teachers don’t earn that much annually, and some paraprofessionals earn about $22 per hour. The district now joins others in the region that have developed land for educator housing.
“The passing of this educator housing resolution will increase our ability to retain the best educators in California and benefit our students for decades to come,” Faauuga Moliga, a SFUSD board member, said in a press release.
While the problem may be more acute in California, the demand stretches across the country. More affordable housing for teachers was one key issue in the Chicago Teachers Union’s strike against the Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. While the mayor didn’t think the issue should be addressed in the union contract, she has created a task force that will look at how much affordable or low-rent housing developers will be required to include in their projects.
In cities such as Washington, D.C, Denver and Seattle, teachers are getting help with down payments on homes from Landed, a financial services company. Some developers are also responding to the problem. The Teachers Village in Newark, New Jersey, features residencies as part of a mixed-use development that also includes charter schools, a child care enter and retail space.