A San Francisco Bay area school district has asked its students’ parents to house its teachers in response to California’s affordable housing crisis across the state, according to a report from local media.
The report comes after seven teachers quit their jobs at the end of the academic year last June, compelling Milpitas Unified School District officials to message parents last week asking them to fill out an online form. The questionnaire asks if they “have a room for rent at your home and would like to share the housing opportunity with our . . . educators,” according to The Washington Post.
The survey also asked parents to share the number of rooms available in their residence and how much they would charge for rent.
District officials said they had received dozens of responses within a few days.
“With 53 responses to our call for Rooms for Rent for [district staff] in such a short time, this is evidence that our entire [team], which includes our teachers and classified support staff, is valued by our Milpitas community members, parents, and caregivers,” Superintendent Cheryl Jordan wrote in an email to The Post.
A resolution unanimously approved by Milpitas school board members said during a meeting last month noted that the gap between those who can afford a home in the Bay Area and those who cannot is “widening at an alarming rate.”
The district has approximately 1,000 employees, about half of whom work as teachers, are considered “moderate-income employees” that are reportedly struggling to purchase or rent a home within a 15-mile radius of the district’s jurisdiction.
Glassdoor reports that an average salary for a Milipitas teacher makes around $66,000 per year.
The Economic Policy Institute reports that between 2014 and 2019, California educators earned 15.5% less than those outside of the profession who are also college-educated, making it challenging to thrive in a California economy.
California has the 4th highest rent in the country out of 56 states and territories, according to rentdata.org, which states the Fair Market Rent in California is $2,274 for a 2-bedroom apartment in the Oakland-Fremont area.
The City of Milpitas, which falls under the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara county area, has “very high” rents compared to the national average, the website reports, adding the area is more expensive than 99% of other Fair Market Rent areas.
A two-bedroom apartment in the county averages out to nearly $3,000 per month.
“We’ve lost out on some employees that we tried to recruit because once they see how much it costs to live here, they determine that it’s just not possible,” Jordan told NBC News.
Rather than increasing its employee’s salaries, district officials blamed the recent resignations on economic factors such as an increase of more than 25% in interest rates that have driven up the price of building a new home.
With the price of rentals also rising, the district said it hopes to secure low-interest home loans for teachers with local agencies and gain support from developers coming to the new city to build workforce housing.