Photo: Darshan Simha/Flickr
High housing prices in San Francisco are a big problem for the city’s school teachers, but a new bill now in the hands of California Governor Jerry Brown could provide some relief. Called Senate Bill 1413, it would allow California school districts to lease property for the development of housing specifically for teachers.
In San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) would be able to convert its vacant lots or administrative buildings into housing, allowing teachers to live in the city where they work — currently a luxury many cannot afford. The bill was recently passed by the California State Assembly and the California State Senate, and is backed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
“SB 1413 delivers on the promise that we are building housing for school district employees — teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators who are dedicated to our students, parents and schools,” Lee told the San Francisco Examiner.
According to the California Teachers Association, the state is facing an extreme shortage of teachers, especially in urban areas. Approximately 20 percent of new hires quit teaching within three years, and in urban districts like San Francisco it’s closer to 50 percent within the first five years. California would need 100,000 more teachers to bring its student-to-teacher ratio up to the national average.
If the bill is approved, competition for SFUSD housing is sure to be fierce — the starting salary for SFUSD teachers is just $52,600 a year, well below the minimum household income required to buy a median-priced single-family home in the city.