California’s Milpitas Unified School District recently put out a call to families asking them to rent rooms in their homes to district educators as one way to recruit and retain teachers who may need help finding housing in the area, said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan in an emailed statement to K-12 Dive.
The 10,200-student district made this request to families in late August through a school communication app, additionally sharing that MUSD lost seven teachers last school year because they moved to more affordable areas, NBC Bay Area reported.
“With now 66 responses to our call for Rooms for Rent for MUSD Educators in such a short time, this is evidence that our entire MUSD Team, which includes our teachers and classified support staff, is valued by our Milpitas community members, parents and caregivers," Jordan said.
The district is also exploring other means to help teachers find affordable places to live, said Scott Forstner, the district’s communications specialist, in an email.
The average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,387, according to Apartment List, a company that lists rentals. Renting a two-bedroom apartment, on average, costs $4,536 in the same area.
The efforts in Milpitas come as districts nationwide search for various solutions to attract and retain teachers in their classrooms. Jefferson Union High School District, another Bay Area school district in Daly City, recently opened a building for affordable employee housing. In 2021, the Los Angeles Unified School District also launched an effort to provide affordable housing to the district’s teachers and staff.
MUSD is continuing to look at opportunities to work with agencies specializing in educator and city workforce home loans, as well as holding discussions about workforce housing with potential developers coming to Milpitas, Forstner said. And Jordan is participating in ongoing discussions with the community about workforce housing needs.
On top of that, the district’s board of education recently approved a resolution in support of workforce housing.
“Many of the Milpitas Unified School District moderate-income employees are working families and are finding it increasingly difficult to purchase or rent a home within a 15 mile radius or close to the Milpitas Unified School District where they work,” the resolution stated. “The gap between those who can afford a home in the San Francisco Bay Area and those who cannot, is widening at an alarming rate, with some having to hold part-time jobs to meet monthly housing expenses, and affordable rental housing is in short supply.”