- Santa Clara Unified School District has had a teacher housing program for 15 years, offering below-market rent to new employees for up to seven years, but other California districts have found it difficult to replicate their success.
- The Los Angeles Daily News reports the Teacher Housing Act of 2016 made it easier for districts to become landlords by making low-income housing tax credits available for such projects and allowing districts to limit tenants to their employees, instead of anyone who meets the income guidelines.
- The Cupertino Union School District abandoned plans for teacher housing when residents fiercely opposed giving up a former elementary school for residential development, Oakland Unified had trouble finding a developer for a program of its own, and Berkeley wouldn’t be able to put a time limit on teacher stays in a set-up like Santa Clara’s because of “just cause” eviction regulations.
The teacher shortage is forcing many districts around the country to get creative. While housing developments necessarily reach only a small number of teachers, more districts are exploring them, including some in Colorado and Missouri.
One challenge is that developers want the low-income tax credits to take on such a project, but most teachers don’t meet those income requirements, even though they still find housing markets to be too expensive in many places. Other retention efforts include giving teachers more voice in school decision-making and ensuring they have the supplies they need in the classroom.