A Northern California school district facing a mass exodus of teachers due to the skyrocketing price of housing in the Bay Area. With not enough homes for sale in the area, plus rent prices spiking with little sign of stopping, the Milpitas School District can’t seem to keep teachers in its classrooms.
According to Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan, seven teachers left the district to find more affordable communities, and three left the state following the 2021-22 school year. So, school officials decided to put a call for help out to parents who may be able to offer housing assistance to the district’s educators.
According to KTVU-TV, Jordan sent a message to parents to ask if they could help by renting rooms to teachers to help ease the financial burden of the area’s astronomical housing costs. According to RentCafe, the average price of a rental property in Milpitas is $3,017, with the average property size being 859 square feet.
The message from the Office of the Superintendent also included a sign-up form for families who would welcome a renter into their home.
“We need your help in supporting our MUSD educators!” the message read, according to KTVU. “If you have a room for rent at your home and would like to share the housing opportunity with our Milpitas Unified School District educators, please fill out this Google form. If you know someone who may have a room coming up for rent, please share this information with them.”
The callout for help seems to be working, according to The Washington Post, which received an email from the district superintendent.
“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,” Jordan wrote to the publication.
During an Aug. 23 meeting, the Milpitas school board adopted a resolution in support of workforce housing for its employees. Board members stated they recognize the challenge its employees face due to the cost of housing in its district, which is located on the south end of San Francisco Bay, near San Jose.
“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,” the resolution stated.
The resolution also offered a commitment from the board to work to look for partnerships with homebuilders, community groups and local governments to improve affordability and increase the production of affordable housing for the district’s workforce.
Earlier this summer, another California school district opened its own housing area to provide affordable living spaces to help retain teachers. The Associated Press reported Jefferson Union High School in San Mateo County opened 122 apartments for teachers and staff.
“I have a sense of community, which I think is more valuable than anything else,” said Lisa Raskin, one of the teachers who moved into the new apartments with a roommate. “More districts really need to consider this model. I think it shows educators that they value them.”