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California school district builds affordable housing for teachers

Posted at 6:25 AM, Feb 07, 2020

DALY CITY, CA (KRON/CNN) — A California school district is trying to help combat the high cost of living for its teachers by building affordable employee housing.

District officials hope this can pave the way for employee housing across the nation.

Jefferson Union High School District is breaking ground in Daly City to build affordable housing for its teachers and staff.

"We had 20-percent turnover with our teachers and staff one year, and that's huge for a district our size. That's a third of our staff, and so we were looking to see what could we do to help retain the teachers that we have and also how do we attract teachers into our district,” Kalimah Salahuddin with the Jefferson Union High School District Board of Education said. “And one of the issues besides, of course, their salary was the cost of housing and the unavailability of housing."

Salahuddin helped spearhead the four-story development in hopes of making life more affordable for employees.

Because right now, some teachers commute to Daly City from places as far as Brentwood, which is about 70 miles away.

"We're building 122 units, one two and three bedroom. It is is, we're hoping to keep it 50-percent below market rate because it doesn't make any sense to build housing that none of our teachers and staff can afford to live in," Salahuddin said.
Superintendent Dr. Terry Deloria says the school district is paving ways for others across the nation.

"We're the first school district in the nation where the community passed a bond to pay for the building for the staff housing. And I would say to anyone who's interested in doing some kind of project like this, they should definitely do it. Every district has different resources," Deloria said.

The school district and city worked closely together on the project -- hoping it will allow teachers to stay at their schools and serve as a recruitment tool for more staff members.

"This is the first step in the continued fight to ensure that, you know, our teachers make a living wage, and housing isn't part of interfering with that living wage, and the continued fight with education and to increase the funding of education in California so that all teachers don't have to deal with this problem," Salahuddin said.

The school district had passed the bond measure in June 2018.