California’s state legislature has passed a bill designed to allow school districts across the state to lease school district-owned property for the purpose of building special public housing projects for teachers and, of course, school administrators.
While the bill allows any California school district to build public housing units for teachers and school personnel, it is aimed especially at the housing situation for teachers in San Francisco. Supporters of the bill say that teachers’ salaries in the City by the Bay are too low to afford rent in the city plagued by decades of government-mandated rent control.
The city of San Francisco has approved $2 million in funding for the new teachers-only public housing projects.
“This is a major win for San Francisco’s teachers who have struggled, like many, in the current housing climate,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement obtained by KRON-TV. “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.”
Last fall, taxpayer-funded San Francisco school officials and Mayor Lee announced a plan to construct a minimum of 100 public housing units for teachers.
Over the next five years, school officials also want to subsidize rental property for 100 teachers. They hope to provide down-payment loans to 200 more.
Additionally, plans are in the works to pony up $250,000 for counseling services for teachers who cannot figure out how to rent or purchase apartments or houses by themselves.
The new law is necessary because, under current California law, the government can’t use taxpayer funds to build housing projects for people just because they happen to have some job.
About half of San Francisco’s teachers leave their jobs within five years. Among the reasons, school district officials say, is that the rent in San Francisco is too damn high.
“We have a huge challenge trying to keep our teachers in San Francisco and there have been studies showing that there aren’t many rentals and places to buy that teachers can afford,” San Francisco school board president Matt Haney told KRON-TV.
Earlier this year, San Francisco’s city council passed municipal legislation that prevents landlords from evicting teachers for the duration of the academic year. (RELATED: San Francisco Law Bans Landlords From Evicting Teachers Because Teachers Are Really Special)
When teachers are forced to move, it’s hard on them, proponents of the anti-eviction law urged. If they quit their jobs during the school year, children in schools suffer.
“San Francisco cannot be a world class city without world class schools, and you cannot have world class schools without educators,” the sponsor of the municipal legislation, Democrat David Campos, proclaimed in February, according to Mission Local.
“A credentialed teacher makes less than $3,400 a month,” Campos also said. “A one-bedroom apartment is more than that.”
The bill protecting San Francisco teachers from the savages of paying rent seemed to be directed at least in part toward Anne Kihagi, a mysterious real estate developer who appears to be hated by pretty much everyone in all of San Francisco.
Kihagi had a number of people evicted on what critics claim are flimsy pretenses, including at least one angry teacher.
Kihagi’s ultimate motive for the evictions is unclear but it appears to be to transform rent-controlled apartment buildings into buildings where she can charge market rates.
Rent control tends to lead to shortages of available apartments in cities where it is imposed, which in turn leads to artificially high rental rates for other apartments which have market-based rent rates.