San Jose Proposes to Convert Schools into Teacher Housing
Housing in California is a crisis that not only exists today, but has also been drastically increasing over time. Los Angeles Times has even noted that 4 out of 10 Californians are living in poverty. this increasing risk places an impact on those that live in the neighborhood including parents, their children and even the teachers at nearby schools. This is especially true for teachers in San Jose’s rising housing cost neighborhoods.
An Attempt for Fair Housing
In midst of the housing crisis, the Northern California District proposed a plan to convert nearby schools into low-income housing for teachers. The district originally proposed to convert 9 properties (including schools and district offices) into housing for nearby teachers in the area. This would be set in place in order to help the many teachers that often live far away from their schools due to soaring housing costs. Many teachers face up to 4 hours daily when commuting to and from work.
Though a seemingly supportive proposal, nearby residents felt otherwise. Hundreds of residents voiced their opinion on the matter. In fact, the community back-lashed the overall proposal, stating that by removing these school landmarks and converting them into low-income housing, would decrease the value of its neighborhood.
Moving School Locations
San Jose’s Unified School District further noted that the housing would not only benefit nearby teachers, but other school employees as well. In the proposal were suggested conversions of the beloved Leland High School and Bret Harte High School in the well-known Almaden Valley, a prestige and wealthy community. Additionally, schools consistently run into the problem of having to hire and retain employees do to long commutes and the rising housing costs near the school.
Declining Enrollment & Employment
The eight schools found in the proposal would later be transferred to another area, if given the opportunity to build for teacher housing. Schools that were brought into the proposal were originally picked due to declining enrollment and employment. Like the long and tedious commute that teachers face daily, parents also have a long commute when dropping off their kids at school. Not only does this affect their kids grades and attendance, but the parents attendance at work, as well. Furthermore, if given the opportunity to build the housing, the schools wouldn’t be shut down at all. Instead, these schools would be moved into other locations.
The Push for Teacher Housing
A proposal to defeat San Jose’s housing problem only brought more problems among the community itself. Though this was freshly proposed, other communities have begun to make an influence out of this, as well. A great example of the like would be Palo Alto’s experimental teacher housing, where they received additional funding to support the project.
Over 200 teachers are replaced yearly in San Jose’s school district. If supportive teacher housing isn’t in place, will this jeopardize the future of our schools? Whether it takes converting schools or some other plan, something must be done to save these high-risk schools.