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District could build apartments for teacher housing

High cost of housing a factor in departure of many Mountain View Whisman teachers

The Mountain View Whisman School District took small steps towards addressing a big problem Thursday night, when board members agreed to look at constructing teacher housing.

The skyrocketing cost of living in the Bay Area has fueled an exodus of teachers who can no longer afford to live in or near Mountain View. Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph told the board at its March 17 meeting that teachers would be hard-pressed to pay the average rent in Mountain View -- between $2,600 and $2,900 a month -- when the average teacher pay is close to $69,000 annually. Teachers either move out of the area and endure a long commute, or rely on a shared-living situation.

"It's really an issue for our teachers, especially our youngest teachers," Rudolph said. "There are reports out there of individuals who are renting out rooms like dorms in downtown Mountain View for about $1,000 a pop."

Teachers have long complained that the district's salaries fall short of the cost of living near Mountain View, a problem that has become increasingly hard for district administrators to ignore. Last year, the school district had to fill 55 teaching positions for the 2015-16 school year after a mass exodus of teachers who resigned -- meaning about 1 in 5 teachers in the district are new hires this school year.

It would be one thing if teacher retention was an isolated incident last year, but it's been a chronic problem. Jonathan Pharazyn, president of the Mountain View Educators Association, told the Voice last year that the district has had to hire 170 new teachers in the last four years, following a sustained loss of both new and veteran teaching staff. Pharazyn has frequently advocated for the district to make a bold move, such as partnering with the city, to find a way to make housing affordable for teachers.

A recent poll found conducted by the Mountain View Whisman School District found that roughly 70 percent of its teachers live outside of the district's boundaries, due in large part to the high cost of living in the area. Nearly all the district's teachers -- 229 -- participated in the survey, and more than half said they would consider moving to the district if they were offered an affordable place to live.

Board president Ellen Wheeler said she was all for moving forward with studying teacher housing options, which she said could help the school district attract prospective teachers in the Bay Area.

"I'm interested in seeing if we can figure out a way to provide rental housing for teachers in some manner," Wheeler said. "We always talk about attracting and retaining teachers, (and) I think this would be a draw for new teachers."

There are a couple of constraints limiting on the school district when it comes to building affordable housing, Rudolph said. The school district cannot pass a bond to fund a teacher housing project, and the school district cannot funnel general fund money into subsidizing a housing development. On the flip side, he said, the school district cannot use the apartments as source of revenue.

Because buying land would be cost-prohibitive, the school district would have to use its own land for teacher housing, which Rudolph said could be a little tricky. The school district owns excess land at the former Whisman and Slater Elementary sites, as well as land at Cooper and Sylvan parks, but finding a spot that allows for high-density housing will be problematic.

"We have a lot of land in our district that is available for us to use, but some of the most ideal spots that we have are actually not in places (zoned for) high density," Rudolph said. "The residents that live there would probably put up a fight against putting up high-density property."

Affordable housing options do exist in Mountain View, but haven't done much for teachers. The city's Below-Market Rate (BMR) Housing Ordinance give teachers priority in a lottery system that allows residents to live in subsidized units, but Rudolph said wait lists are too long and the BMR housing stock is too low to make a big difference. The Mountain View City Council has taken steps to add to affordable housing in the city, including a decision earlier this month that would pour $22 million into a dense, 116-unit apartment complex on Evelyn Avenue. But the income restrictions to live there -- no more than $37,250 for individuals and $63,780 for a family of four -- mean that most teachers don't qualify because their salaries are considered too high.

Board member Bill Lambert questioned whether building a single affordable housing development would put a dent in what has become a massive problem for teaching staff in the school district. Rudolph said it all depends on the scale of a project, and that something along the lines of a 70-unit apartment complex would be enough to house nearly a third of all the teachers in the district.

The prime example of what could be built for teachers in Mountain View is not far away. In 2002, the Santa Clara Unified School District built 40 apartments solely for teachers, for the relatively low cost of $6 million. The district teamed up with Thompson Dorfman Partners, a residential development firm that specializes in teacher housing and works with school districts at a lower cost.

The average rent for the units in Santa Clara's development is between $800 and $1,400 a month, but there are a few strings attached. The apartments are only available to teachers who have been in the district for fewer than three years, and there's a five-year limit for all the tenants. The expectation is that teachers are saving up while they live there, and may be able to afford a down payment and mortgage to buy a home.

Board members agreed at the March 17 meeting that it would be a good idea to look at housing options for teachers, but said they needed a better idea of the demand first. The district will be sending out a new survey to all district employees -- not just teachers -- to find out their average commute time, the rent they are currently paying, and other key information to assess the scope of any future housing project.

One way the district could finance the project is through a certificate of participation, which the district could pay off solely through rental revenue from the teacher residents. Rudolph said the district would need to assess a break-even point where rents are high enough to avoid encumbering the general fund.

Prior to the meeting, Rudolph said he spoke to Los Altos School District board member Sangeeth Peruri to discuss what teacher housing options are already up and running in the Bay Area, and what kind of models have been successful. In talking to Peruri, Rudolph said it became clear that someone -- it wasn't clear who -- was going to have to spearhead the teacher housing effort to make it work, which he said was an essential ingredient for Santa Clara Unified School District's housing project.

"They were talking about it for over a year and the superintendent said, 'It's time to stop talking and it's time to start doing something,'" Rudolph said. "There has to be a champion that's willing to see it all the way through, because this is a big time commitment to pull this off."

Comments

13 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 20, 2016 at 7:20 pm

So MVSD wants to build housing for the rich kids teachers as the poorest of family's in MV become homeless as stated here in the Voice. This district needs a overhall of leadership.


21 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2016 at 10:35 pm

I can't think of a single reason to not keep the best teachers in our city.Yk


16 people like this
Posted by Carl
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 21, 2016 at 6:05 am

This is pure political PR and lip service, much like the whole rent control issue. It will never happen. Raise teacher pay and attract better teachers who can afford to live here. The money spent will go right back into the economy. More welfare like this will suck it dry.


16 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

I'm perfectly fine with teacher housing. I'm skeptical that it's something they can effectively execute on, given all the listed constraints.

How about we start all MVWSD teachers at $100k base? Teachers, not staff. That's very achievable. Don't open an extra school; instead focus those MVWSD dollars on teacher salaries and stopping the bleeding?

If there's a shortfall then let's put a new parcel tax on the ballot. The existing MVWSD parcel tax was approved in 2009 and was strictly meant to cover the effects of the great recession. It did not anticipate the insane growth that the area would experience and the pressure it would place on teachers.

So let's do the responsible thing and put fistfuls of money in our teacher's pockets.


23 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 21, 2016 at 10:31 am

Also, @George has no point and just baffles nonsense into the internet.

1. Poor people are suffering.

2. Teachers are suffering.

3. People who are (luckily) not suffering need teachers for their children. Obviously, people living in poverty are incapable of having children.

4. Make the teachers suffer, because I saw a homeless guy once.

Pretty sure we can address #1 and #2 independently, without waiting for some Grand Unification Theory of Social Justice.


14 people like this
Posted by mvresident2008
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 21, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Teacher pay is here: Web Link

The problem goes back as least to 2014: Web Link

Why, oh why, are we not paying our teachers more money?


22 people like this
Posted by @mvresident2008
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Prop 13. Lack of budget.


12 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Probably time to revisit Shoreline's special tax district and to let Shoreline property taxes flow to the schools they're supposed to fund.

Each school dollar currently captured by Shoreline could go towards teachers' pay raises or housing assistance.


18 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 21, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Mountain View teachers are having the same housing issues as those in adjacent districts. However, to move into the real estate / rental business is NOT what school districts are for.

Stanford University rents blocks of apartments and leases them to students at a discounted rate. The same could be done for teachers or districts could pay something akin to the military housing allowance.

Cupertino's Superintendent also wants to build housing for teachers but the overwhelming consensus is that school districts should not be in the business of owning large tracts of property. But I repeat myself.

The over-priced housing situation might not last much longer. Literally thousands of new units are about to come on the market, all the while there are vacancies along Latham, Del Medio and other apartment rich avenues. Don't forget about the 10,250 high density units that are to be built north of Highway 101 too. We might find ourselves with lots of vacancies and the result? Lower rents . . . maybe!


18 people like this
Posted by Mt. View Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 21, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Why not just pay teachers more? Seems like that's the real problem, since neighboring school districts pay more. We also need a revamp on the school system that would make teachers want to work in our district.


4 people like this
Posted by bodhi
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Interesting suggestion, @Scott: "How about we start all MVWSD teachers at $100k base? Teachers, not staff." So why not increase pay for staff positions as well? Teachers get paid more than support staff positions do, so it seems to me staff can use the increase in pay more. Yes we need teachers, but without competent support staff these schools wouldn't be able to run.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 21, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Why single out teachers for beneficial special treatment? Our problem is expensive cost of housing due to being in an area with a very successful industry, increasing population, and fairly stagnant housing inventory. Build more housing, make everyone's rent cheaper. Quit delaying construction via every procedural trick in the CA playbook.


24 people like this
Posted by Why?
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2016 at 3:45 pm

The land that the district owns which is currently provided to the city free of charge at Cooper Park is considerable. 5 acres of the Park is owned by the city. 10 acres is owned by MVWSD, which currently only gets a small revenue stream from the preschool occupying a small part of the 10 acres.

The 10 acres of land owned by MVWSD is worth $80 to $100 Million. When one says "high density" it is not very precise. You would not need to develop this at 60 units per acre. They don't need 600 units. Think nice 2 story townhouse apartments. 20-35 units per acre is considered low density.

This is a good idea. I hope it happens. Even just a 5 acre portion of the land being developed this way would be a high help to the teachers who could get an apartment there. Simply charge a rent similar to what they'd pay in San Jose so they don't have to travel so far. The school district would make a profit on such a venture.


6 people like this
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Martin Omander is a registered user.

This is a tricky question and I'm glad the school district is looking into solutions.

However, as noted above, the root cause of high housing costs is the low supply and high demand for housing. We probably don't want to lower demand and drive people away. So our only lever is to increase the supply. We could easily have taller buildings downtown. With more people there, we'd have more stores, offices, etc, which would make for a more walkable city. The developers are ready to start building as soon as we give them the green light.


7 people like this
Posted by DD
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 21, 2016 at 10:01 pm

1) Why not ask Google to build 100 units of housing on the top floor of the new building they are planning which could be used by teachers and nonprofits for free for up to three years?
2) Why not clean up Moffett Field and turn it into affordable housing for teachers and nonprofit workers?
3) Why not cap rents at 5% increase per year AND then require every company with over 10K employees in Mountain View to contribute to a fund that would pay 50% rent for any person that makes under $100K. This would hardly hurt the companies that are making tens of millions, would not hurt the landlords and would allow hard-working residents to save some money and get out of the renter's trap and living month to month.


18 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Why not let teachers commute just like anyone else who can't afford to live here? Honestly people, since when did living close to your job become a right? I commuted for YEARS, sometimes over 1 hour each way. Are you saying my job is less important than a teacher? Come on, enough with this. If you can't afford to live here then move! I want to live in Los Altos but I can't afford it. I don't expect them to drop prices, why do you keep insisting on this?


19 people like this
Posted by @mvresident2003
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm

"Are you saying my job is less important than a teacher?"

ABSOLUTELY.

And teachers are more valuable members of the community than you will ever be.


17 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Oh great. Now the school district is going to get into the property developing/management business.

What could go wrong?

Luckily our board is so dysfunctional I don't even have to worry about this terrible idea ever happening.


8 people like this
Posted by @Otto Maddox
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Remember, though -- Stevie Nelson, the bad boy of the board, is leaving. And there's always the opportunity to vote the other masters of dysfunction off the board.

One can only hope.


11 people like this
Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 23, 2016 at 9:49 am

Not sure that asking teachers making $50K/year to compete on the open market for new housing with software programmers making $100K+ will work in the teachers' favor, no matter how much open market housing is built... more likely, it just means more tech workers living close to their offices vs. commuting from places like Campbell or South San Jose.

As far as subsidized housing, Stanford did something similar for athletic coaches, with the housing that was built along El Camino a few years ago, which enabled them to recruit assistants who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to live in the area... the results for the football program speak for themselves. One of the benefits of this was that when you get coaches living near each other, they collaborate and learn more from each other. The right design, enabling teachers to mingle and perhaps share a common area for professional development programs, could unlock a lot more value, and make this about more than just going into the rental property business.


3 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 23, 2016 at 9:56 am

this district can't handle the board members and you want to add housing to the agenda. I don't think so.
You have students that are homeless. Shame on you all.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 23, 2016 at 10:21 am

thanks for keeping my name in the game Lester!
@Why. Your facts on MVWSD real estate at Cooper are almost right. If you look at the County Assessor's property maps, you will find both the MV City owned Cooper Park and the school site are 10 AC. Recently sold residential parcels across the street from Cooper (school) seem to fix the land-only value at about $4M / AC. The math then is $40M for the Cooper land. If you value the old small buildings at $0 and look at the rent generated - MVWSD gets less than 1% ROA (Return On Assets).
@SRB Shoreline diverts almost $8 M per year in MVWSD property tax (County Tax Rate Book section "H"). The JPA only shares about half of that, and it is via a short multi-year 'contract'. This quasi-RDA would need to have it's special formation legislation changed - by legislature - to guarantee MVWSD's full share of taxes. It is a Political Public Policy decision.
Look at Santa Clara USD. Does their 'limited year rentals for teachers' help the city housing stock and the local public schools? Does Stanford U's 'land rent' agreements for faculty & staff housing help them recruit? Does the similar new units at San Mateo Community College Dist. help that public institution recruit and retain? Should the city and school elected politicians set this direction for Mountain View?
This might be interesting set of questions - for November MVWSD Board candidates / Council candidates.

SN is currently one of those elected politicians, (MVWSD Board), these are only his own opinions


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 23, 2016 at 10:23 am

sorry Otto, credit where credit is due


5 people like this
Posted by Stanford
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 23, 2016 at 12:21 pm

@Patrick

If you have an "in" with John Arrillaga to assist Mountain View teachers as he did Stanford coaches, then you're on to something! :)

Or, if the MVEF Endowment grows to the level of Stanford's...


6 people like this
Posted by Janon
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2016 at 1:09 am

Janon is a registered user.

Google tried to create housing for its own employees. MV said no. Wonder why?

Tech companies are starting to have trouble attracting talent. Salaries here are only around 15% higher than average for a given role.

Typical tech worker is only doing about $150k and pays a TON in tax because they're not rich and so have no shelters. You need to marry ANOTHER tech worker to stay afloat. The millions and billions go to founders and VCs.

Those founders and VCs know this and don't like the trouble it causes. Housing costs are a problematic distraction to them.

Unfortunately they can't fix it because NIMBY city council members looooove their balooning Zillow value and prospect of Chinese auction for deep 7 figures cash when they're ready to sell out. Landed gentry looooooove the big money they can bilk from the rank and file in exchange for the poorly maintained, crap properties, that pass as rentals here.

What keeps it going is that the whole lousy area is the same and tech workers are STUCK here because the companies don't want to abandon SV even though folks like mvresident2003 make it clear that it is loooong past time to PULL these jobs OUT.

If 15,000 Google employees lived in housing built by Google I suspect teachers would be ok, but mvresident couldn't make $1M+/yr collecting rent and fixing a sink once every 3 years.

As it stands today you CAN'T PAY teachers enough. Even the supposed "rich tech workers" can't afford it much longer on an average of double what teachers are making.

The companies, of course, are banking ten figure net profits offshore to feed investment bankers, mutual funds and founders/VCs


6 people like this
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 26, 2016 at 7:15 am

The school district owns land at Sylvan park? I thought Sylvan was a City Park Web Link
Can someone clarify?

If the school district can afford to build housing for teachers then they can afford to pay them more money. I doubt that teachers want to live in the equivalent of 'housing projects', maybe when they are starting out but not for the long term. The overhead expense of maintaining and managing this housing would be enormous. Give them a housing subsidy and require developers to set aside a percentage of each new apartment complex for teachers at 60% of the market rent.

On a side note...why do the cops in Mountain View make so much more than teachers? A MV Police officer's base salary starts at 96K, many make 111K (plus overtime which can be significant, as high as 88K)
Web Link
Web Link

Interesting data point....The New York Police Department is the largest municipal police force in the United States. Rookie cops in the NYPD receive a base salary of $41,975 per year (less than half the starting base salary at MVPD).















17 people like this
Posted by Choices
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm


@Janon:

"Google tried to create housing for its own employees. MV said no. Wonder why?"


>>> When asked point blank by city council if Google would be willing to undertake the DEVELOPMENT of housing for it's employees, Google's representative hemmed & hawed and finally said "No, but...."

Simply put, Google wanted nothing to do with the being contractually involved in the development and ownership of ANY housing in North Bayshore.

__________


@Janon:

"Tech companies are starting to have trouble attracting talent. Salaries here are only around 15% higher than average for a given role.
...

"What keeps it going is that the whole lousy area is the same and tech workers are STUCK here because the companies don't want to abandon SV even though folks like mvresident2003 make it clear that it is loooong past time to PULL these jobs OUT."


>>> Interestingly, I was just perusing zillow and found numerous single family homes listed in Redwood City, East Palo Alto, Fremont, Santa Clara & San Jose. I selected single family homes between $500K - $800K and then randomly clicked on a couple in each city and looked a photos of them to see what kind of shape they were in, and with the exception of ONE in EPA...they all looked "move in ready". I then plugged in their addresses to google maps and (for simplicity sake) mapped them with and w/o traffic to Google's headquarters on Amphitheatre Pkwy, each of those homes mapped out between 13 and 27 minutes travel time to/from without traffic. Clearly times would fluctuate depending on traffic, but the point is obvious...there is less costly housing available just a short distance away.

I also looked at rental availability in each of those cities, and the costs were proportionally lower as well. There were nice homes, condos and apartments available for rent...*for under $2K per month. (*There are some very expensive apartments available too, but there are also less expensive, but perfectly nice apartments available in each of these cities.)

It's a matter of choice. You choose to continue to work here, in Mountain View, knowing full well what the situation is here. Evidently you would like to continue to live in Mountain View but find the cost of housing prohibitive, so you would like the city to change that for you and others in similar situations as you. Imho, Google should have been expanding to other - less costly - cities/regions, long ago...but evidently that's not going to happen any time soon, if at all. The fallout that we're seeing now - in Mountain View - is in no small part on Google, not the city. That said, I DO fault the city for green lighting massive amounts of commercial development before increasing housing stock and prior to doing anything to REMOTELY improve infrastructure. The result we are living with today is an insane cost of living and a pretty unacceptable quality of life. Thanks Mountain View city councils!


It would appear as if you still have a choice and the power to make your situation better for yourself -- right now -- you can either relocate to a less expensive city just a short drive from where you are employed in Mountain View, or you might consider taking your considerable talents and finding employment with another company where the cost of living isn't upside down...like it is here presently, and it doesn't look like things are going to get better anytime soon.

There is not one thing wrong with choosing to relocate to somewhere where you can have a work life balance, live in a home, apartment, whatever, and begin to save some money for your future...that's what you should be able to do. Truly. That is NORMAL. This reality that we are living in right here and now is NOT normal, nor is it healthy, imho.

I lived out of state for several years before moving back here, and in a few years I will be moving back out of state...and I will have few regrets about leaving. (I grew up here, so of course I will miss some things, but on balance, I will be happy to leave it all behind and get out of dodge.)

There is more to life than this place. I hope people realize this before waking up one day only realize that they may have spent the best years of their life as corporate chattel so they can afford order to sleep in a particular city or stay employed with a particular employer. I say this sincerely. I honestly love the bay area...I just don't love what it's becoming.

Life is too short. Take a risk. The world is big and AMAZING --- and doesn't end outside Mountain View, or the bay area or California!


23 people like this
Posted by @ Choices
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2016 at 10:44 am

As a MVWSD teacher, living outside of Mountain View, due to the extortionate rents and housing prices in Mountain View, I am highly amused at your little research project. You looked at houses for sale in EPA and Redwood City for $500k to $800k. Do you really think that a teacher can afford a mortgage on a half a million dollar property on our salary? I laughed out loud at your detachment from reality. We have 30 year old teachers still living with room mates, due to the high cost of rent even in more "affordable" areas.

First of all, EPA still has a bad reputation for a reason. It is up and coming, yes, but it hasn't yet turned around completely. There is a reason that house prices are considerably lower. People working in Palo Alto would balk at living in East Palo Alto, despite it being just a stone's throw away. Its not just about convenience and distance.

Second, yes commuting is a way of life for many. Working from home occasionally is often an option for those who commute to work. Being a few minutes late to work is often no big deal. Teaching is not one of the professions where that's possible. We have to be on time to work every single day, which means leaving with plenty of time to spare. In good traffic, my 13 mile commute takes 15-20 minutes. Totally manageable. In bad traffic, I have spent over an hour on the road. How do you know when traffic is good or bad? You don't. So teachers have to leave the house with over an hour to spare on the off chance that some whacko decides to text and drive and turns himself into road jello. I leave home at 6:30 to ensure that I am at school by 7:30. Most days I make it with time to spare. Those living further away, may have multiple highways to deal with. I've had a colleague who was over an hour late to work due to a particularly bad accidents on both freeways that she takes. What happens when a teacher is late to work? Ideally a sub is called last minute and can cover, more likely, the principal has to drop everything and cover, or the class gets split up amongst the other classes, putting stress on the classroom teachers who don't have the necessary materials for a surprise addition of 7 extra students. Multiply this by many teachers living far away, and you have a daily possibility of utter chaos.

Finally, the amount I can earn by walking 1/2 a mile to my neighborhood school is MORE than I earn at MVWSD. So I, like many others, am leaving. You're right. People have choices to make, and teachers are making the right choices for their families when they make the choice of leaving the district for a better deal all around, elsewhere. Are people clamoring to work at MVWSD? No. They are clamoring to work at Palo Alto, and Cupertino, because the pay is worth the hassle of commuting. There is no USP to MVWSD. The pay and benefits are comparable to more affordable locations around the Bay Area.

This whole conversation comes back full circle to, how can we attain and retain better teachers? Answer: Give them an offer that is better than what they have in their own neighborhood.


12 people like this
Posted by @mvresident2003
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Sorry bud, but you don't get it, do you? MVWSD has a high turn over rate of teachers due to teachers doing the 1 hour commute for a year or two and then leaving. Who fills the gap? Brand new, inexperienced teachers. You don't say what your job is, but I can only assume that there aren't multiple offices for you to choose from in every neighborhood in the country. If the pay for the same job is comparable or better less than a mile from your home, why would you choose to commute for an hour in each direction?


12 people like this
Posted by MV Teacher
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm

One of many reasons that it would benefit the community to have their teachers near is all of the extracurricular stuff that teachers do for free. Teachers are expected to be on committees, attend school functions, work with kids after school etc ...When you have an hour commute it is really difficult to help your community (that really isn't your community) and then drive in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour. When I lived closer I most definitely helped out more.


5 people like this
Posted by Choices
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2016 at 9:28 am

Whomever replied to me:



If you had read my comment carefully, you should have found that I was replying to Janon's comments in reference to tech workers in the area, and his/her apparent (and not unjustified) frustration with the cost of housing in the area.

"Tech companies are starting to have trouble attracting talent. Salaries here are only around 15% higher than average for a given role.

Typical tech worker is only doing about $150k and pays a TON in tax because they're not rich and so have no shelters. You need to marry ANOTHER tech worker to stay afloat."

~~~~~~~~


There was no need to selectively choose portions of my reply to become indignant over, as I was really pointing out there there were more affordable living options available for JANON in other nearby cities - rental or possibly for purchase that could be a workable option for him/her. However, you chose to focus on one portion of my reply, picking only two cities and excluding ALL others as well as excluding the fact the I included rental options in "my little research project" and then go on a rant.

Whatever.

Good luck to you. Truly. Whether you believe this or not...I'm on your side in this thing.









"I not only did a cursory look a properties for sale in Redwood City, East Palo Alto, Fremont, Santa Clara & San Jose...I also looked at rental availability in each of those cities, and the costs were proportionally lower as well. There were nice homes, condos and apartments available for rent...*for under $2K per month."



11 people like this
Posted by Choices
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2016 at 9:38 am

(Edited from above post for clarity. Sorry)


Whomever replied to me:



If you had read my comment carefully, you should have found that I was replying to Janon's comments in reference to tech workers in the area, and his/her apparent (and not unjustified) frustration with the cost of housing in the area.

"Tech companies are starting to have trouble attracting talent. Salaries here are only around 15% higher than average for a given role.

Typical tech worker is only doing about $150k and pays a TON in tax because they're not rich and so have no shelters. You need to marry ANOTHER tech worker to stay afloat."

~~~~~~~~


Your opening salvo:

> "As a MVWSD teacher, living outside of Mountain View, due to the extortionate rents and housing prices in Mountain View, I am highly amused at your little research project. You looked at houses for sale in EPA and Redwood City for $500k to $800k. Do you really think that a teacher can afford a mortgage on a half a million dollar property on our salary? I laughed out loud at your detachment from reality. ..."


Relevant portion of previous post made by me up thread:

>>> "I not only did a cursory look a properties for sale in Redwood City, East Palo Alto, Fremont, Santa Clara & San Jose...I also looked at rental availability in each of those cities, and the costs were proportionally lower as well. There were nice homes, condos and apartments available for rent...*for under $2K per month."


There was no need to selectively choose portions of my reply to become indignant over, as I was really pointing out there there were more affordable living options available for JANON in other nearby cities - rental or possibly for purchase that could be a workable option for him/her. However, you chose to focus on one portion of my reply, picking only two cities and excluding ALL others as well as excluding the fact the I included rental options in "my little research project" and then go on a rant.



Whatever.

Good luck to you. Truly. Whether you believe this or not...I'm on your side in this thing.



21 people like this
Posted by Another Teacher's View
a resident of Slater
on Mar 29, 2016 at 11:54 am

As a veteran teacher (over 15 years experience), some of the posts by teaching professionals on this thread make me sad. Would we appreciate a pay raise- absolutely. However, to say that we work for free (MV Teacher) makes us collectively sound like whiners with an entitlement problem. We are salaried employees with a job description that includes all those things described... every teacher knows what they are getting into before graduating from college. To complain about it after the fact is pointless and does no good. We do not get into this position for money, fame, or power... the best teachers are called to serve. I'm proud to work on committees, attend community events, and work with kids after school (which BTW is still contracted time since school gets out earlier than when our day is 'done'). I also am proud to be able to attend my kids' sporting events and playdates. Maybe if some teachers stopped spending so much time complaining about their work and personal lives, they could use that time to be more effective in several aspects of their life (work, personal, social).

P.S. I know several tech workers who commute more than an hour each way who have chosen to live in the East Bay, Gilroy, and Morgan Hill and commute to MV each day because housing is cheaper the farther you go out. This is not an issue isolated to teachers.


3 people like this
Posted by reader
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm

@Another Teacher's View

Yes, I agree, thank you for pointing out that it is unbecoming for teachers to complain (okay, speak negatively) about teaching-related duties that take place before or after school or on weekends. It makes teachers look like whining children. There are lots of people who leave for work at or before 7am, get home at or after 6pm, and feel lucky to have 2 weeks vacation. Their perception, accurate or not, is that that teachers work from about 7:30-3:30pm, have 3 months off, and what are they complaining about?! Especially in this area, teachers have no business complaining about how many hours they spend at work.

One answer is to pay teachers wages that reflect their training, skill, and experience, but that's a different subject.

The question here is what does the community and what do teachers think about providing or subsidizing housing for teachers?


8 people like this
Posted by Mt. View neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 29, 2016 at 5:04 pm

The school district paying for housing sounds like a scam to pocket money via contractors. Pay the teachers higher wages if you want to attract them. That's what other districts do.


11 people like this
Posted by My. View neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm

I noticed a lot of comments about teacher commutes. Having grown up here, many if my teachers had long commutes, and in fact preferred to live in an area outside their school district. They often prefer the less urban areas and enjoy being able to shop for groceries anonymously. So a commute isn't the biggest deterrent for teachers.

In fact, having researched schools, I would be extremely hesitant to work in this district simply because they have a horrible reputation. Improving conditions for teachers and increasing their pay is a lot more helpful than making them captive to temporary housing.

This district has major problems in virtually every aspect, and if you watch the progression, you see that something is very wrong. The district wanting to spend money building apartments seems just another messed up thing in this district, a way to divert money, instead of dealing with the issues they should be addressing!


9 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm

Santa Clara Unified has already piloted new teacher housing. MVWSD has land. Construction can be financed by rental income. How does any of that generate additional revenue to increase teacher compensation. Compensation is already more than 80% of every school district’s annual expenses. Housing would be for new teachers. Many teachers change jobs in the first five years, creating vacancies for other new teachers. Some teachers do prefer to live in other communities, but those who are most involved with their students would prefer to stay close. In earlier generations an hour’s drive in from somewhere more rural might have been pleasant transition time. Stuck in traffic from one suburb to another would hardly count as pleasant today.


7 people like this
Posted by Land
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2016 at 8:02 pm

The school district owns this land at two city parks. Each park is already a decent size.

But with the extra school-district owned land, there is no educational use, little income, and an expansion of parks in two areas which already have large parks right next to the school land.

So the district has an actual obligation to use its assets effectively. 10 acres of land next to 5 acre Cooper park is a LOT of land. I'm not sure how much is at Sylvan Park, but that park is quite large. I think the optics to the neighbors might be better at Sylvan. Not too much land is needed to build some nice apartment townhouse homes that would be good for teachers even with families, and fit into their area. 1000 or 1200 square foot townhomes can be built at 15 to 20 units per acre. 2 acres at each location would be up to 80 units. It's an obvious investment for the district.

Saying that the district can't use the funds as a "profit' is not strictly true. I can use excess income over expenses to fund maintenance on all of its buildings, freeing operating budget money for education, including teacher salaries.


6 people like this
Posted by @Mt. View Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2016 at 11:21 pm

The fact that some teachers in your past lived far away is irrelevant to those of us that wish we could live closer. I too had many teachers that commuted long distances. It is entirely possible that they enjoyed the long commute and rural feel of living in Santa Cruz. It is also possible that they just SAID they enjoy it, so that they were not embarrassed to admit to their bright eyed students that they have no other options, but to live in the Boonies or in 'da Hood.


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 31, 2016 at 1:20 pm

@Kathi Sylvan Park and @Land. The land sale contract for Sylvan Park has a provision in it that the MVWSD now has a vested (though unused) right to develop a public school on ten acres. ONLY a public school. Not a district office or teacher housing. Furthermore, only 3 AC can be used for buildings (a lot of classrooms etc. if two story). I believe Cooper Park is 10 AC.

In the 2008 City Recreation Plan the "need score" for Sylvan-Dale was 2nd highest (at 37) after San Antonio's 47.
The Grant and Miramonte planning areas have, by far (2X), the most "Acres per 1,000" of parkland. [Appendix 7 pg. 71]

SN is a MVWSD Trustee, but these are not official MVWSD Board opinions


10 people like this
Posted by Monta Loma
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 31, 2016 at 3:00 pm

How about reserving for teachers 100 of those TEN THOUSAND PLUS units that the council has approved for Sobrato and Google to develop in North Bayshore? The developers can present it as a "public benefit" to justify the ridiculous density that the council is so determined to grant them.


6 people like this
Posted by From Santa Clara
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2016 at 11:12 pm

Regarding Santa Clara's Casa Del Maestro "Teacher Housing" project that this article and others have pointed to - the article has some inaccuracies that are worth noting.

"the Santa Clara Unified School District built 40 apartments solely for teachers, for the relatively low cost of $6 million. The district teamed up with ... a residential development firm ... works with school districts at a lower cost."

Note that SCUSD took out a big loan to build those apartments, utilized redevelopment agency money, and found a developer willing to take lower profit when the tech bubble burst in 2002. In fact, as of last year (2015) the loan was actually BIGGER - they did not reduce the debt by 1 penny - because they were not generating enough revenue to cover expenses like maintenance (which increases), vacancies (yes, there are are vacancies there during the summer), and the interest payments to investors. So beware when promoters cite this project as a fiscally sound example - money doesn't grow on trees, and developers in today's hot economy will not do things for free.

"The average rent for the units in Santa Clara's development is between $800 and $1,400 a month."

This is inaccurate. The rent was that low back in 2002. But now it is 80% of "market" - because SCUSD hired a consultant that told them they had to raise rents to cover costs. What is "market" for Santa Clara? In 2015 it was $2700, so they were targeting $2200. Better than $2700, but much higher than the $1400 cited in the article, and no doubt higher in 2016.

"The expectation is that teachers are saving up while they live there, and may be able to afford a down payment and mortgage to buy a home."

Google Casa Del Maestro, and you will find several stories about teachers moving out of CDM when their time is up and cannot afford to stay in the area. At best it is a band-aid solution; at worst your district will become a teacher-training academy and experienced teachers will leave for other districts after the subsidized housing is no longer available.

(All of this is available if you Google "casa del maestro debt refinancing and restructuring results", there is a PDF presentation given by Lori Raineri, a government bond consultant brought in to help the district)

Send an email and ask SCUSD for any DATA that shows teacher retention is actually better a few years after a former CDM resident has moved out. They won't tell you, because they don't have the data and have never tracked it. How can it be considered a "success"?

Cupertino Union's Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz and Board President Jo Lucey made a big splash in December 2015 announcing their plans to build staff housing, hiring a PR firm associated with ethics-challenged ex-SJ councilman Xavier Campos to promote it. The plan was discontinued in May after the community raised concerns about permanent loss of a school site, overcrowding, closed door sessions, and developer involvement. The teachers got a raise and bonus this year instead. More details at www.saveluther.com

Yes, teacher housing is currently a politically "popular" stance. Look up SB 1413 (Leno) Teacher Housing Act of 2016. If passed, it is going to promote converting school district lands from public use to BMR housing.


5 people like this
Posted by On the other hand
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2016 at 12:16 am

In MV, there is elementary school land that is 10 acres out of a 15 acre
park for an underpopulated neighborhood that will never need another
school. That's more park than any other neighborhood has. The market rate
for apartments is a LOT MORE in MV than in Santa Clara and the land cost is
much higher. So, it sounds like the economics would work out better in MV
than in Santa Clara. The only question is how much land to devote to teacher
housing, and if the neighborhood would put up with Townhouses in a single family
area with mostly 8000+ ft lots. Certainly it has a better shot than most any other
increased use of the wasted land. Right now it's got 4-5 acres tied up for
a preschool with 60 kids. What a waste.


3 people like this
Posted by From Santa Clara
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2016 at 4:58 pm

@On the other hand - if the economics work out to put in low density townhouses, on only a portion of the open space, it may have a shot at community support. You bring up a good point about the project fitting in to the neighborhood.

Casa Del Maestro was similar in density to the surrounding neighborhood (medium density rental apartments) and only took up 3 acres of a 27 acre school site. A portion of it, "Phase II", is called "dormitory style". I suspect that the fact that it was surrounded by renters instead of homeowners also helped subdue any questions and concerns.

Cupertino's proposal was quite different - a ~250 unit apartment on a 10 acre school site currently leased to 5 preschools/schools, surrounded by SFH on 6K-10K lots, in an area that has projected development (Stevens Creek Blvd) with no other available school sites left, that involves three cities (Santa Clara, Cupertino, San Jose). It's reality that the project needs to fit the neighborhood, and one of the reasons why SCUSD picked that neighborhood for their project.

Just realize that once a school site is lost, it is gone forever. CUSD had many school sites that were developed into housing in the 80's, and now they have schools like Stocklmeir Elementary in Sunnyvale with 1200+ students (Inverness was the school site that was sold nearby, because there was no projected enrollment growth at the time). CUSD has also reopened several schools over the years.

I would agree that the 60 students at the site you mention doesn't seem to be an optimal use, but perhaps that is the district's decision to not promote it or make it usable for more; the site being considered for CUSD's proposal has 500+ kids being served, and generates $700K revenue per year.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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