Assemblymember Tony Thurmond Introduces Legislation to Provide District Sponsored Housing for School Employees
AB 45 Is a Tool to Attract and Retain Teachers
Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D- Richmond) introduced legislation which will provide financial assistance to school districts to help fund the predevelopment and development of housing for school employees, including teachers.
“The exorbitant cost of housing in California has made teacher recruitment and retention very difficult,” said Assemblymember Tony Thurmond. “When educators are forced to live outside of the community they serve, they are severely limited in their ability to participate in many after-school programs, establish crucial parent-teacher bonds or respond to localized student needs, all factors in providing an enriched learning environment for students.”
Recruiting and retaining teachers affects the classroom as teacher turnover feeds into the increasing achievement gap. According to the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University, teacher turnover has a significant and negative impact on the achievement of students, especially in schools with large populations of low-performing and minority students. These schools, like most schools in California, have seen a rise in the number of temporary permits, waivers, and intern credentials. This means that more students are being taught by individuals who have not completed, or in some instances have not begun, their teacher credentialing.
In high housing cost areas, the issue of teacher retention rests largely on the insufficiency of salaries’ capacity to cover housing costs. This year alone, the average rental price in Oakland has risen 13.7 percent to $2,806 per month. In the City of Richmond, exit interviews have pointed to housing as the number one reason for teachers leaving the profession.
For small school districts, especially those in rural areas, compensation tends to be low while housing is too expensive and in many instances unavailable. For other hard-to-staff rural school districts, recruiting teachers to live in remote districts has proved difficult. Teacher housing models have been used successfully in such rural school districts throughout the United States in order to recruit and retain new teachers.
“Housing for our school employees has proven to be a solution in various districts both within and outside this state. Providing a mechanism for school districts to provide affordable housing and improve student outcomes is a win for community and for our kids,” said Assemblymember Thurmond.
In California, school districts have already begun to increase teacher retention by providing housing. School districts in Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties have teachers in district-sponsored housing while San Francisco is considering such a plan. For financially-strapped districts who cannot levy a bond to fund this program, it is effectively not an option. This bill will allow all districts to apply for predevelopment and development funds, with priority given to districts struggling to recruit new teachers and with a high-need student population.
AB 45 is sponsored by the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, and the State Building Trades Construction Council. It has also received support from the California School Employees Association and the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California.
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.