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San Jose Proposes Turning Schools into Teacher Housing, Faces Outcry

A San Jose Unified School District plan to relocate several schools and build affordable housing in their place has sparked controversy. The district says teachers increasingly can't afford to live in the area.
October 9, 2018, 12pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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In another episode from the Bay Area's ongoing housing crisis, the San Jose Unified School District has identified nine school sites where it says it wants to build affordable housing for teachers and other staff.

Marisa Kendall writes, "San Jose Unified says it's fighting to find and retain workers as rising housing costs outpace income. Teachers are commuting up to four hours a day to and from the city's schools, potential hires are refusing jobs here and talented staff are quitting in droves, forcing the school district to replace one out of every seven teachers each year."

The plan doesn't call for any schools to close. Rather, they'll be relocated to new premises, and in some cases, aging buildings at current school sites will be bulldozed. While the district has yet to secure funds for the project, housing bonds would likely cover the bill, Kendall says.

Some residents have taken issue with the idea, and "a [...] meeting to discuss the plan, which drew hundreds of residents, devolved into angry shouting." Opponents argue that the schools, as they stand, are vital neighborhood hubs. They worry that building affordable housing in their stead "would depress home values, negatively impact the aesthetics of the area and worsen traffic."

Kendall writes, "some affordable housing advocates say the response mirrors the 'not in my backyard' or NIMBY attitudes that often derail plans to build low-income homes throughout the Bay Area."

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Published on Saturday, October 6, 2018 in The Mercury News
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