School Districts Invest in Workforce Housing

With teacher salaries failing to keep up with housing costs, some districts are building housing to keep their employees.

1 minute read

January 7, 2024, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

White multistory Austin Independent School District headquearters building in Austin, Texas.

The Austin Indepedent School District is building affordable housing on a parcel of underused district-owned land. | Larry D. Moore, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

In a bid to hire and retain teachers in areas with high housing costs, some school districts are taking it upon themselves to try to make more housing available for teachers and staff in their areas, reports Molly Bolan in Route Fifty.

In Eagle County, Colorado, the local school district “worked with property owners to secure master leases that give employees priority for units and has so far gained 27 units through such agreements, with another 13 expected to be obtained within the next year.” The district has also reached out to local property owners to make vacant rooms and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) available to district employees and began building 37 housing units on district-owned parcels. In Texas, the Austin Independent School District is repurposing underused land for housing that will be available to district staff and other local income-eligible households.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, says much broader efforts are needed at the state and federal level to make housing construction more affordable and address the growing gap between housing costs and teacher incomes. “Because at the end of the day … in order for there to be more housing, there needs to be a way for people to be able to afford the cost of building that housing.”

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