California Educator

November 2015

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Teacher turnover, student loss Allison Leshefsky loves teaching and living in San Fran- cisco. But after being evicted from her rent-controlled apartment, she is afraid she will have to leave both her job and the city. e PE teacher at Paul Revere K-8 School must vacate her apartment by Dec. 1. In a city where the median rent of a one-bedroom is $3,620 a month — the highest in the country — she worries she won't be able to afford anything else. She barely survives now after paying for student loans, car payments, cellphone bill and groceries. "I'm very scared," says Leshefsky, who has lived in her apartment for 10 years. "It's not only my home, but it's my community and the school I love." She's not the only educator unable to afford a high- priced area . CBS News recently listed the 10 most expensive places to live in the United States. San Fran- cisco was fourth; San Jose, sixth; and Orange County, ninth. Teachers, with their middle-income but relatively low salaries, must often choose less costly places in which to live and work. College professors and lecturers are also feeling the heat: A recent poll by the California Faculty Association shows 60 percent of faculty can't afford to live in their own campus community. e fallout includes students and school districts, too. e housing crisis has caused a teaching shortage in San Francisco Unified School District, which scrambled to fill 400 positions last year and 465 this year, says United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) President Lita Blanc. Leshefsky's school had a nearly 25 percent turnover last year because many educators were driven out by high prices. Several other SFUSD schools have high turnover rates for similar reasons. Patchwork solutions are at hand in San Francisco and other cities, includ- ing housing complexes and home loan programs reserved for educators. But the larger issue that often remains unaddressed is this: Teachers are highly skilled workers integral to their communities and their children's educa- tion and future, and they should be able to live where they work. Educators' salaries should be high enough so they do not have to live in dorm-style com- plexes or require special loans. "e bottom line is that educators should be paid a living wage," says CTA President Eric Heins. "ey should be paid a salary that reflects their value as teachers to our students and leaders in our schools and communities." Leshefsky turned to UESF for help when she was first threatened with evic- tion. In addition to providing referral services, UESF members rallied outside the home of her landlord, who has been accused of unlawful intimidation of tenants and wrongful evictions to raise rents, and UESF leadership is lobby- ing for systemic changes that will provide teachers with affordable housing. She is paying an attorney out of pocket to see if she has recourse to fight the eviction, which her landlord says is due to needed capital improvements. "It's sad when teachers can't afford to live in communities they serve," Leshefsky says. THE PROBLEMS: Housing Confidence A new study finds only 40 percent of Greater Bay Area residents are "very confident" that they will be able to afford the type of home they want in the next five years, compared with 56 percent of people in similar metro areas nationally. The study found the least con- fidence among millennials (ages 18-36) at 24 percent, compared with 49 percent of baby boomers. In fact, 74 percent of millennials surveyed say that they plan to move in the next five years. The implication: Younger educators, wary of the Bay Area's pricey housing market, may leave. Source: Urban Land Institute, "Bay Area in 2015" Percentage of adults who are "very confident" in their ability to afford desired home in next five years Think you'll be able to buy? Greater Bay Area 40% National 54% Similarly sized 56% metro areas Greater Bay Area generation Millennials 24% Gen Xers 38% Baby boomers 49% War/silent 65% 23 November 2015

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