SCC teacher housing plan moves forward

The Palo Alto City Council recently voted to allocate $3 million for a subsidized housing project for teachers and administrative staff, but it’s still unclear whether educators serving students from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View will benefit from it.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian has spearheaded the project, which could establish 60-120 below-market-rate housing units for local teachers. The Board of Supervisors agreed to set aside 1.5 acres of county land at 231 Grant Ave. in Palo Alto, along with $6 million from an affordable housing fund for the project. Simitian hopes that the Palo Alto Unified School District, the Mountain View Whisman School District, the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, the Los Altos School District and the Foothill-De Anza Community College District will be involved in the project.

“My hope is that the districts will be partners in the fullest sense of the term, and a financial contribution makes that real,” he said.

In an email to the Town Crier, MVLA Superintendent Jeff Harding wrote that for some of his teachers, the high cost of housing is an obstacle to remaining in the district.

The extent of each district’s involvement is still up in the air. Simitian said he has consulted with the heads of each district and has established that the teacher housing issue is a significant problem in every district and found “folks were enthusiastic about finding some options.”

Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier told the Town Crier in an email that he’s pleased the project is moving forward and anticipates that the conversation about housing teachers will continue in the fall. Foothill-De Anza Chancellor Judy Miner has recommended that the board of trustees direct administration to identify possible sources of funding in the amount of $600,000 to contribute to the project and participate as a partner in it.

Harding said Simitian’s project is one potential strategy that could help MVLA retain talented teachers, and the district is exploring participation in it, but the details have yet to be finalized.

“The ultimate project will reflect the many twists and turns of the process, and the needs that are identified by the partners,” Simitian said.

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