teacher housing project

The building on county-owned land at 231 Grant Ave. in Palo Alto is set to be demolished in fall 2022 to make way for a new apartment complex offering affordable housing for teachers.

A proposed affordable housing project will offer 12 units for Mountain View Los Altos High School District teachers and staff.

The Mountain View Los Altos High School District Board of Trustees received an update at their Dec. 13 meeting from Kelly Hollywood of the nonprofit Mercy Housing – one of the co-developers of the project, which aims to help school employees afford to live in the area.

In 2018, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian proposed that county property at 231 Grant Ave. in Palo Alto be used to create affordable housing for teachers and city employees who work in the general vicinity. The Board of Supervisors agreed to repurpose the land and contribute financially to construction of housing. Simitian also secured the commitment of local cities and school districts – including the Los Altos School District, which received a similar update on the project last month – to find additional funding for the project.

According to Hollywood, the complex will have 110 units, which include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. The units are divided among five school districts, with each district receiving 12 units. The units will be offered to eligible participants via lottery.

Hollywood said the current distribution of MVLA’s 12 units will be three studios, seven one-bedrooms and two two-bedrooms.

“About a year ago, we reached out to (MVLA) and surveyed teachers and staff within the district about their household size, their income, their salary ranges, and we tried to place that accordingly,” she said. “We did that to each of the participating districts.”

Hollywood said the county is asking for a contribution of $600,000 from MVLA by April, equating to $50,000 per unit. Participating school districts and the county will forge an agreement for administering the funds.

Demolition on the current site is set for the fall, with the project breaking ground next winter. Construction is slated for completion in early 2024. Mercy Housing Management Group will manage the units.

Other agenda items

• MVLA Superintendent Nellie Meyer reported that 617 students and staff members were tested for COVID between Dec. 1 and Dec. 12. One person from the MVLA District Office and three people from Mountain View High tested positive. Meyer said the positives appear to represent a slight uptick, and suspected the number could be slightly higher in coming days.

“We are continuing to test, and we’re seeing a lot of people who are coming back from Thanksgiving or who are getting ready to go on trips using our testing locations,” she said, which include sites at Los Altos High, the District Office and MVLA’s Adult School.

• The first meeting of MVLA’s newly formed Family Partnership Council.is scheduled 5 p.m. Jan. 31 in the Alta Vista High School multipurpose room, 1325 Bryant Ave., Mountain View. The meeting will include representatives from elected bodies across the district; district administration, site administration and the MVLA Board of Trustees; teachers and staff members; and members at large from the community appointed by the superintendent. Parents will represent underrepresented populations at Mountain View and Los Altos high schools; the Parent Teacher Associations; the MVLA Special Education Advisory; and the Alta Vista High parent group.

“This is an effort led to gather representative information from our community,” Meyer said. “This will be a forum to discuss initiatives that we are looking at as a district, and to explain more thoroughly different endeavors that we are taking.”

• According to Mike Mathiesen, MVLA associate superintendent of business services, the district remains in good financial health and is projected to remain so for the next few years.

However, Mathiesen said, revenues are smaller than initially anticipated, due to a shortfall in property taxes collected. MVLA budgeted for a 6% growth in property taxes, while the actual growth rate this year totaled 4.85%. Mathiesen noted it’s the first time in eight years that actual growth was lower than budgeted growth.

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Staff Writer

Angela Tam covers local schools as the Town Crier's education reporter.