Lack of Affordable Housing Fueling California School District Teacher Shortage

According to Zillow, the average home price in Santa Clara County has increased from $1.14 million in 2017 to $1.55 million in 2022.
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(The Center Square) – In August, the Milpitas School District in Santa Clara County, California, made national news when it asked homeowners in its community to rent out space to its teachers who could not afford housing.

The district advertises on its website, “Rooms For Rent For MUSD Educators” and asks, “Do you have a room for rent? Please fill out this form and our MUSD educators who are seeking a room to rent will be notified. The rest is up to you.”

Zillow listed a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo for sale in Milpitas, California in early December for $875,000 with an estimated monthly payment of $5,036.

That’s far below the average home price of $1.55 million in Santa Clara County.

Teachers in Milpitas school district have salaries ranging from $73,208 for a first-year teacher to the highest paid teacher in that district who had gross pay of $180,323 in 2022.

Santa Clara county’s rising home prices present a problem for the school district. The district did not respond to questions about if any one took the district up on its request.

According to Zillow, the average home price in Santa Clara County has increased from $1.14 million in 2017 to $1.55 million in 2022. The city of Gilroy had some of the lower home prices in the county, at $1.06 million as of October 2022. That’s about a 40-mile trip to Milpitas.

The Pacific Research Institute published a report in February that blamed the California Environmental Quality Act for creating “California’s housing nightmare.”

The law was signed by Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1970 and the institute’s report states that “the scope of CEQA is so broad that project opponents can almost always find some basis for arguing that further analysis of the project’s ‘environmental’ impacts is required.”

Lawsuits challenging proposed housing developments creates delays and increases the costs.

“CEQA has been a principal cause of and continues to exacerbate the State’s longstanding inability to build enough housing for people of all income levels, resulting in the skyhigh costs of market-rate housing and insufficient affordable housing,” the report stated.

And Santa Clara County is not an exception, the institute said.

“The housing market in California is really no market at all but instead an overly manipulated and controlled domain of policymakers,” said Kerry Jackson, a fellow. “As long as that’s the case, the housing shortage will continue and homes will remain unaffordable to many. Nowhere is this more painfully obvious than across Santa Clara County, where housing policy reform is desperately needed. Until market mechanisms are restored, there will never be enough homes built to bring down prices.”

The Milpitas School District and Santa Clara County did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Tom Gantert
Tom Gantert worked at many daily newspapers including the Ann Arbor News, Lansing State Journal and USA Today. Gantert was the managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential for five years before joining The Center Square.

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