Town hall on teacher housing set for Feb. 13


As local school districts grapple with how to help teachers struggling to afford to live in the communities in which they teach, housing advocates, educators and others will sit down for a discussion on solving the issue.

Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian will moderate the panel "Mid-Peninsula Teacher Town Hall: Can We Solve the Teacher Housing Crisis?" on Feb. 13 at Sequoia High School in Redwood City.

Sarah Chaffin, a parent and founder of, a group working to encourage local school districts to build teacher housing, organized the event. This will be the fifth town hall meeting Chaffin has hosted.

"It's really important (to have these town halls) because we've got to have the teachers share their personal stories about how difficult it is to find housing in the Bay Area," Chaffin said.

Local government agencies are considering measures to help teachers secure affordable housing. Simitian is spearheading a partnership with local school districts and cities to build a 60- to 120-unit affordable housing complex for local teachers and staff. The teacher housing would be built on a county-owned, 1.5-acre site at 231 Grant Ave. in Palo Alto. The Sequoia Union High School District has not ruled out the possibility of building teacher housing.

Chaffin first became involved in the issue when she heard her daughter's preschool teacher was commuting from Hollister to Los Gatos, a 50-mile trek. The school's principal told Chaffin it is difficult to recruit staff because it's so expensive to live in the Bay Area. The conversation with the principal brought the issue to the forefront of her mind, Chaffin said.

Panelists at the Feb. 13 town hall include Chaffin; Edith Salvatore, president of the Sequoia District Teachers Association; Armando Sanchez, executive director of HEART (Housing Endowment and Regional Trust of San Mateo County), a local housing assistance program; and Maya Perkins, a regional housing and transportation expert.

Speakers will explore the following topics:

• What does teaching with limited housing options look like?

• How do limited housing options impact our districts, teaching staff and community?

• What, if anything, can we do to improve the situation?

Event organizers encourage teachers, administrators, parents, students and concerned community members to attend and share their stories of how the housing crisis has impacted them.

The event is from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Sequoia High School,

1201 Brewster Ave. in Redwood City. It is free, but RSVP is required here.


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2 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 12, 2019 at 11:26 am

Brian is a registered user.

On a different topic someone posted the idea of taking a piece of land, the Flood Campus by Flood Park, and making it ready to support Tiny Homes (providing sewage connections, electrical connections, water, etc. Then allowing teachers to use those spaces either free or at a very low cost (enough to cover maintenance, landscaping, etc.). This would let teachers buy tiny homes (maybe offer very low interest loans for their purchase) and own the place they were living. It is not the answer for everyone, these are pretty small spaces after all, but since the Ravenswood School District, who own the Flood School, is not managed well and always seems to be out of money, this might be a cheap solution that could help with the problem, especially if they include the Menlo Park School District and their teachers.

3 people like this
Posted by Teachers Pet
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Feb 12, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Sorry to ask an obvious question, but instead of using millions to build and maintain housing, why don't we PAY THE TEACHERS A LIVING WAGE??? Between the taxes we all pay and the bands wi pay for campus improvements and the INCOME FROM THE STATE LOTTERY there should be money to pay loving wages to the wonderful, qualified teachers.
LEt's cut back on some extra programs and PAY THE TEACHERS A LIVING WAGE so they can actually live where they'd like to live - not in some tiny home ghetto? I truly think the way we treat teachers and emergency personnel is disgraceful. They should not have to beg for housing - they should be paid what they're worth.
Perhaps tax sports and concert tickets since athletes, musicians and actors get such out of balance salaries - not to mention CEO's who make MILLIONS while paying their employees minimum wage. This si not the America I grew up in - like Henry Ford said, "I want to pay my employees enough so that they can afford our products" There's more than enough to go around - just raise their PAY with the funds set aside for building!

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