Bay Area School District Asks Parents To Rent Out Rooms To Teachers

A California school district is asking locals to rent extra rooms out to teachers unable to find affordable housing.

By Kari Apted | Published

National Teacher Unions Have Lost 200,000 Members

In a move that hearkens back to the 1800s, when communities would house teachers in their own homes, a Bay Area California school district is asking parents to rent a room to teachers. The Milpitas Unified School District notified parents of their plan with an explanation that escalating rent costs were to blame. The request was sent to district families only weeks before the 2022/2023 school year began.

In the past year, the Milpitas Unified School District lost seven teachers who moved to areas where the cost of living was more affordable. As the California school district superintendent Cheryl Jordan told a local NBC news affiliate in August, the housing crisis makes it harder to attract their replacements. “We’ve lost out on some employees that we tried to recruit because once they see how much it costs to live here, they determine that it’s just not possible,” she said.

The Northern California school district posted a form on its website where parents can provide information about available rooms for educators to rent. Potential teacher landlords provide basic information including how many rooms are available and the monthly rental fee. They can also specify any preferences such as gender, smoking status, and whether children and pets are allowed.

Milpitas is located in Santa Clara County, just north of the major city of San Jose. As of the 2020 census, the suburb’s population was just over 80,000. The California school district serves around 10,500 K-12 students and needs at least 440 teachers to staff its 18 schools. Their current job postings include dozens of open teaching positions that advertise a salary range of $67,163 – $111,410 plus a $3,194 Master’s degree stipend. Some special education positions tack on an additional $10,000 signing bonus.

This salary range may sound sufficient to some, but it doesn’t stretch far in this expensive area of the country. Property owners typically require a tenant to earn 40 times the monthly rent per year. On a starting salary of $67,163, a renter could spend up to $1,679 per month. A one-bedroom apartment in Milpitas rents for an average of $3,000 per month, making it easy to see how high housing costs have priced many teachers out of the Bay Area California school district.

For teachers with families, the impact is even greater. Educators needing to rent an apartment with two or more bedrooms or a small, single-family home can expect to pay anywhere from $3,100-$6,000 or more per month. Because the entire region has a high cost of living, commuting from outside the Milpitas, California school district offers little benefit. Buying a home in the area is also difficult. In July, the average home sold in about six days—at a median price of $1.3 million.

According to NPR, the California school district has already received 55 responses from families offering rooms or spaces to teacher tenants. School district spokesperson Scott Forstner said they had not yet heard from any teachers who had chosen one of the offerings for rent. But superintendent Jordan said that the program proved that educators were, “valued by our Milpitas community members, parents, and caregivers.”

California school district

While the California school district is exploring all options to fill vacant teaching positions, most Americans simply wish teachers received higher pay. Teacher shortages are rampant across the country regardless of an area’s cost of living. Many educators are deciding to leave the profession entirely for more lucrative positions.