“The quality of education suffers when the schools cannot be selective and have to hire from a limited pool.” South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard recently made this point in his State of the State address. The issue he was addressing is a lack of affordable housing, especially in expensive urban areas and rural communities. Educators simply cannot afford to live near many schools in high income areas, which lead to a long commute. Additionally, in rural areas, lack of rental properties means teachers need to have the money for a down payment to purchase a home. These are the two driving forces in keeping prospective educators from moving to or staying in these areas. The educational system suffers when schools cannot recruit or retain teachers.
One example of a community addressing this shortfall is San Francisco, California. The median price for a home there is $1,118,000; well above what a teacher can afford. In November, voters in San Francisco approved a $310 million housing bond, $80 million of which was set aside to build middle income rental housing on property owned by school districts and to provide mortgage subsidies to teachers. The school district then partnered with a local developer to build the properties. This provides much needed relief and allows the school district to recruit from a much larger pool of qualified candidates. Similar plans for developing housing for educators are moving forward in Colorado and North Carolina. These are excellent examples of the positive impact that partnerships between syndicators such as Affordable Equity Partners and local government can make in our local communities.
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