Teachers’ salaries in a number of Bay Area school districts are among the highest statewide; however, attracting and retaining teachers in the Bay remains a challenge primarily because of housing costs.

In eight Bay Area school districts teachers make on average at least $94,000 a year, according to CALmatters. But in only one Bay Area county, Solano, can someone make an annual income of less than $100,000 and afford that county’s median priced home.

  • Two school districts are planning to build 100-unit-plus projects specifically for teachers.
  • In only one Bay Area county can someone earn an annual income of less than $100,000 and afford that county's median priced home.
  • The top paying school district in the Bay Area and California is the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, with an average salary of $134,000.

Teachers’ salaries in a number of Bay Area school districts are among the highest statewide; however, attracting and retaining teachers in the Bay remains a challenge primarily because of housing costs.

In eight Bay Area school districts, teachers make on average $94,000 a year, according to CALmatters. But in only one Bay Area county, Solano, can someone make an annual income of less than $100,000 and afford that county’s median priced home.

For perspective, in San Francisco and San Mateo counties incomes of $254,110 and $239,080, respectively, are required to purchase a median price home.

These income requirements coupled with rising rents in the Bay Area are influencing some school districts to consider constructing homes for their teachers.

Bay Area school districts try to solve housing issue

The Cupertino Union School District has proposed building more than 200 affordable housing units at a Santa Clara school site that has been closed for more than 30 years. The units would be offered to teachers at below market rate. According to CALmatters, the average salary of a Cupertino district teacher spanning 2014 to 2015 was $78,280.

This spring, the city of San Francisco will restart its Teacher Next Door program, which assists teachers employed with the San Francisco Unified School District with the purchase of their first home. Applicants must be purchasing their home within the city or county of San Francisco, be currently employed by the district and meet combined household income requirements.

Late last year the city, along with its school district, proposed building a 100-unit development solely for public school teachers and paraprofessionals. The project would likely be constructed on land already owned by the district.

The average salary of a San Francisco Unified teacher is $65,238.

Problems in top-paying district

With an average teacher salary of $95,811, the Palo Alto Unified School District is considered one of the top paying districts in the state and among the top nationally when it comes to pay for first-year teachers, which is $55,084 according to Top Masters in Education.

However Palo Alto teachers recently complained that the district’s salaries are not competitive in relation to other neighboring districts. In response the community’s city council has begun exploring the option of subsidized housing for teachers that can’t afford local rents, yet make too much to qualify for low-income housing.

Of note, the top paying school district in the Bay Area and state is the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, with an average salary of $134,000.

Email Erik Pisor

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