Affordable housing for teachers approved in Mountain View

School board leaders in Mountain View voted unanimously to move forward on a plan to build 144 affordable homes for teachers. The proposed project on Middlefield Road is half a mile away from the school district.

“We’ve looked into living in Mountain View,” said Teacher Sarah Gonzalez. “It’s just not affordable for my family. We have decided we will be moving back to Denver.”

This school year will be Gonzales’s last year after after four years teaching in the South Bay. The first grade teacher calls the move bittersweet but necessary for her family. She said rents for a three-bedroom apartment run at best $4,000 a month which too steep for a teacher’s salary.

“It is sad,” said Gonzalez. “We love the area. There’s a lot to do here. i think it's a great place to be a kid and raise a family except for the cost of housing.”

“We hear stories like Sarah’s all the time,” said Mountain View Whisman School Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph. “Teachers who are moving to Oregon, Washington and Denver.”

Rudolph said despite increasing salaries by 28 percent in five years, it's not enough.

While other school districts have built housing on their own property, the district is doing something different by partnering with a developer to demolish an apartment complex and rebuild 144 affordable homes.

The rent is tied to the household's income. For example, a teacher with a starting salary of $64,000 would pay $1,500 for a one bedroom. 

“Multiple school districts are looking to solve this problem so hopefully this will encourage developers and school districts to partner together to solve a problem that is critical in California,” said Rudolph. 

Nubia Avina is part of the district's administrative staff. She hopes her family qualifies. She rents in Sunnyvale and will soon relocate to Vallejo to her mother's house, which is a four-hour round trip commute. 

“It’s a crisis within Mountain View,” said Avina. “If you go down Mountain View and go down the streets, you can see RVs, a lot of families are having to be doubled up.”

The project will cost $56 million. The district plans to obtain a loan, bond or private donations and believes the rents will offset costs. The goal to have teachers in the homes by Winter of 2021.