New project in San Francisco aims to provide affordable housing for teachers

For years teachers have been saying sky high housing costs are pricing them out of the communities they serve. Now San Francisco says it's taking the first steps to do something about that.

San Francisco schools serve more than 55,000 students. At the heart of San Francisco schools, are the teachers and educators who are on the front lines of education.

On Tuesday, Mayor Mark Farrell's office announced a contract with a developer to turn an old school into new housing. "Really excited to announce it, and really excited to see the next steps," said Farrell.

"I mean, we cannot do enough for our teachers here in San Francisco. Especially as a parent of three young kids, we need to do what we can to keep our teachers in San Francisco."

Plans are still in the development stage, but the city has committed to building more than 100 units of housing that it says will be affordable to low and middle income San Francisco educators. Mayor Ed Lee spearhead this initiative before he died, with the city pledging to spend 44 million dollars to make the idea a reality.

With median rents in the city costing about $3,400 a month and an average starting teacher salary of $44,000 a year, it's easy to see how educators are effectively priced out of living in the community in which they teach. Despite the high cost of living,  San Fancisco teacher salaries languish in the bottom half statewide, something voters will consider in just a matter of months.

"There a measure on the ballot in June to increase teachers salaries here in San Francisco," said Farrell. "Something I'm very much supporting, and something we need to do drastically."

As for a timeline, the city is estimating that construction will actually get underway in 2020, with educators and their families moving in in 2022.