Proposal for affordable teacher housing causes uproar among San Jose parents

The San Jose Unified School District is hoping to build affordable teacher housing and has identified several existing school sites where it might go. But the proposal has already caused an uproar among parents.

Those at Leland High School and Bret Harte Middle School have started a petition saying it shouldn't be put there.

Parent Greg Braley started the petition and says, "The school is central to this area. I mean people love these schools. And you're first of all taking the schools away from the area."

Under a proposal by the San Jose Unified School District, the existing schools would be turned into much needed teacher housing. A vacant site a few miles away would be turned into brand new schools.

Parents fear the new site will be too far away and the teacher housing could affect property values, by bringing renters into their Almaden Valley neighborhood.

Braley says, "It's just frankly not in fitting with the rest of the community."

But this is far from a done deal. In fact, the district's proposal has identified nine potential sites to build staff housing, including four elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school and even the current school district offices on Lenzen Avenue.

These are the criteria they used to pick them:

Steve McMahon, Deputy Superintendent of the San Jose Unified School District says, "One was: Are the facilities in a place where they could better serve students if they were upgraded? Two, if we made a change could they better serve the enrollment imbalances across the district? And three, do they have the potential to support employee housing?"

The district says when it comes to housing, they have no choice but to take action. Silicon Valley prices have made it nearly impossible to retain quality teachers.

McMahon says, "We're losing dozens when they find out about the cost of living. We're losing even more when they want to start a family."

San Jose unified says they'd like to find two or three workable sites, some for apartments, some for single family homes.

Parents like Greg Braley hope the housing won't be here. He says Leland High School, home to Pat Tillman Stadium, is worth saving.

Braley says, "I want state of the art schools and I'm all for that, but you can do that right here. You can do that a lot less expensive by renovating what's here rather than building from scratch."

The school district plans to narrow their list of options over the next year. A community meeting on the topic will be held tonight at 6pm at Leland High School.