“Do you have a room for rent?” asks the Rooms For Rent For MUSD Educators online form. “Please fill out this form and our MUSD educators who are seeking a room to rent will be notified. The rest is up to you.”
“The continued loss of staff is what led the school district officials to make a desperate attempt to keep their educators,” The National Desk reported at the beginning of the school year.
Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan said the district had “lost out on some employees that we tried to recruit because once they see how much it costs to live here, they determine that it’s just not possible.”
Salaries in the Milpitas district start at $73,000 annually for first-year teachers and range to $145,811 a year. According to Redfin, the median price of a Milpitas home in November was $1.24 million, unaffordable for many. The average monthly rent for a single-bedroom apartment this month was almost $3,000, an 8 percent increase from the year before.
Within a week of sending out the notice, the school district had 55 responses from families willing to take in a teacher.
“This is evidence that our entire MUSD Team, which includes our teachers and classified support staff, is valued by our Milpitas community members, parents and caregivers,” Jordan said in a statement.
Yeah, well, sure. Good neighbors. But this bizarre episode in the state’s ongoing housing drama, renewed every year by the “network” in Sacramento and its local affiliates, is also evidence that California has on its hands a problem that has solutions but not the politics to enact them.
Here’s how deep California’s housing hole is:
- “Though the exact number of new housing units California needs to build to address housing affordability is uncertain, the state would need to annually build roughly twice as much housing as it does today so that housing costs in California increase at the same rate as housing costs nationally,” says the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) in reviewing the housing plan in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2022-23 budget.
- The LAO said in 2015 that “between 190,000 units per year and 230,000 units per year” should have been built between 1980 and 2010 in the state’s major metropolitan areas “to keep California’s housing cost growth in line with cost escalations elsewhere in the U.S.” Of course this didn’t happen.”
- Newsom has said that California needs to build 3.5 million new homes in four years, a pace of 875,000 a year. In the 2000s, the state averaged only about 120,000 new units a year.
There’s no reason to pretend that the needed changes will come easy. They won’t. Until there’s a full overhaul – not just token reform – of the California Environmental Quality Act, and there’s new thinking at the local level regarding rent control, zoning, and other policies that discourage homebuilding, the housing crisis will remain.
But then it’s possible all of the state’s most pressing problems have been taken care of, since Sacramento has enough energy to expend on handing out reparations, blaming the private sector for high fuel prices caused by the government, and enacting climate policies that have no basis in reality. California has its priorities and maybe everyday folks aren’t sharp enough to understand what’s really important.
Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.