MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) In an attempt to address housing issues for teachers and staff in Soledad, the city and the Soledad Unified School district are now using money from a $13.75 million bond passed in 2020 to build new, affordable housing.
"By providing an affordable housing option, we would aim to be able to recruit new employees to our district on behalf of our students, providing the best possible services to our students, and also to be able to retain those employees so that they're able to live in town, stay here in town longer, possibly because they're paying an affordable rate for their housing," said Randy Brags, Superintendent of Soledad Unified School District.
One teacher from the Soledad Unified School District says lack of affordable housing is an issue for teachers. The starting salary for teachers in the district is around $54,000 and the median price for a home in Monterey County is over $800,000.
"It’s really needed. I’ve known teachers who have gotten hired and they were looking around Soledad for housing and it’s just not enough inventory… and plus the rental prices are pretty high," said one fifth-grade teacher.
The superintendent for the Monterey County Office of Education, Dr. Daneen Guss, announced that all schools in Monterey county are considering providing housing for teachers.
"We have so many teacher turnover issues in our county that we have to find solutions, right? We can't just keep hiring 30 or 50 teachers every year in a particular district because then it doesn't give us the continuity that our kids need,” said Guss.
The starting salary for a teacher in Monterey County is $50,000 and they currently have 135 positions open.
The City of Soledad is planning to meet on Wednesday to discuss the plot of land on Monterey and Soledad Street in Soledad.