Stephen Ellison

Supervisor Proposes Building Homes For Teachers in Palo Alto

A Santa Clara County supervisor is proposing a plot of land in Palo Alto be used to develop affordable homes just for educators.

Supervisor Joe Simitian said there’s an available lot of county property open near the courthouse in Palo Alto. Some colleges and universities in the area have already implemented similar plans.

"The San Mateo Community College District has built faculty housing on their college lands," Simitian said.

The property in question is a block and a half from the California Avenue Caltrain station and a block and half away from local shops and supermarkets. Simitian said it could be the site of 60 to 100 homes for teachers.

Currently, many teachers are driving in from all parts of the Bay Area.

"I would love to live where I teach and be able to stay longer, to be able to offer my kids more support," said Maria Thomas, a middle school teacher. "And right now, that’s just not feasible."

Teri Baldwin, an elementary school teacher in Palo Alto, considers herself lucky to live in a privately owned apartment complex in nearby Mountain View. But she’s worried her luck may soon run out.

"I’ve been there 10 years; it’s the only reason I’ve been able to stay so close," Baldwin said. "I found out today that, ironically, they’re selling."

Simitian worries that all teachers will soon be priced out of the area.

"If we want to attract and retain top-flight talent, then we’ve got to find a way to give them a place to live."

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