Miami's real estate market is hot. So hot, in fact, that its teachers can't afford to live there.
In response to this ongoing hindrance in recruiting educators, Miami-Dade county is in the initial stages of developing affordable housing on school campuses.
Two plans are in the works. The first proposal would include a floor of residential units included in the new construction of a middle school by Southside Elementary. If that pilot project goes as planned, the county is considering building an apartment complex next to Phillis Wheatley Elementary.
The starting annual salary for teachers in the area is $42,000. In Miami, a two-bedroom apartment would cost at least two-thirds of their monthly income.
Ned Murry, associate director of Florida International University's Metropolitan Center, endorsed the idea of using school land to build on. "When you look at teacher salaries, it's just impossible for them to get into the housing market," saying the projects are "a good idea, because land is such a difficult piece of the puzzle."
While the school system won't reserve apartments specifically for faculty working at the respective schools which will hold the complexes, county teachers will be given priority.
JPMorgan Chase has already contributed $215,000 to the project, and the school system has been working with Housing and Urban Development as the plans evolve.
Teachers' cost of living has been an issue in other high-cost communities in the US, with districts in Aspen, Boston and San Francisco subsidizing housing for their educators in other ways.
This is a growing trend as districts seek to attract (and keep) teachers while housing prices rise. Over ten years ago, 40 units were built for teachers in the Santa Clara Unified School District in California — the project was so popular, it was expanded and several districts in the state followed suit.
Districts in other cities across the US have also joined the trend, including Asheville, Newark, and Milwaukee.