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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Creating great communities for all

New study: Ample possibilities to turn excess school land into teacher housing

By Louis Hansen, Mercury News, February 16, 2022

“California has roughly 75,000 acres of school property on large lots that could be developed — more than all of the land in Oakland and San Francisco combined, according to a new study released Tuesday. The Bay Area makes up about 10 percent of the prime developable school properties in the state.

“Jeff Vincent, director of the Center for Cities + Schools at UC Berkeley, said high housing costs have caused high turnover rates in many school districts as young teachers seek out more affordable regions to continue their careers.

“The study found ample possibilities for local education authorities to turn large parcels of at least one acre in size into new homes and apartments for teachers. The five core Bay Area counties have 7,600 acres of school property ripe for potential development, led by Santa Clara County (3,084 acres), Contra Costa County (2,209 acres) and Alameda County (1,367 acres), according to the analysis.

“School districts in every Bay Area county have shown a willingness to develop housing for educators, including San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, and West Contra Costa unified districts, according to researchers.

“ ‘Addressing the housing affordability challenges that so many teachers face is an important step in both attracting and retaining teachers and improving outcomes for California’s students,’ said Elizabeth Kneebone, the research director at Berkeley’s Terner Center.”

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