LA Unified School District explores affordable housing development for employees

The school district aims to provide 2,000 units of housing on underutilized school properties

Superintendent Austin Beutner with Normont Elementary School (LAUSD)
Superintendent Austin Beutner with Normont Elementary School (LAUSD)

The Los Angeles Unified School District wants to provide 2,000 units of affordable housing for employees so they can live near the schools where they work.

LAUSD announced the initiative Wednesday. The goal is to attract and retain employees and allow them to live in the communities where they teach and work, according to the L.A. Daily News.

Officials said they will consider developing housing on underutilized LAUSD-owned properties, although they didn’t specify any properties.

The school board voted this week to explore a program, including surveying employees and appraising properties.

Superintendent Austin Beutner said that a starting salary for a teacher is around $50,000 a year and the starting salary for a grounds and buildings worker is about $30,000.

Average asking rent in L.A. County is $1,998, according to the California Housing Partnership.

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A renting household would need to generate $6,627 per month to afford that rent as a third of their income. Spending more than a third of income on rent is considered “cost-burdened.”

A large portion of low-income households spend more than a third of their income on rent and even 28 percent of moderate-income renters spend that much to put a roof over their heads.

Christopher Bonnell, a middle school teacher working and living in Panorama City, said that he spends about half of his monthly income on rent.

Bonnell said that some of his colleagues have roommates or live far from their schools in more affordable neighborhoods, which means long commutes.

Some employees spend 1.5 to 2.5 hours commuting each way to work, according to a staff presentation made to the school board this week.

[LADN] — Dennis Lynch