Governor notches victories on affordable housing and the teacher shortage by signing AB 2295
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2022) – Gov. Gavin Newsom struck dual blows against the state’s housing crisis and teacher shortage when he signed Assembly Bill 2295 (Bloom, D-Santa Monica) earlier today. The new law allows school districts and county offices of education to develop affordable housing for staff more quickly and efficiently, a process that will aid efforts to attract and retain teachers. Also, by reducing teacher turnover, AB 2295 will play a role in creating more equitable conditions for many of California’s high-need students.
“I am thrilled that Gov. Newsom has signed AB 2295 and demonstrated his support for education workforce housing. Our members across the state have expressed a strong and growing interest in creative efforts to address the teacher shortage,” said CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “AB 2295 is a unique bill that will make progress on two crucial equity issues, affordable housing and teacher recruitment and retention. By enabling more school employees to live in the communities where they work, AB 2295 will create additional stability for our students, particularly those in low-income schools who often bear the brunt of high teacher turnover.”
California’s housing crisis threatens the quality of K-12 education, contributing to high rates of teacher turnover and acute staffing shortages that undermine student outcomes. These costs are disproportionately borne by students in low-income schools and exacerbate opportunity and achievement gaps. School districts are eager to address these issues by converting unused or underutilized property to affordable housing for school staff but are slowed or stymied by current regulations. Under existing law, development of surplus school property into education workforce housing can often take seven years or more to complete. By removing administrative barriers, while still allowing for a robust community engagement process, AB 2295 would shorten that timeline in most cases, making it easier and less burdensome or local educational agencies to build housing on their property while positively impacting educational equity and local housing affordability.
“Teachers and staff are leaving because of the skyrocketing cost of living and stagnant salaries make it almost impossible to afford living in the communities where they teach,” said the bill’s author, Assemblymember Richard Bloom. “We are hemorrhaging talented teachers, which ultimately negatively impacts the quality of a public education for our kids. We can do better. AB 2295 gives school districts an essential tool in addressing staffing challenges by utilizing properties they already own. This bill will help facilitate education workforce housing with a guarantee that the housing stays affordable to all school district staff for decades. I’m proud of the work my office, the sponsors and supporters put into getting this bill to the Governor’s desk. This housing production innovation will help recruit and retain teachers and was well deserving of the Governor’s signature.”
Education Workforce Housing in California: Developing the 21st-Century Campus — a report in which CSBA collaborated with cityLAB at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Center for Cities + Schools at UC Berkeley and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley; and the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation — found that every county in California has school-owned land with the potential for education workforce housing. Collectively, California schools own 7,068 properties and 75,000 plots of land of at least one acre or more that are suitable for development — and 61 percent of these properties are located where entry-level teachers and many classified employees face severe housing affordability challenges.
CSBA is a nonprofit association representing nearly 1,000 PreK-12 school districts
and county offices of education throughout California.