The Unvoiced Peril of Teachers in San Francisco

April 27, 2018

The turnover rate has been on a steady increase with teachers in San Francisco, according to a study by the National Department for Education Statistics. In other states the welfare of teachers is put into consideration so that they can attain a certain level of economic stability while creating working conditions that would allow them to provide the best level of professional service. The difference is clearly seen in the average pay a teacher receives in San Francisco against what teachers receive in other states or even other counties in California.

A credentialed first-year SFUSD teacher only makes on average $52,687 a year, according to the contract between San Francisco Unified School District and United Educators of San Francisco. In contrast, a credentialed first-year teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in the Santa Clara Unified School District makes $67,233 a year and first-year teachers there with a higher level of education can make up to $74,689 a year.

The pay in San Francisco would be somewhat manageable but the living costs and conditions for teachers in San Francisco makes a career in teaching impractical.

Most of the housing options that are available were described by a teacher as “flop houses, unclean, and unattractive living complexes shared by many roommates’’. Despite poor living conditions, houses in San Francisco go for an average monthly rent of $3,684!

An anonymous teacher said ‘‘ Our monthly rent takes up my entire paycheck’’

The general welfare of teachers in San Francisco are not being catered to, which has led to the decline in the number of people wanting to teach in San Francisco.

What’s Causing This?

Low Pay

The amount of money from the revenue collected from property taxes channeled into teachers’ salaries is not sufficient enough due to the costly housing and living expenses in San Francisco. The expenses are more than the  income given and it’s choking the very air of them.

Tenement Rate Increase

Landlords have taken it upon themselves to set rent prices however they wish without considering the financial capacity of teachers in San Francisco. Apart from this, they are known to provide substandard and unsanitary conditions that teachers are forced to live with due to the lack of choices.

What Can Be Done to Help Teachers in San Francisco?

Salary Increase

This would go a long way to help better the lives of San Francisco teachers. If a person’s income is actually higher than expenses, that person’s welfare is increased dramatically. This could be possible if more funds can be channeled towards the education sector which will, in turn, affect the salary structure and scale of teachers and attract qualified teachers to our city.

Regulatory Bodies

The government should establish regulatory bodies that have the backing of the law to limit the cost of renting an apartment or house in San Francisco and also enforce healthy living conditions. This will prevent homeowners from putting their house for rent at outrageous prices and also help citizens, especially teachers, find places to live with healthy and acceptable conditions.

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