Housing costs pushing Tahoe educators out Number of teachers calling Truckee home increases | SierraSun.com

Housing costs pushing Tahoe educators out Number of teachers calling Truckee home increases

Four teachers within the last three years have left Kings Beach Elementary School to work in Truckee schools.

Their reason? It’s closer to home.

The Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District has identified a problem with lake-based teachers wanting to transfer to Truckee schools because that is where they are living.

“Most of the houses and a wide variety of choices are in Truckee. Those new teachers we hire look to Truckee for their housing needs and then their goal is to work closer to home,” said Kings Beach Elementary Principal Bill Ellisen.

It has only been in the last two or three years that housing has become an issue for Kings Beach teacher, Ellisen said.

“It’s tough. There’s no way we can compare the cost of

a house at the lake with one in Truckee,” said TTUSD Trustee Karen Van Epps.

Dan Delaney, the president of the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors, said that Tahoe’s limited supply of homes and lack of developable building sites has caused Tahoe homes to cost more than Truckee.

“There is better value and better prices for comparable homes in Truckee,” Delaney said.

Van Epps asked the school board to “brainstorm” about the issue during its meeting Wednesday at the district offices in Truckee.

One idea is to evaluate whether real estate agents would be willing to put together packages or to help teachers find homes to rent or buy. Another idea would be for the school district to become involved with affordable housing projects, such as waiving the district’s developer fees if a project is considered affordable housing.

Van Epps said that “affordable” does not necessary mean low income. She explained that projects are normally required to offer a certain percentage of its units as affordable and developers can limit the number of people residing in each unit.

The school district could possibly work with the North Lake Tahoe Redevelopment Agency to develop affordable housing.

“Everybody’s dealing with affordable housing. It’s an issue at the lake that employers struggle with,” Van Epps said. “We need help to keep these wonderful teachers in our community.”

At last night’s meeting, permission was granted to Georgeann Rudicel to retire early under the “Golden Handshake” retirement incentive program.

The program, under Assembly Bill AB 858, allows teachers who have are either more than 55 years of age or 50-years old and have worked more than 30 years with the district to retire early and receive two years of retirement credit. This enables the district to open up teaching positions at the low end of the salary schedule and generate cost savings to increase the number of teaching positions available.

Under AB 858, once a teacher requests the Golden Handshake retirement program, a specific time period is established for other teachers to put in their similar requests. This request period is open until Nov. 30.

Rudicel requested a Nov. 7 retirement. She will be replaced before the beginning of the school year, but will remain in the system to assist with instructional projects until she leaves in November.

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