SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – At a San Jose Unified School District public meeting Thursday night, teachers weighed in on proposals to close or move two schools to make way for affordable housing. But the plan has drawn protests among parents.
While the ideas were preliminary, the district said it needs to find a way to retain teachers and schools may need to be moved.
“It’s always a struggle thinking about that tomorrow I could be on the street,” said Renata Sanchez, who has been an elementary school teacher for 11 years.
Sanchez said the housing situation is making it difficult for her to focus on her job.
“I’m nationally board certified as a teacher and yet at the same time, since I’ve started my teaching profession, I’ve lived with 11 roommates,” she said.
Sanchez was one of several teachers who spoke before the San Jose unified school district during public comment Thursday night.
Last month, the district put out a master plan that proposed closing or moving Leland High School and Bret Harte middle school to vacant, district-owned land about a mile away.
In place of the current campuses, affordable housing could be built where teachers, staff members and low-income families could afford to live.
“We support teacher housing but oppose relocation of any school,” said a member of the community Thursday night.
The district did not address the topic Thursday night because it wasn’t on the agenda.
But board member Susan Ellenberg posted on her Facebook page that she was aggravated by rumors that there are nine schools slated for closure.
“Not only is this untrue, but the misinformation deflects from what our school district is actually trying to do, which is identify possible sites where we can build teacher housing and, in the process, upgrade some off the oldest schools in our district,” Ellenberg said.
Vera Sloan, a parent who attended Thursday’s meeting, told KPIX 5, “Mostly we just need to be involved in the conversation, and we really haven’t been, and it’s not okay.”
Already, some neighbors have said the affordable housing proposal would hurt property values and is out of place in wealthy Almaden Valley.
“It makes me so sad when I hear the hateful rhetoric on media and social media that we would love to have teachers and teacher housing, but not in my backyard,” said teacher Victoria Moore.
The district plans to address the plan at a future meeting.