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CCSF faculty survey shows support for educator housing

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(Ekevara Kitpowsong/ 2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)
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Pricey housing costs are not only pushing teachers out of public schools in San Francisco but also giving faculty a reason to leave City College of San Francisco, a new survey has found.

The survey, released before the Board of Trustees discuss plans to build employee housing Thursday, sheds light on the lesser-known housing woes of City College faculty and staff as city officials continue to spend resources on housing support for public school educators.

But while the need for employee housing has wide-ranging support, college officials have not settled on a location, and even the faculty union has other priorities like reopening the closed Civic Center campus.

More than 40 percent of the 457 faculty and staff members who responded to the survey said they plan to leave City College in less than five years. While retirement was one of the main reasons, many just said they were moving or pointed to the housing crisis as a reason for their expected departure.

“I am trying desperately to find affordable housing for my family,” wrote one faculty member, who expects to leave the college within five years. “I have been at CCSF for 10 years and I’m committed to my students, my department and my community. However, we want to own a home.”

“I have lived in a studio apartment for 14 years,” another person wrote. “I now have a son who is [7 years old] and this place is too small for us, yet I cannot afford anything else in San Francisco … affordable housing for CCSF staff would make all the difference in the world.”

Faculty union head Tim Killikelly said the American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 represents a shrinking number of about 1,400 faculty members at City College.

“This survey is indicative of the affordability crisis,” Killikelly said. “There’s been cuts in classes, there’s been retirements, and many part timers … don’t have guarantees of classes.”

City College has a five-year plan to reduce its class schedule by 5 percent annually, which started this school year.

CCSF Trustee Tom Temprano said the survey reaffirms what he has heard about the housing crisis anecdotally.

“It makes it difficult for our existing faculty to be able to stay here and it makes it really difficult for us to attract new faculty to live here with these rents,” Temprano said.”

The survey also revealed that there is not as much interest in CCSF building affordable housing for employees above the closed-down Civic Center campus, which needs seismic repairs, as there is for housing at Balboa Reservoir near the Ocean Avenue campus.

Just 41 percent of faculty and staff surveyed said they were interested or very interested in below-market-rate housing at Civic Center, compared to 63 percent at the Ocean campus.

Many complained about crime near the Civic Center campus.

“I won’t live in that neighborhood,” one person wrote. “No thanks.”

The administration is recommending to the trustees that CCSF remodel and reopen Civic Center by 2020 instead of building housing. The college has $11.3 million in voter-approved state funding for seismic repairs at Civic Center.

Both Temprano and Killikelly said reopening the campus at 750 Eddy St. is a top priority. Classes have been temporarily relocated to 1170 Market St. since January 2015.

“What I keep hearing when I meet with faculty, community members and students isn’t about housing at the campus, it is about getting that campus reopened to the community,” Temprano said.

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