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Perks for Teachers: Tiny Houses Help Educators Afford a Place to Live

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Published on Feb 27, 2019

Elementary school teacher Sydney Scharer loves her job in Vail, Ariz., but she couldn’t afford to live in the district on her salary, about $38,000 a year.

It’s an issue faced by teachers in many parts of the country. Some districts are building apartment complexes for their teachers and employees to help with housing. The Vail school district, about 30 miles southeast of Tucson, came up with a different solution: tiny houses.

The district is developing a parcel of land to accommodate up to 24 tiny houses. It will lease spaces to teachers for just $125 a month. Teachers can then buy or rent their own tiny homes.

Scharer jumped at the chance, and now rents a 400-square-foot home just 15 minutes from the school where she teachers 5th grade. “The plan is to make this a space where teachers and live and save and do what they want to do and be part of the Vail community,” she told Education Week.

The district’s associate superintendent, John Carruth, said that this option isn’t for every teacher or every school district. But he said “this is a piece of the solution,” and that the district hopes it can help it attract and retain high-quality young teachers.

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