"This is fantastic for schools like ours," said Emmanuel S. Stewart, principal of Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School in the Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood. "It's something they should've been paying us for a long time. ... Our educators very seldom get the full compensation they deserve."
Nearly 70% of his school's staff lives outside of San Francisco, Stewart said, noting that an increasing number of his students have also moved out of the city but are still enrolled and now commute to school.
In the three years Stewart has been principal at Carver, at least 10 teachers have departed, many for jobs in higher-paying districts, he said. Last year, three of his young teachers accepted positions at higher-income schools in Palo Alto, taking with them "the [teaching] knowledge that we gave them," he said.
Stewart said he hopes similar financial incentives will be offered to his school's classified staff, including the custodians, food-service workers and instructional assistants, who typically make less than teachers and often face even greater financial strain.
"I'm hoping they'll really consider everyone who’s dedicated time to our community," he said.
Latrice Simmons, an educator at Carver, said she moved out of San Francisco several years ago, and now commutes from Daly City.
"I can’t afford to live in the city. It just got so expensive I couldn’t continue,” she said. "A lot of us are having a hard time staying in the neighborhoods we teach in."
The extra cash the district is offering is a much-needed boost, but still not enough for most teachers to be able to continue living in San Francisco, Simmons said.
"I’ll be honest. We kind of need more," she said. "The typical studio apartment starts at about $3,000. There's not too much left over at that."
But that all aside, she added, "I'm committed to staying in San Francisco, and specifically staying in schools where people look like me. I want to make sure brown and black children have access to a quality education."
How much housing can California teachers afford?
An interactive tool from EdSource, produced by Yuxuan Xie, Daniel J. Willis and Justin Allen.
(Note: salary data based on 2017-18 California Department of Education figures.)
KQED's Holly McDede contributed reporting to this article.