State offers home discount for teaching in troubled schools

The Associated Press
Thursday September 14, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO — Teaching at troubled schools could earn some California educators a discount on a new home. 

The state treasurer set aside $64 million Tuesday to help teachers buy homes in six counties with hot housing markets.  

In return for the benefits of the Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase program, teachers must work five years in a poorly performing school – one that scores below the bottom 30 percent of the Academic Performance Ranking. 

The program should help attract qualified teachers to poor, rural and urban school districts, says State Treasurer Philip Angelides. 

“This program is not only to help teachers buy a home but to help out teachers teaching in the toughest schools,” Angelides said in an interview Wednesday.  

He expects the program will assist 460 teachers and their families in the next few months, and predicts the program will help 4,000 over the next four years. 

The program will provide down payments and federal tax credits to educators who hold a teaching credential and fall within a salary range that varies by county. 

The program would provide educators with at least $7,500 in down payment help, along with federal tax credits worth up to 20 percent of their annual mortgage interest. 

The California Teachers Association, however, says a better solution is to raise teacher salaries.  

Low salary levels and soaring home prices have made it difficult to own a home.  

In the Bay Area, for example, the average teachers salary is $46,000 and the median home price around $370,000. 

Angelides acknowledged that teachers in the Bay Area will likely still have a hard time affording a home, but that the assistance could at least help with the cost of a condominium or a small first home. 

Santa Clara, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernadino counties will take part in the program.