Luring Teachers Through Affordable Housing

HONOLULU (KHNL) - More than 1,500 teachers - That's how many men and women education leaders say they must replace every year.

They say one big reason teachers leave Hawaii is the high cost of living.

Under a plan to address the teacher shortage, teachers could buy a half-a-million-dollar home for only $100,000.

That's an 80% discount off the sale price of homes.

That's what public school teachers could see if lawmakers pass an affordable teacher housing plan.

"The state wins, they retain their teachers. The teacher wins, they set roots in the community. The student wins, they have a highly qualified teacher in the area that'll be there continuously," says Hawaii State Teachers Association President Roger Takabayashi.

Takabayashi came up with the idea. Under his plan, the state would buy properties, then sell homes to teachers at 20% of the current market value.

"The state will profit because the 80% will always be theirs. And if and when its sold the state would, whatever realized profit, the state would gain 80% of it and the teacher would gain 20% of it," he says.

The plan aims to stop the high teacher turnover plaguing Hawaii schools.

To qualify, a teacher can't own a home elsewhere, and must work full-time in the Hawaii public school system.

Also, teachers must pay property tax, take care of the mortgage, and insurance.

Takabayashi says it's a plan that would benefit not just teachers, but also students who are in need of a stable educational environment.

"It's a matter of the children not getting the quality teacher they need year after year," says Takabayashi.

Where would teachers live under this plan?

Takabayashi did not specify locations.

He says the state could buy homes anywhere on the islands, although buying foreclosures is his suggestion.

Takabayashi plans to introduce his proposal at the upcoming legislative session.