Law protecting school employees from eviction moves forward

Legislation that would give San Francisco school employees, child caregivers and families new eviction protections during the school year received unanimous support from a Board of Supervisors committee Monday.

The legislation, authored by Supervisor David Campos, would prohibit most no-fault evictions during the school year against employees at San Francisco schools and child care centers, as well as against families with children.

Currently, families with children under 18 are protected from owner move-in evictions during the school year under legislation introduced by Supervisor Eric Mar in 2009.

Campos’ legislation would expand those protections to cover nearly any school employee or child care provider and any type of no-fault eviction except Ellis act evictions, in which the landlord takes the property off the rental market altogether.

“We know that San Francisco is facing an affordability crisis, and this affordability crisis is also affecting our education system,” Campos said Monday. “Many families who are evicted cannot afford to stay in San Francisco and are forced to leave.” Campos noted that high housing prices have made it difficult for the San Francisco Unified School District to fill vacancies and hire substitute teachers.

The starting salary for a teacher is less than $3,400 a month, less than the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment, while paraprofessionals make even less, he said.

Teachers, child care providers, and officials and employees from both public and private schools lined up at Monday’s land use and transportation committee hearing to testify to the impact that the housing crisis is having on them.

Belann Giaretto, a director at Pacific Primary School, a private preschool in the Western Addition, said:

“This teacher crisis has been the worst crisis I’ve ever seen.”

Giarett osaid the school has struggled to attract applicants for jobs because of housing prices and many current employees have either faced eviction or are driving long distances from communities such as Fairfield or Vacaville because they can’t afford to live closer to school:

“What’s ahead is really terrifying if we don’t have teachers.”

Matt Haney, president of the San Francisco Unified School District board, said the legislation, which now must win approval by the full Board of Supervisors, will help create stable school communities:

“I think that the very least that we can ensure as a city is that our educators who work hard with our youth everyday don’t have to face the threat of eviction in the middle of the school year.”

A December survey by the United Educators of San Francisco found that 70 percent of their members said they were renters, and 59 percent were worried that the high cost of living in San Francisco could prevent them from continuing to work and live in the city.