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“My teaching newcomers to San Francisco is like I’m coming home. I was in classes like these when I emigrated from the Philippines at age 5. It’s like I am helping myself,” explains Mission Promise Neighborhood teacher Jan Michelle Bautista of why she loves her job, and of the empathy she exhibits for her sixth- to eighth-grade science students at Everett Middle School.

Raised in the Outer Richmond, Jan wanted to stay in the city she loved, but that created a major challenge on a teacher’s salary. In the summer of 2014, the 20-something was enjoying her new career while living solo in a $2,300 per month one-bedroom flat located Downtown. She tried coming up with ways to lower her rent, which ate up way too much of her take-home pay. There seemed to be no options – not in San Francisco, anyway.

Few of Jan’s contemporaries inspired confidence around housing possibilities. It seemed as if only her engineer friends had been able to move out on their own, with most still being compelled to head outside of San Francisco. Everybody else was still living with their folks.

Then Jan heard from Mission Promise Neighborhood Family Success Coach Roberto Aparicio, who is based at Everett and acts as a connector to free services in the community, that MEDA’s Housing Opportunities team was coming to the school to lead a First-Time Homebuyers workshop to avail teachers of how they could potentially buy a place in San Francisco. MEDA is the lead agency of the Mission Promise Neighborhood.

At the workshop, housing counselor Juan Diego Castro spoke of San Francisco’s Downpayment Assistance Loan Program (DALP), which offers up to $200K, and the Teacher Next Door (TND) Program, with $20K toward a first-time home purchase. For the latter, a teacher signs an agreement to remain with SFUSD for a decade minimum; if they do so, there is no need to repay the money. If the teacher leaves sooner, full payback of $20K is required for years one through five, with prorated amounts of repayment starting year six. (The good news is that the TND program is being restarted in May 2016.)

Jan then took advantage of MEDA’s free one-on-one homeownership coaching. Castro also filled this role, going over Jan’s budget and then counseling her to move home for six months to save up for the rest of the needed downpayment. While Jan loves spending time with her extended family (really!), she knew it would be tough moving back to her childhood home after having been on her own. Jan had a flashback as she once again shared a room with siblings, plus the home was crowded with three generations of the Bautista clan. Despite these drawbacks, Jan bit the bullet, hoping it would truly be temporary.

It turns out Castro’s advice was pretty much spot on, as Jan closed on her new Nob Hill condo in February 2015, with a March move-in date. While Jan’s place is just 450 square feet and could use a kitchen remodel, it’s all hers.

There is another price to pay: it’s very tough to come up with the monthly mortgage payment on a teacher’s salary alone, so the industrious new homeowner has taken a second job working at a local supermarket. The days are long, but she can now stay in the city where she teaches.

That is not the case for most.

With real estate site Zillow today showing a median rent of $4,425 and home price of $1.12 million, a teacher’s salary just won’t cut it in San Francisco. Jan knows that many of the teachers at Everett now live in Oakland or other East Bay locales, meaning a long commute.

This can translate to not be able to attend student games, after-school events and educational meetings.

“I look forward to my Professional Learning Communities meetings, which are held after school hours. These meetings are where I share resources with other English Language Development teachers. Because I live in San Francisco, I can come to these meetings. Fellow teachers who live in the East Bay are forced to make a choice each day about getting home at a reasonable hour or staying for these kind of events. This is especially difficult for those with children,” states Jan.

Then there is keeping a connection to the community in which you teach — important to Jan, and other teachers like her. For instance, Jan takes the bus to work, sometimes seeing parents and students also on the way to Everett. “I ask them if homework was done last night,” Jan kids. She also can relate to her students’ daily life experiences, heading to the same eateries, parks and museums.

Jan knows that some dual-household-income Mission Promise Neighborhood teachers do not qualify for DALP or TND, as they make too much money to qualify, but do not earn enough to compete in San Francisco’s pricey market. This often means moving from the city.

“SFUSD puts plenty of money into training teachers, but if they leave the city, that knowledge is lost. If teachers don’t leave because they went back to grad school, then they most likely had to move away because they were evicted or wanted to buy a place and could do so only elsewhere. That’s quite the loss for San Francisco,” concludes Jan, grateful to the Mission Promise Neighborhood for helping her be one of the enviable few who can actually live where they teach.

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About Mission Promise Neighborhood
The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working, and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.

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Matt Haney-Blog

Matt Haney’s expertise about all matters education is well known in San Francisco … and beyond. So, it’s no surprise he was chosen as president of SFUSD’s board, with the official swearing in held on January 12.

In the past, Haney has taken on the role of advisor for the Mission Promise Neighborhood. He also sits on the board of MEDA – the lead agency of MPN – where he counsels on policy concerns for the low-income Latino community.

While Haney is well versed in the latest education topics, his own educational background is vast. Haney has a BA from UC Berkeley, an MA from Stanford University School of Education, a JD from Stanford Law School (with a focus on education law, and where he remains a lecturer/fellow) and an LLM in Human Rights from National University of Ireland, where he was a Senator George Mitchell Scholar. Impressive, indeed.

Currently, Haney works as #cut50 director of policy at Dream Corps, the vision of renowned civil rights leader and former Obama White House advisor Van Jones. Overseeing #cut50 means Haney is spearheading a national, bipartisan initiative to reduce the U.S.’s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next decade. Haney believes there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform the nation’s broken criminal justice system.

At SFUSD, Haney is responsible for determining policy, budget, curriculum, educational goals and standards for all pre K-12 public schools in San Francisco. He has been a national leader on ending the school-to-prison pipeline, including penning landmark policy transforming San Francisco’s school-discipline system.

Mission Promise Neighborhood Director Raquel Donoso knows SFUSD made the right choice, exclaiming, “It is evident that Matt really cares about our students. He has demonstrated leadership in shaping policies that are essential to the families and students of the Mission Promise Neighborhood. I am sure he will flourish in this new role.”

On his Facebook page, Haney stated of his new position as president of the board of SFUSD as follows: “I am excited to serve as president of the school board, alongside my good friend vice president Shamann Walton, and my wonderful, dedicated colleagues. Let’s go to work for the kids!”

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