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Round Rock ISD staff could get cheaper rent at certain apartments

Fernanda Figueroa Austin American-Statesman 

The Round Rock school district could soon see special housing discounts for teachers as officials try to retain staff who are having affordability issues.

 

As the cost of living continues to rise in the area, many Round Rock teachers are struggling to keep up. Some are working second jobs or moving out of the district to be able to afford their homes. District officials say they have between a 12% to 14% teacher turnover rate, a rate higher than normal.

 

On Thursday, the school board heard from the Texas Workforce Housing Foundation, which would provide apartment units for district personnel. The foundation owns three housing projects within district boundaries that would have units available for district staff.

The available units are at Legends Lakeline, Legends Lake Creek and Lakeside at La Frontera. At Legends Lakeline, rent for a one-bedroom apartment starts at $1,295 and at $1,829 for a two-bedroom unit. But rent for district staff would start at $621 for a one-bedroom unit and $744 for a two-bedroom apartment.

 

A representative for the foundation said some units are reserved for families making no more than 30% of the area median income and others for those making no more than 60%.

 

Families making no more than 60% of the area income would pay rent at $1,242 for a one-bedroom, saving $43 per month, and $1,4889 for a two-bedroom apartment, saving $340 per month.

 

Adam Harden, a foundation representative, said district staff would have priority access within the three projects and would be able to tour and apply for a unit before the general public. He said that if the district approves an agreement, it would have a say on how many units would be reserved for district staff, with no obligation to fill those units.

 

Additionally, he said, if the district identifies a need for more workforce housing projects, the foundation would work to attain it.

Harden said the foundation would be responsible for operating, financing, maintaining, repairing and rehabilitating the housing units, according to district documents.

 

As part of the agreement, the foundation will give the district an initial $250,000 for each property to an affordability fund and an annual contribution of $50,000 for each property moving forward. The fund can be used by district personnel for rental payments, to cover moving expenses, security deposits or for downpayment assistance if they choose to move out.

Trustees will consider the agreement again during their June 20 meeting.

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