Bay Area schools facing teacher crisis as LA teachers go on strike

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 30,000 Los Angeles public school teachers went on strike Monday morning. It's the first time a strike has happened in 30 years.

Among the requests from teachers - better salaries and reduced class sizes.

District officials say they are committed to negotiations and schools will remain open.

BUILDING A BETTER BAY AREA: Keeping teachers in the Bay Area

A crisis with teachers is not just a Southern California thing. Here in the Bay Area, a teacher shortage and high turnover rate means uncertainty in our classrooms.

ABC7 News Reporter Matt Keller is working on a series of reports for Building a Better Bay Area.

Many Bay Area teachers are finding life outside the classroom to be too expensive. Increasing rent, health care costs, student loans and more means some are taking second jobs.

"I have been working there six years now and really, the ends don't meet with my teaching job," said third grade teacher Liz Chivers.

Others face long commutes, have multiple roommates or even move back home with mom and dad.

"I'm thinking changing careers or moving somewhere," said Geography and AP European history teacher Anna Misra said.

School districts are facing increasing pressure. A superintendent is now teaching math class after the original teacher resigned in October to take a higher paying job outside of education.

Silicon Valley companies are recruiting teachers with degrees in math and science, taking them out of the classroom.

"Anyone with a degree is valuable and most teachers have multiple degrees," said VP of the Jefferson Union High School District Board Kalimah Salahuddin.

Districts are recruiting teachers as the number of people pursuing careers in education remain historically low.

All while they're trying to deal with new requirements from the state without receiving extra funding.

"We're still striving to find out what else could we do," said Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Raul Zamora.

Districts are trying new things to keep their teachers including building teacher housing on district property and even going directly to voters for pay raises. But long term solutions are needed.

Take a look at all of ABC7's Building a Better Bay Area stories and videos.

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