Lower salaries and higher rent makes hiring teachers in Oakland tough

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- More than 100 teacher candidates lined up for a chance to work at Oakland public schools.

Nicholas Meese and Joshua Gause teach different subjects and have different reasons for wanting to work in Oakland but they have a similar problem.

"Just looking at the open houses, places to rent, there's not much in our price range," said Meese.

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"I live in San Leandro, but I'm experiencing the increase in rent as well," said Gause.

Gause grew up in Oakland and would like to return to Oakland Unified as a special education teacher, but he's open to moving elsewhere.

"The houses in Sacramento compared to the cost of houses in Oakland -- night and day, so people have to go where they can afford to live," said Gause. "One of the reasons why Oakland is having a hard time hiring teachers is because they are so underpaid."

"It's challenging because we're competing with other districts that have higher salaries," said Manager of Recruitment for OUSD, Mary Claire Delgado.

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She says their teachers make between $46,000 and $85,000 a year. Unlike other districts, they don't offer financial incentives like signing bonuses, but she says OUSD compensates in other ways.

"In our district, for health benefits, you pay about 30 bucks a month. In other districts you might have to pay 500 bucks a month," Delgado added.

Another benefit to Oakland, teachers are often altruistic.

"Teachers don't usually come into teaching for the money. I'm mainly here because I want to work with students and I want to give them an opportunity to see history from a new perspective," said Meese.

OUSD has 70 teacher openings and three more recruitment events in June and July.

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