Fortunato bill would provide up to $10,000 in housing assistance for teachers

OLYMPIA…Sen. Phil Fortunato has introduced a bill that would provide housing assistance to educators in school districts with high housing costs.

“Seventeen years ago I proposed a similar housing allowance to address the inequity of teacher salaries in higher cost-of-housing areas, and nothing has changed,” said Fortunato, R-Auburn.  “I want to do more to recruit and retain the best teachers in these school districts. If teachers cannot afford to live near their districts how can we expect them to stick around?”

Senate Bill 5534 would give teachers and administrators, in districts with above-average housing costs, an annual-income supplement of up to $10,000. The stipend would begin in the 2017-2019 school year and would be adjusted for regional differences in housing costs.

Fortunato’s proposal is part of the broader effort he and other Republican senators are making to recruit and retain teachers and eliminate inequalities in Washington’s public-education system.. The centerpiece of their work is the Education Equality Act, a student-centered, teacher friendly plan just introduced by the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. More about the plan can be found at:

“Housing costs take up a significant portion of teacher salaries,” Fortunato said. “This should help ease that burden. Teachers should be able to focus on educating our students, not worry about making their mortgage payments.”