AUSTIN, Texas — As the housing market booms in Austin, so does the cost of living, ultimately leaving some teachers on the short end of the stick.
"Just in the seven years, more like half of my paycheck goes to my mortgage, which is insane," said Katrina Pokorney, a teacher for Austin ISD.
AISD's new hire guide for the 2020-21 school year shows teacher and librarian salaries start at $51,000. The salary went up to $63,000 after 30 or more years of experience.
Katrina was "priced out" of the housing market in Austin. She commutes 30 to 45 minutes each day from Round Rock.
"To be able to pay my mortgage, I have to have a roommate and a second job. So just to be able to survive and make it month to month, it's tough," explained Pokorney.
According to the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, to qualify for affordable housing, residents must make less than 50% of the median family income.
For Austin, the median family income is $98,900. The latest report from the Austin Board of Realtors shows the median sales price for a home in the city of Austin rose to $555,000 in December, up nearly 20% year-over-year.
Katrina bought her Round Rock house for $155,000 and her mortgage has already gone up over $400 in a few years. The AISD teacher said with only around $3,000 in take-home pay per month, buying a house in the city where she teaches would be impossible.
Educators are now hoping to receive more options from the district when it comes to affordable housing.
In an email, AISD officials said they have proposed pay increases going into the 2022-23 school year. That includes a pay increase for teachers by 2% of the midpoint of their pay scale for the 2022-23 school year. Also, a $1,000 base pay increase is also proposed for the 2022-23 budget, which would increase pay for approximately 5,000 teachers.
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