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School district considering going small to solve a growing problem

Posted at 6:52 PM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-05 12:52:28-05

In the rapidly growing Vail School District, there is one thing that hasn't sprung from the desert sand, so far: apartment buildings. The lack of short-term, affordable housing has become a problem for some of the district’s teachers, administrators say.

“Our district is 425 square miles, and we do not have an apartment complex inside our school district boundaries,” said John Carruth, Associate Superintendent.

A district committee of staff and faculty are now exploring the idea of bringing tiny homes to Vail so teachers can have affordable housing closer to work Carruth said.  

“Our staff is already paying for housing somewhere so what we're trying to do is capture a way for them to have that here within the school district in a way that honors them,” Carruth said the district wants to make sure any homes it brings in or builds are high quality.

The district is considering developing land it owns near Old Vail, along railroad tracks near the old post office. Carruth says the district still has to figure out how the financing would work and if the district will own the land and the homes or just the land. Even if the tiny homes idea falls through, he says the district is committed to finding ways to keep teachers in vail in the face of low teacher pay.

“Fundamentally in Arizona, there are things we can control and things we can’t,” he said referring to Arizona’s comparatively low funding levels for education.

The district currently does not have a timetable for construction. It has invited Steve Dedmon, a tiny house builder, and developer from Lakeside, Arizona, to speak with staff this week about the idea.