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Detroit School District Employees Eligible For 50% Discount On City Homes

detroit-2361585_960_720Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has but one simple goal.

“We want to bring our educators back into the city,” he said at a recent news conference.

That’s his motivation for adapting a new housing program designed to give educators and other school employees a 50% discount on homes in the city. At a time when major cities have effectively priced their own teachers out of the housing market, Detroit is trying to put its many unused homes to good use.

The homes that are eligible for discounts are all a part of the city of Detroit’s Land Bank auction program.

While discounts are already given to city employees and retirees, an announcement was made last week to extend the program to include educators and school employees of Detroit Public Schools Community District as well as charter schools and private schools.

The Detroit Free Press reports that since its initial implementation in 2015, the city has approved 1,609 employees to bid on city properties, according to land bank spokesperson Craig Fahle, who also says the bank owns around 30,000 properties in total.

About 44% of home buyers look online for properties as it is, and those interested in bidding on properties can now do so from the Land Bank’s website.

Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD Superintendent, feels that the expansion will help to fill a growing number of open positions within the school district.

“More importantly than that, it allows us to go back to an age when our teachers were directly linked to our schools and the community, which builds a better relationship with our students.”

Vitti says there’s currently “too much disconnect” between educators and students, largely due to the distance.

Detroit Federation of Teachers executive vice president Terrence Martin says he understands the “advantage of having that relationship with the children you service.”

“It’ll create a better teaching and learning environment for our students,” he said.

Ultimately, Cornerstone Charter Schools co-founder Clark Durant sees the program as nothing less than “a fabulous opportunity for all of the kids in the city,” but cites the biggest challenge as attracting school employees.

“We’re ahead of our enrollment goals and we’re looking for teachers,” Durant said.

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