Strike-Ready Denver Teachers Spend Most Of Their Paychecks On Housing Costs

January 24, 2019
Photo: DPS Teacher Strike | DCTA Employee Loads Strike Material
In this Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, photograph, Kate Martin, a former teacher and current employee of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, unloads items for a potential teachers' strike outside the union's headquarters in south Denver.

As Denver teachers prepare for a possible strike, new data from Zillow reveals that teachers spent most of their paychecks on housing.

For educators with a mortgage, 40 percent of their income goes to housing. Teachers that rent spend 50 percent of paychecks on housing, according to the analysis by Zillow.

Those numbers apply to households where teachers are the sole source of income.

Experts recommend that ideally no more than 30 percent of an individual’s income should go toward housing.

Housing costs in Denver, as in many cities, have skyrocketed. The S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index for metro Denver shows prices are up 72 percent in the last 10 years. Wages for teachers, and for most professions, have not kept pace with that sort of increase.

Denver teachers voted to strike earlier this week as negotiations broke down between the union and the district. As state and federal authorities get involved, and Gov. Jared Polis pledges to try and prevent the strike, it’s not clear when a strike would actually start.

Teachers are asking for $28 million in new money, while a proposal from Denver Public Schools officials is closer to $20 million. The district said the offer grants teachers a 10 percent raise on average and acknowledges cost of living increases.

Teachers in Denver are in a tougher financial position than those in most other parts of the country. But it's not the worst city for educators. CPR asked Zillow to compare metro Denver to other big cities using their analysis.

Only teachers in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego spend a higher percentage of their pay on housing. Teachers in San Francisco spend a shocking 75 percent on their paychecks on housing.

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