Teens Build Tiny Homes for Teachers in Wealthy Colorado Ski Towns

  • High school woodworking students in Colorado are building tiny homes for their teachers and staff.
  • Their woodshop teacher previously lived in a mobile home on a $7,000 annual salary when he began teaching 53 years ago.
  • Teachers, already underpaid, face a mounting housing crisis in some wealthy Colorado cities, reports say.

In one of Colorado’s wealthiest cities, kids are building tiny homes for their teachers to live in. 

The industrious teenagers know it isn’t a permanent solution, but it highlights how dire the situation has become for teachers who were already spread too thin for not enough money and are now burnt out by the coronavirus pandemic

In a ski town with ultra-rich residents, high schoolers in Aspen High School’s woodshop program are building a 200-square-foot tiny home for one of the district employees, The Colorado Sun reported. Aspen School District and Summit School District, both of which include resort towns, have both turned to student-built tiny homes for district employees – amid what state officials have called an affordability crisis. 

“We want to achieve more sustainable and affordable development in Colorado,” Gov. Jared Polis said in an August executive order requesting information from state agencies on the topic, according to Colorado Newsline

In Aspen School District, over a third of its 280 staff members live in school district housing, the Colorado Newsline reported. Superintendent Dave Baugh said it’s a top concern for new hires. 

“I see it as part of an overarching desire to be nimble and to make sure that folks have somewhere that’s warm, safe and dry,” Baugh told Colorado Newsline. “It’s the first question from every hire’s mouth: Where am I going to live?”

John Fisher, the 77-year-old woodworking teacher behind the initiative, has taught his students how to make kitchen cabinets and roll-top desks in his 53 years of teaching at Aspen High School. When he first started teaching in Aspen, he lived in a mobile home on a salary of $7,000, the Colorado Sun reported. 

“Teaching doesn’t provide that great of an income,” Fisher told the Sun, “so I think it’s great that teachers have an opportunity to buy or live in something that they can afford.”

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