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Holland Public Schools awards teachers $25k in down payment assistance for homes

Funding for the Teachers Live Here program was donated by an anonymous sponsor. Holland Public Schools hopes it will help alleviate staffing challengers during a nation-wide teaching shortage.

As schools across the country grapple with a nation-wide teaching shortage, Holland Public Schools (HPS) is introducing a unique effort to attract talent and increase retention. With help from an anonymous doner, the school district is introducing a program that grants teachers up to $25,000 towards a down payment on a local home.

The new program, Teachers Live Here, will support 10 educators per academic year, with up to $25,000 each. Recipients must commit to five years of teaching at HPS, an incentive the school hopes will attract and retain the best educators in West Michigan.

“We know that once they’re here and put down roots in this community, they’ll be here for good,” Superintendent Nick Cassidy shared on HPS’ recent podcast.

Cassidy said his staff has been working hard since the pandemic to keep classrooms manned.

“Our staff did everything in their power to keep our doors open during covid, covering classes, subbing for others and everything you can imagine they did because we believe HPS is at the center of a thriving community,” he explained.

The doner of the program is remaining anonymous, but Cassidy shared this quote from the sponsor:

“Teachers play a key effort for society and provide some of the most impactful and important  relationships some of our kids have during their childhood, and it’s time our community values and celebrates our educators.”

The program comes with the following eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must have a minimum of one semester teaching in the district with satisfactory evaluation scores OR favorable recommendation from building administrator.
  • Applicants must be pre-approved for a traditional mortgage. 
  • Home being purchased must be within 15 miles of the HPS district boundaries.
  • Applicant must provide most recent Federal Income tax return verifying family income below $100,000.
  • Once awarded, grant dollars must be used within 6 months.
  • A letter from the applicant stating the importance of being a member of the community in which they serve must accompany this application.  
  • No retroactive applications will be considered. (Teachers Live Here funding can not be used toward an existing mortgage or to refinance a current home mortgage.)

Holland Public Schools said priority will be given to first-time home buyers and teachers with specialty certifications. The first award has been given to first-grade, bilingual immersion teacher, Lillian Snoeyink.

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