Taylor ISD is seeing ‘The Samsung Effect’

Williamson County

Superintendent says biggest challenge is lack of affordable housing for the teachers he needs

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN)— Taylor Independent School District superintendent Devin Padavil says there’s a “Samsung Effect” on his campuses.

“Students are asking about like, ‘what kind of opportunities are there’ and ‘what fields can I go into to work for Samsung?'” he says.

Padavil spoke with KXAN at the Austin Business Journal’s 2021 Williamson County Growth Summit on Friday. ABJ is KXAN’s media partner.

He says the district is already working on a pathway they plan to start integrating for students at all levels- elementary, middle school, and high school- starting next school year.

“How can students earn a certification right out of high school?” he says.

Padavil says the district is also already conducting a facilities assessment with an architecture firm to figure out how to accommodate the expected future growth of their student body due to Samsung’s incoming semiconductor plant.

“So that when it’s time to expand as a school district, we are well-prepared in terms of resources, in terms of bond funding,” Padavil explains.

The assessment is expected to be completed in the spring, he says, and will suggest which existing buildings need improvement, and how much new space the school district might need.

He says he’ll also need to attract and retain more teachers — one of his biggest challenges, he says, due to the county and region’s lack of affordable housing.

Padavil said he bought a home in Round Rock in 2004 for $120,000. Now, it’s listed at more than $380,000.

“To scale, that would mean, a teacher’s salary would be $105,000 to afford that home,” he said. “Right now, homeownership is getting harder and harder for teachers to grasp.”

“We’ve had as little as 600 homes on the market at a given time,” says Drew Griffin of Griffin Realty Group at Compass Real Estate.

Griffin, who spoke on a housing panel with Padavil during the event, says that shortage helped push single-family home prices in Williamson County up by nearly 40% over the last year.

But Todd LaRue with RCLCO, a real estate consulting company, says they are seeing some solutions.

“There’s a lot of, you know, new talent and new thinking coming in to build a little denser, maybe a little smaller, but still very high quality,” LaRue says.

Padavil says more roofs are crucial as they respond to the “Samsung Effect.”

“We have to create that kind of affordability to recruit high-quality teachers because when we do that, our schools strengthen,” he says.

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