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  • Writer's pictureChad Oliver

New Housing Survey Reveals Realities

Access to housing and the overall cost of living have long been issues in Collier County, but not to this extent. Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) now has survey data to prove the importance of the issue. For two weeks in March, we shared an anonymous survey with all District employees, instructional and non-instructional. Approximately 3,500 CCPS employees took time to complete it.

Where CCPS Staff Lives

Eighty-one percent of our survey respondents live in Collier County and 18% drive into a CCPS work site from Lee County. The remaining one percent live in other counties, and several drive from Florida’s east coast each day. When asked about their current situation, 65% own their home, while 25% rent and are at the mercy of rental spikes seen statewide since the pandemic. According to the apartment search engine, the average monthly price for a one-bedroom in Naples is $1,910, and $2,350 for a two-bedroom.  Hard to believe those prices have gone down year-to-year!  Our survey revealed 275 of our staff have a stable place to live; however, it is with family or friends. For those that told us they do not have a stable place to live and provided their contact information, we are connecting them with potential community resources to assist.

Feelings About the Future   

The survey revealed the issue of housing is top of mind for many who work in our public schools. Forty-five percent said they are concerned they will not have stable housing within the next year, and 80% of those respondents cited “cost” as the reason. Of the 3,500 district staff who took our survey, nearly two out of three expressed concern that the current costs of housing might force them to seek employment elsewhere in the future.

Retaining, Recruiting, and Advocating

Superintendent Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli explained to staff why their input was important. “Our school district has been asked to join the collaboration and conversation around providing solutions for essential housing... The information gathered from this survey will help provide a clearer reflection of our employees’ current housing situation.”

CCPS Chief Human Resources Officer Valerie Wenrich shared the results of the CCPS Housing Survey during the public comment portion of the March 26, 2024, Board of County Commissioners meeting, where they voted to advance the development of essential housing at the former Golden Gate Golf Course. CCPS understands the concerns of our employees and is doing everything in our power to retain and recruit employees. This past year, the School Board passed a record increase for teacher compensation, representing a $26 million increase in salary expenses.  Additionally, the School Board put out a request for proposals for essential housing development of 35 acres, owned by CCPS, adjacent to Manatee Elementary off U.S. 41. Results from the employee survey will help inform the next steps for the School Board on how that property may be used.

Part of the school district’s role is to be both a collaborator and a connector. To that end, we maintain a housing webpage ( for our staff to share opportunities from outside organizations, provide housing resources, and potential assistance.

Housing is essential for our community providing public services, for our school district to continue to be an A-rated educational provider, and for sustaining the overall quality of life that makes Collier so desirable.

Have a school district-related question or topic you’d like Chad to feature? Call 239.377.0185 or email


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