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Old 07-06-2009, 12:24 PM
 
19 posts, read 58,162 times
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Hi everybody,

I would appreciate some assistance. We are from Massachusetts and fairly progressive and liberal. We are fairly educated (master's degrees for both of us, and both involved in education at the elementary and higher ed levels).

We have two young children and are looking for a more laid back type of living. We would like to be within 20 minutes of a beautiful Florida beach. We would like to be within 20 or so minutes of a larger city with colleges/ universities (this is necessary for my work). We would like a family oriented community with very good schools for our children.

Ideally we will be someplace where culture is accessible within a short drive, as we enjoy visiting museums, beaches, restaurants of all types, etc. A nice outdoor shopping/ restaurant area would be a great plus.

We can afford up to $350,000 for a house, but less is great too!

Finally, we would like to find neighbors/ a community of people with similar education levels and interests as us... not necessarily all liberal democrats, but just more involved in education.

Can you suggest some areas to look at? Thank you!
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:13 PM
 
15,207 posts, read 31,172,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katied75 View Post
Hi everybody,

I would appreciate some assistance. We are from Massachusetts and fairly progressive and liberal. We are fairly educated (master's degrees for both of us, and both involved in education at the elementary and higher ed levels).

We have two young children and are looking for a more laid back type of living. We would like to be within 20 minutes of a beautiful Florida beach. We would like to be within 20 or so minutes of a larger city with colleges/ universities (this is necessary for my work). We would like a family oriented community with very good schools for our children.

Ideally we will be someplace where culture is accessible within a short drive, as we enjoy visiting museums, beaches, restaurants of all types, etc. A nice outdoor shopping/ restaurant area would be a great plus.

We can afford up to $350,000 for a house, but less is great too!

Finally, we would like to find neighbors/ a community of people with similar education levels and interests as us... not necessarily all liberal democrats, but just more involved in education.

Can you suggest some areas to look at? Thank you!
Sarasota has all this - I think you would really like it here. The big obstacle will be jobs - the job market is tough all over right now. If you can find employment in the area, all your other wants will be fulfilled. We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, three small but highly acclaimed colleges including Ringling School of Art and Design, New College and a branch campus of USF. We have the Ringling Museum as well. What kind of employment will you need?
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:50 PM
 
19 posts, read 58,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsychic View Post
Sarasota has all this - I think you would really like it here. The big obstacle will be jobs - the job market is tough all over right now. If you can find employment in the area, all your other wants will be fulfilled. We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, three small but highly acclaimed colleges including Ringling School of Art and Design, New College and a branch campus of USF. We have the Ringling Museum as well. What kind of employment will you need?
I'm currently finishing up my Master's degree in academic counseling. I'll be seeking employment as a career counselor or academic advisor in higher ed. My husband is an elementary school teacher. I appreciate the suggestion! I will take a look at the area.

Btw, is there an area of Sarasota that is better for schools? My children are ages 4 and 2, and will be in public schools. Are there sububs that have great schools or that might be great for kids this age?
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,685 posts, read 16,115,889 times
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The Florida public higher ed job market is bad right now. The universities are eliminating entire departments, consolidating services, and considering eliminating branch campuses. Where I work, we're in better shape than a lot of other schools. Meaning no layoffs or pay cuts, but we're still in a hiring freeze for anything that's not considered an emergency situation.

I wish I could offer more encouragement because there are some good things about working in higher ed in the state.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:31 PM
 
Location: midwest
508 posts, read 986,299 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katied75 View Post
Btw, is there an area of Sarasota that is better for schools? My children are ages 4 and 2, and will be in public schools. Are there sububs that have great schools or that might be great for kids this age?
Hi katied75! I second the recommendation from gypsychic. She and others from the are have actually been helping me relocate there. I have children ages 5,7 & 8 so schools are a BIG issue for us too. The Sarasota area does have many schools doing very well. The Forida Dept of Ed has scored many elementary places as "A" grade schools and there are also charters and private places. Some cater toward a particular focus such as art or religion and it's simply too much to put in this post. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the Dept of Ed site and also scroll through some of the Threads in the Sarasota forum - it's a wealth of knowledge!

For me the big issue is the high school though so I'm looking at the Lakewood Ranch and eastern suburbs. I want to be established near the best school for the "tough years".

I'm pretty conservative myself - I've look at the entire state of Florida for relocation but I love the eclectic vibe in Sarasota. So many things for so many types of people! And if your ideal home is 350K or so, you're sure to fall in love with a real gem. I'm sure you will love it down there. Good luck with your search!!
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
499 posts, read 1,601,777 times
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I think there will be a challenge for the "laid back, liberal" part vs. the good schools part. Florida in general is not very good for schools/education. While there are definately exceptions, these schools tend to be either private or in very pricey suburbs of cities of Miami or Ft Lauderdale.

Florida has also transformed into an older, conservative state now, although there are "colonies" of progressive folk.

My suggestions would be the Florida Keys (Monroe County) esp. Key Largo, Hollywood, Delray Beach, DeLand, St. Augustine and Atlantic Beach.

Since you are both educated, you could also consider home schooling, and live in a more rural area that has amazing natural beauty/history such as Citrus County, Goodland/Everglades City and Cypress Key. Or buy/rent a boat where you can move around and live at the marinas, till you find your perfect place/town.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,486 posts, read 19,942,775 times
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Here's a third vote for Sarasota. I was born and raised here and couldn't think of a better place to raise kids. My three daughters go to the local public schools. My older two go to Pine View School for the Gifted. It was rated the number one school in Florida and one of the top schools in the Nation. We are extremely satisfied with the education our children are getting.

Pine View is a special program designed to meet the unique needs of intellectually gifted students in grades two through twelve on a broad-based campus. Pine View is a public school so there is no charge for attending this school. The school is located on a 74 acre campus. Pine View's current campus sports more than a dozen buildings situated around a central lawn and connected by blue open-air porticos. Sarasota architect Carl Abbott patterned his design after Thomas Jefferson's "academical village" at the University of Virginia. Each building is color-coded, with yellow indicating mathematics, purple indicating science, blue indicating foreign language, orange indicating social studies, red indicating elementary, and green indicating English. Each main color-coded building contains eight classrooms.The curriculum is one full grade level ahead. So, if your child is in 2nd grade they will be doing 3rd grade work.

Above all, Pine View prepares students for higher education. All high school courses are honors-level, and many are advanced placement. Ninety percent of the class of 2000 earned scores of 3 or higher on advanced placement tests, and 96 percent went on to four-year colleges and universities. Many students graduate with significantly more than the required 26 credits; graduating with 33 credits is not unheard of. Pine View's curriculum emphasizes rigor, and students who have attended other public schools in the Sarasota area generally report that Pine View's classes require significantly more work than their counterparts at other schools.

You will need a psychologist to test your child. This may be done for free by the Sarasota County school district or you can hire a private psychologist to test your child.

Pine View was recently rated 6th in the Nation. There are several requirements for attending Pine View school. Here are a few other articles/websites on Pine View that you might find interesting:

School Accountability Report...
Sarasota County Schools, Home
http://www.sarasota.k12.fl.us/pvs/
http://www.dukegiftedletter.com/arti...l1no4_mcl.html
www.Greatschools.com
http://www.usnews.com/listings/high-schools/florida
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_View_School
http://schools.publicschoolsreport.c...ForGifted.html
http://www.uni.uiuc.edu/og/2007/05/n..._as_one_of.htm

Sarasota has beautiful beaches, the weather is terrific and the town is very nice. I don't think you can go wrong looking in Sarasota county.

Last edited by SoFLGal; 07-06-2009 at 09:37 PM..
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:35 PM
 
8,376 posts, read 27,794,282 times
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Boca Raton. All criteria met. Sarasota is considered "conservative", Key Largo I don't know that much about but I don't think has much in the way of museums, outdoor shopping, or decent homes for 350 thousnad. Hollywood is not known for good schools, Delray suffers the same problem as does DeLand. St. Augustine and Atlantic Beach could work.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,486 posts, read 19,942,775 times
Reputation: 2804
Quote:
Originally Posted by compelled to reply View Post
Boca Raton. All criteria met. Sarasota is considered "conservative", Key Largo I don't know that much about but I don't think has much in the way of museums, outdoor shopping, or decent homes for 350 thousnad. Hollywood is not known for good schools, Delray suffers the same problem as does DeLand. St. Augustine and Atlantic Beach could work.
Actually, in the last election in Sarasota the votes were almost split 50/50 republicans to dems.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
499 posts, read 1,601,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compelled to reply View Post
Boca Raton. All criteria met. Sarasota is considered "conservative", Key Largo I don't know that much about but I don't think has much in the way of museums, outdoor shopping, or decent homes for 350 thousnad. Hollywood is not known for good schools, Delray suffers the same problem as does DeLand. St. Augustine and Atlantic Beach could work.
As I said, a tall order. I was focused on the "laid back liberal" aspect and figured they could inquire about the schools, where their kids would also be socialized. To me the conservative aspect is important as many of the better schools in Florida are not considered liberal and will affect their socialization.

All of the areas I mentioned have the resources requested in or nearby. Key Largo is within an hour of world class facilities, UofM and services in Miami. Stetson U is in DeLand and UofF is near St Augustine. Delray has FAU. Don't know if you can touch a home in the main area of Boca for $350 or not now (or if you end up in Pompano, which is definately not what they're asking for).

Am also familiar with Pine View in Sarasota, which is an excellent program. However I also totally agree that Sarasota is mostly conservative and retirement age community (as a sweeping generalization) and the AGENT forgot to mention if Sarasota County went for Obama or McCain? (We can post it later if she doesn't)

Also note I live in Daytona Beach and made an honest recommendation, instead of a sell.
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