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Old 04-09-2010, 12:31 PM
 
26 posts, read 52,095 times
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I've been doing research on Fort Walton Beach. My husband is in the middle of sending in a job application to Okaloosa County School District. Any positives and negatives about the town (no need to know about peoples' driving skills)?

Topics like pace of life, beaches, crowded, school district, weather...Thanks!

Last edited by bhsaylor; 04-09-2010 at 12:44 PM..
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
4,674 posts, read 8,649,903 times
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It's an Air Force town, so you get students coming and going on a pretty regular basis. Politically conservative, but not as pushy about it as other areas nearby. Not a whole bunch of teacher turnover, which tends to be a sign that people are happy working there.

Unless he's applying in a high need area like special education/ESE, bilingual education or higher level science, odds are probably somewhat low on getting the job. The school district has had to lay off a lot of teachers as the military drew down one large program in the area, and those teachers that are still around here would probably have first crack at new job postings as the military now builds up two large programs in the area.

As for the area itself, it's a reasonably self-contained small metro area that has more dining/shopping options than you'd expect because the very nice beach areas also draw a good number of (mostly Southeastern) tourists. Nearest major city is New Orleans, which is a little under a four hour drive one way. Atlanta/Tampa/Orlando are about a sixish hour drive one way. Unless you want to live out in the sticks, home prices are high by SE standards (though not bad compared to West Coast or Northeastern prices) because the Air Force owns 95% of the land south of I-10 where most people live, and even in outlying areas, we never saw the overbuilding the peninsula got.

It's not big city crowded, but does seem to have more traffic than you'd expect for an area of about 200K people. Pace of life is pretty much small metro typical though you really do get to feel like you're on vacation on weekends. Violent crime against strangers is rare. There's a certain herd protection you get because the criminals don't wan't to accidentally try to start something with one of the local special forces operatives and get their butt kicked or worse. Light property crime is an issue, mainly because so many people don't bother to lock their home and car doors like they should. Beaches are great, and there are many opportunities for other outdoor recreation. (just finish up before 10:00am during the summer or you'll bake)

Weather is miserably hot in late summer, pleasant in spring and fall, and cooler than you'd expect for Florida in winter. We'll generally have about 2-3 weeks every January or February where it struggles to get to 50F during the day, and you're carefully babying your tender perennials at night because it's dipping below freezing. Hurricanes happen. 95% of the time, it's about 6 hours of very gusty rain and the equivalent of a Midwestern snow day, but those 1 in 20 storms can be rather scary. We were here for Ivan, and I can still remember the constant howling of the wind.

Job market for trailing spouses is great if you're interested in the service industry or have the high tech skills to develop small rockets from parts recycled from toaster ovens. Eglin AFB does a lot of very high tech weapons development. White collar general office work can be much harder to find. It's a classic hourglass local economy.

Stay here long enough and the negatives do start to annoy you after a while, but we've been here for 12 years now because for us the plusses far outweigh the bad.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:30 PM
 
2,997 posts, read 2,811,131 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhsaylor View Post
I've been doing research on Fort Walton Beach. My husband is in the middle of sending in a job application to Okaloosa County School District. Any positives and negatives about the town (no need to know about peoples' driving skills)?

Topics like pace of life, beaches, crowded, school district, weather...Thanks!
Great access to beaches, lots of festivals between FWB and Destin, real good choice of restaurants especially seafood , can get a bit crowded in the summertime but not as bas as Destin next door , all the popular shops , its a good sized town thats spread out but it never seems to be excessively overcrowded as a rule, most are polite Drivers, I personally havent seen a big Police presence in FWB for the size town it is..but could be just me and the times that ive travelled thru., strong christian culture , Panhandlers often gather on Route 98 at a few busy intersections in downtown FWB -- the Village has put signs up not encouraging giving , its typically 5-8 F. cooler in the summer / warmer in the winter versus inland. Dont know about the schools . Lots of military live there . My personal experience with the people there are that they are friendly to strangers and even outgoing. If you think youd enjoy a little smaller town but still close to the beaches, theres Niceville and Valparaiso just up the road -- housing may be a tad cheaper there too.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:56 PM
 
26 posts, read 52,095 times
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Wow thanks guys! Perfect! I think I'm all in. The trick is getting a job. Strong Christian culture, less crowded, good sea food, great beaches, low crime (military is good, seems to keep people in check), good shops and decent weather...what more could you ask for! The hot weather and storms are expected, so that's alright. Wish us luck in finding a job! Your responses are greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:32 PM
 
2,997 posts, read 2,811,131 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhsaylor View Post
Wow thanks guys! Perfect! I think I'm all in. The trick is getting a job. Strong Christian culture, less crowded, good sea food, great beaches, low crime (military is good, seems to keep people in check), good shops and decent weather...what more could you ask for! The hot weather and storms are expected, so that's alright. Wish us luck in finding a job! Your responses are greatly appreciated!
Your welcome. This part of Florida is pretty nice . Im still addicted to going to the many great beaches around there and ive been here over a year now. Heres the regional newspaper for the area : www.nwfloridanews.com plus I know theres some Job Employment Source around if you go to the yellow pages. Id come and check out the area beforehand just to make sure its for you.
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