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Old 02-09-2017, 12:13 PM
 
7 posts, read 3,858 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello everyone. My wife and I are strongly considering a move from Long Island to the Tampa area -- namely Pasco County and Hillsborough County (Wesley Chapel, Land O Lakes, Lutz, Riverview are a few areas we've been looking online). We're visiting the area in a week and will be looking around with a Real Estate agent.

What I'm most concerned about at this point is understanding the true cost of living in this part of Florida. Obviously, NY cost of living is outrageous, but salaries are higher. My wife and I are both teachers and expect to have to take a 40%-45% pay cut as Florida teachers. We would expect to make in the 45K range to start with our experience. Here's what I'm wondering...

*Is a 90K household salary enough to live comfortably in the areas mentioned above?

*What are typical homeowner's insurance costs? What about flood insurance and sinkhole insurance?

*Typical Electrical bill cost?

*Childcare costs for a 3 year old?

And anything else anyone can offer. Thanks so much!
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Trinity Florida
7,930 posts, read 17,785,408 times
Reputation: 1997
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAndrew23 View Post
Hello everyone. My wife and I are strongly considering a move from Long Island to the Tampa area -- namely Pasco County and Hillsborough County (Wesley Chapel, Land O Lakes, Lutz, Riverview are a few areas we've been looking online). We're visiting the area in a week and will be looking around with a Real Estate agent.

What I'm most concerned about at this point is understanding the true cost of living in this part of Florida. Obviously, NY cost of living is outrageous, but salaries are higher. My wife and I are both teachers and expect to have to take a 40%-45% pay cut as Florida teachers. We would expect to make in the 45K range to start with our experience. Here's what I'm wondering...

*Is a 90K household salary enough to live comfortably in the areas mentioned above?

*What are typical homeowner's insurance costs? What about flood insurance and sinkhole insurance?

*Typical Electrical bill cost?

*Childcare costs for a 3 year old?

And anything else anyone can offer. Thanks so much!
Look In trinty too its in Pasco and its very nice...Taxes will be higher in Hillsboro county from all the info I have and my aunt and uncle lived there for 25 years...

Good Luck...
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
3,580 posts, read 3,687,532 times
Reputation: 3368
Your estimates of salary are probably pretty close. However, you're coming at a bad time...

Hillsborough County (20,000 teachers, over 200,000 students) is in a major financial panic at this time and has even laid people off. Yes, they are hiring some teachers, but unless you've got a STEM background or can do Special Ed (ESE) you'll have a tough time finding a position.

If you're not planning on moving until summer, you better get your ducks in a row with either county. Both use a hiring "fair" arrangement usually in April or later to hire new teachers. You have to be prequalified to attend, which involves getting vetted and all of your licensing in order. It is not open to the general population.

I'm not sure about Pasco County, but in Hillsborough hiring of permanent positions is frozen after January 1st, so if you come now or before the end of the current school year you'll be hired as a temp. Straight pay, no benefits. When the year is over, you're done.

You have to get into the hiring event to get a job in the fall. If you don't, you won't be able to get an interview until after the 20th day count, which will be in early September. At that point they adjust units and determine where they need teachers. First dibs go to existing employees, then after the pool is exhausted they'll consider outsiders.

I hate to sound all doom and gloomy, but outside of the economic downturn a few years back you couldn't pick a worst time to come. As I mentioned, Hillsborough County schools are in a major upheaval due to financial issues, and as a result they're doing everything they can just to keep existing employees on the books. This means a major purge of administrative jobs forcing people back into classrooms, laying off non-essential personnel, etc. I worked there for some years and have direct contact with many in the administration, and it's really, really ugly right now and will continue to be for some time.

Also understand that in Florida there is no tenure. You will be an at-will employee and can be terminated at any time without reason or ability to appeal. There are teacher "associations" in both counties that represent the teachers in contract negotiations, but they are not unions, nor are teacher's unions legal in Florida. Florida is also a right to work state, meaning that you can teach and not be required to join or belong to the union, which is nice since the "unions" are pretty worthless for the most part.

Florida will also require that you have an ESOL (English speakers of other languages) certificate or equivalent. If you don't, you've got a couple of years to get one. This is a state-wide requirement.

Lastly, I can't speak for Pasco, but the benefits in Hillsborough County SUCK. Medical coverage can cost a family of four $10,000/year, according to a report I just read in the media last week. When I worked there I was insured under my spouse's plan, thank goodness. The benefits were so awful I think I would have declined them anyway and just rolled the dice.

If you have specific questions feel free to PM me.

RM
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Old 02-10-2017, 10:02 AM
 
Location: St. Petersburg, fl
87 posts, read 63,047 times
Reputation: 110
DAndrew,

Pasco and Hillsborough are nice. I liked right over the county line in Pasco in Odessa. Since we are just over the line, our taxes are about $1000 less than they would be if we were in Hillsborough. My wife is a teacher at Lake Myrtle Elementary in Land O' Lakes. She had a pretty easy time finding a teaching job and loves the people she works with. We moved here from Maryland 3 years ago and love it. My wife makes what you guys will be making but it depends what type of house etc you are looking for. The cost of living in Pasco is pretty inexpensive compared to Maryland. My wife and I have about 1850 sqft house. Electric bills runs from $80 in the winter to a max of $200 in the summer for us. We haven't put the heat on yet this year. Our homeowners insurance is $950 or so a year. We have no sink hole insurance and in the areas you are looking you likely will not need flood insurance. We also took a huge paycut moving here, but from Maryland at least, everything is cheaper other than car insurance. I think you will have no problem on your salaries. I am not sure what child care costs would be.

Best of luck!

Last edited by Sunscape; 02-10-2017 at 01:33 PM..
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Old 02-10-2017, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Colocated - Long Island and Florida
142 posts, read 99,130 times
Reputation: 174
Good idea to consider a Florida move. Florida is beautiful, especially the Tampa Bay area. I still live on long Island and puschased a small home in Pasco county in June 2014. I spend 8-10 weeks a year down there and plan to retire there in a few years.

My home insurance for a 1500 SqFt home - no flood zone is about $800/yr. Electric cheaper than Long Island. One cost that was surprising to me was water / sewer. It's about $80-$100 a month - no pool My LI water bill is about $50 every 3 months. The trash bill in my neighborhood is $42 every 3 months.

If you guys are public school teachers I guess you've also considerred the pension aspects of the move and not just the salary hit. I doubt Florida school teachers have as an attrative package as teachers on Long Island. I'm guessing that with a 3 year old you are still a ways away from being eleigible for your pensions.
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Old 02-10-2017, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Tampa, Fl (SoHo/Hyde Park)
1,335 posts, read 4,374,825 times
Reputation: 1013
Don't do it. If you are LI teachers, stick it out, you've got it made. Make that money and enjoy that pension. You'll work til the day you die as a teacher in Florida and the COL is NOT cheap down here. We've got TONS of retired LI teachers down here who retired at 58 and now have it made, many still have a place on LI. My parents included. Don't ruin a good thing, you dont realize how good being a teacher on LI is.
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:49 AM
 
7 posts, read 3,858 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MortonR View Post
Your estimates of salary are probably pretty close. However, you're coming at a bad time...

Hillsborough County (20,000 teachers, over 200,000 students) is in a major financial panic at this time and has even laid people off. Yes, they are hiring some teachers, but unless you've got a STEM background or can do Special Ed (ESE) you'll have a tough time finding a position.

If you're not planning on moving until summer, you better get your ducks in a row with either county. Both use a hiring "fair" arrangement usually in April or later to hire new teachers. You have to be prequalified to attend, which involves getting vetted and all of your licensing in order. It is not open to the general population.

I'm not sure about Pasco County, but in Hillsborough hiring of permanent positions is frozen after January 1st, so if you come now or before the end of the current school year you'll be hired as a temp. Straight pay, no benefits. When the year is over, you're done.

You have to get into the hiring event to get a job in the fall. If you don't, you won't be able to get an interview until after the 20th day count, which will be in early September. At that point they adjust units and determine where they need teachers. First dibs go to existing employees, then after the pool is exhausted they'll consider outsiders.

I hate to sound all doom and gloomy, but outside of the economic downturn a few years back you couldn't pick a worst time to come. As I mentioned, Hillsborough County schools are in a major upheaval due to financial issues, and as a result they're doing everything they can just to keep existing employees on the books. This means a major purge of administrative jobs forcing people back into classrooms, laying off non-essential personnel, etc. I worked there for some years and have direct contact with many in the administration, and it's really, really ugly right now and will continue to be for some time.

Also understand that in Florida there is no tenure. You will be an at-will employee and can be terminated at any time without reason or ability to appeal. There are teacher "associations" in both counties that represent the teachers in contract negotiations, but they are not unions, nor are teacher's unions legal in Florida. Florida is also a right to work state, meaning that you can teach and not be required to join or belong to the union, which is nice since the "unions" are pretty worthless for the most part.

Florida will also require that you have an ESOL (English speakers of other languages) certificate or equivalent. If you don't, you've got a couple of years to get one. This is a state-wide requirement.

Lastly, I can't speak for Pasco, but the benefits in Hillsborough County SUCK. Medical coverage can cost a family of four $10,000/year, according to a report I just read in the media last week. When I worked there I was insured under my spouse's plan, thank goodness. The benefits were so awful I think I would have declined them anyway and just rolled the dice.

If you have specific questions feel free to PM me.

RM

Thanks, I appreciate your honesty. We need to hear it before making a decision! We heard about the hiring fair. Our certifications are currently being processed and we were planning on flying down for the fair if we decide to move forward with this. I also read some reports regarding the financial issues in Hillsborough. I am not ESE, buy my wife is. You have given us a lot to consider and have brought up many questions that I'll bring up when we visit during President's week. Thanks again!
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:54 AM
 
7 posts, read 3,858 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYmikef View Post
Good idea to consider a Florida move. Florida is beautiful, especially the Tampa Bay area. I still live on long Island and puschased a small home in Pasco county in June 2014. I spend 8-10 weeks a year down there and plan to retire there in a few years.

My home insurance for a 1500 SqFt home - no flood zone is about $800/yr. Electric cheaper than Long Island. One cost that was surprising to me was water / sewer. It's about $80-$100 a month - no pool My LI water bill is about $50 every 3 months. The trash bill in my neighborhood is $42 every 3 months.

If you guys are public school teachers I guess you've also considerred the pension aspects of the move and not just the salary hit. I doubt Florida school teachers have as an attrative package as teachers on Long Island. I'm guessing that with a 3 year old you are still a ways away from being eleigible for your pensions.

Thanks! Yes, we're a ways away, but that is a consideration. I'm a NYC teacher and can retire at 55 (18 years from now). I know in Florida it's 63 or 33 years, so I'll definitely be working longer down there. And I think they'll only take 5 years experience even though I have more than that.
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Old 02-11-2017, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
3,580 posts, read 3,687,532 times
Reputation: 3368
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAndrew23 View Post
Thanks, I appreciate your honesty. We need to hear it before making a decision! We heard about the hiring fair. Our certifications are currently being processed and we were planning on flying down for the fair if we decide to move forward with this. I also read some reports regarding the financial issues in Hillsborough. I am not ESE, buy my wife is. You have given us a lot to consider and have brought up many questions that I'll bring up when we visit during President's week. Thanks again!
Understand that Hillsborough County, like every school district in the state of Florida, is a county-wide school district. This is nothing like what you're used to as a city or township based district unless you would teach in NYC. It is a huge, lumbering beast that is rife with politics and nepotism. 220,000 students, I believe, and 30,000 employees make it the larges employer in Hillsborough County. The 8th largest school district in the nation, I believe.

I may sound harsh but I worked in the District for many years, some of that time attached directly to the Board and Superintendent's office, so I saw the seamy underbelly of the place on a daily basis.

The only way to progress is to attach yourself to a rising star or an existing administrator who is in good graces. Once I figured that out I moved up quickly and managed to get myself into a position that was in direct contact with the Board and Superintendent. That made me "golden" in the sense that my supervisor and others I worked with wouldn't bother me, nor was I subject to the occasional "housecleanings" that took place.

I played nice but understood the environment, which is why I did what I did. I never used my position to promote myself or gain favor - I just did what I did to minimize the hassle of survival. I wasn't happy about it, but it was a survival skill that was necessary to assure my tenure.

You're on your way to getting in if you've submitted your paperwork for the hiring fair. I would seriously scrutinize the benefits package, especially since you're both tentatively planning on being in the District. While I've been out for a few years I know their benefits haven't changed significantly since then, and when I was in they were really lousy and very expensive.

Probably the worst thing about the whole arrangement these days is the lack of tenure. Due to changes in state laws, tenure no longer exists in Florida. You're on an annual contract, which does not have to be renewed and requires no reason for non-renewal. This means if you get crosswise with someone you're gone and there is nothing you can do about it. When you consider that your livelihood is dependent on a single discipline that has one (major) employer in the whole county, there's some serious risk involved. You might also want to contact some of the charter schools in the area as well to see what they offer. Charters are becoming a major player here, and as a result they are taking a lot of public school students into their system. I know very little about the charters other than they've become quite popular. Whether or not they pay well and have decent benefits is unknown to me.

Personally, if I was in your shoes I would stay put. I'm familiar with New York's teaching environment and it's far superior to Florida's. While you may come out ahead as far as living expenses, in the long run it's not going to be anywhere near as beneficial relative to your quality of life and retirement benefits.

As for housing, you would have a better idea as to housing costs if you could establish a price range of the home you'll be able to afford. $250k is the bottom end in the area you're talking about, and I suspect that the way the market has been that this is probably no longer valid. The Wesley Chapel/New Tampa area is very hot as far as the market, so prices reflect this. Also consider that as new transplants into the school district you're not going to get positions in desirable areas most likely. For example, if you moved into the are you're talking about and you are posted to a school in the southern or western part of the County, you're talking about an easy 45 minute to hour commute each way. Take that into consideration for your cost of living.

Good luck,

RM
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