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Old 11-05-2015, 06:17 AM
 
8 posts, read 9,134 times
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Hi all - appreciate any help you might be able to provide.

I've been hired for a job in Stuart and I and my family are moving down in December. We have 3 kids (9th grade, 3rd grade and kindergarten) and were really intrigued by the lower home prices in Port St. Lucie.

But I've been reading up on the schools, and much of what I read isn't good. The Realtor we're working with suggests we look in Martin County instead, but housing is much more expensive there and since my wife won't be working at first, I don't know if we can swing it.

I have 4 specific questions:

1. Can anyone tell me why the PSL schools perform so poorly in general? Looking at the demographics of the area, the discussion on this board about how crime is low, there are a lot of retirees, etc. - it just strikes me as odd that PSL test scores would be below the state average, with some of the schools being significantly below. Not sure what the deal is - hoping someone might have some insight.

2. That said, our Realtor suggested that the St. Lucie West area is better. Is that your experience?

3. Can anyone explain how the "open enrollment" system for students works in reality? The info on the district's web site is confusing; I plan on calling them to ask about this, but from what I understand, you can request that your child attend any school in the district, but there's no guarantee they'll get in. How LIKELY is it they'll get in? How difficult is it to get into the schools with better test scores?

4. Lastly, in terms of property taxes - the City of Port St. Lucie and St. Lucie County are two separate entities, correct? What areas are in the county but not the city? And if you live in the county but not the city, are property taxes lower? (Just saw where the city really hiked taxes).

Thanks for any and all input. We're moving from Pennsylvania, where we'll just beat the winter out of Dodge; looking forward to it - just want to make sure we wind up in the right place.
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:06 AM
 
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Welcome to the treasure coast...
The whole school system selection process in St Lucie county has been discussed at length by some very active posters who have recently gone through the process . The various reasons the schools are as highly rated as Martin County schools has been explored and discussed as well in various threads , Lots of good info , do a search all your answers are there
As far as the City of PSL hiking taxes , yes the just recently raised taxes as needed by some poor financial choices in government . The media has as usual kind of stressed the increase and maybe sensationalized it ? The published rate increase of around 18% but keep in mind that's ONLY on the City of Port St Lucie portion of your taxes not your entire property taxes and the increase effects each home differently depending on your homestead exemption or not
Here's a real life example , my townhouse and my common wall neighbors are exactly the same , mirror images floor plans. We bought ours in 2011 at the low point of the market, they bought a few years ago . The market vault for taxes are the same @100,000 . Ours has the homestead exemption , there's doesn't.
Our taxes increased 31.00 there's by 119.00 , an increase yes huge , not really
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:11 AM
 
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The City of PSL and St Lucie county are separate yes. The County includes the city of PSL, the city of Ft Pierce and I believe small area of Jensen beach( I'm sure someone will correct this if it's incorrect)If you live in St Lucie County you have to live in the City of PSL or Ft Pierce or the small section of Jensen.
Everyone pays St Lucie County and school taxes and then their respective city taxes . Go to the St Lucie county property appraisers website and you can veiw any homes total taxes and the taxes are broken down as to what they are for as well. I believe Martin County has the same
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:33 AM
 
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Here's a link to discussions about schools in the last year:
//www.city-data.com/forum/searc...rchid=20655341

I have no kids, but my husband's ex was a teacher in St. Lucie County public schools, and she had her kids in private schools or, in the case of my husband's son, public school gifted programs.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:14 AM
 
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Test scores are a direct result of the socioeconomic status of the children attending. Some believe if you mention race/nationality etc. your automatically racist, but even the great schools website explains in great detail the reason for the "murky middle", when you have children of non-anglo backgrounds, often with lower income, you have lower test scores. Some attribute it to the following reasons:

1. A hardwired learning difference, that favors the anglo kid (there are 3 major learning method difference most early schooling and all standardized tests only cover one)

2. Emphasis of education in lower socio-economic homes-There exists a normalcy bias in the different cast systems of America, and as bad as it sounds a lot of lower tier income families do not realize the importance of education as a foundation

3. Ability to apply emphasis on education- In lower economic homes, both parents and often older siblings have to work to pay bills, especially in income depressed areas, therefor their is no one at home to ensure homework is done/help with harder homework etc.

4. Lower income areas attract less educated teachers and/or high crime/under disciplined area erode a teachers ability to actually teach, quickly forcing them to become baby sitters instead of educators.

5. Language barriers, not just in the pupils themselves, but in the pupils support network at home from parents/relatives who may not understand completely the homework assigned.

None of what I type has any racist/bigoted statement intended nor inferred , it is a statistical fact as tracked by the school systems. Many including myself believe if we could improve the ability of standardized testing to measure ability and not just parrotted knowledge, then there would be a more even keel, but the way to do that is as of yet unknown of to a scale that could be utilized at the heard level. The second thing to utilize and really the best is the states grading system, and more importantly, the actualy numbers and not the letters assigned.

I broke it down in another thread, were for a high school, statistically Centennial (in psl) is a c last year and a B this year, but is better than Treasure coast high school, except they get graded lower because of failures in the at risk student graduation rate. In areas such as overall graduation rate, AP class participation rate etc. they are better and in some cases double or almost triple, but the weighted factors get it graded lower.

When looking at the schools in Martin county which are overall superior to PSL schools, the difference isn't always as huge as you would thing by going from a "Great schools" rating of 5 to 6 or 7 (martin county HS/south fork hs), you only go from a florida state B- to a B+ or a B+ to an A-, and the reality of that is a graduation rate of 92% to maybe 95%.

Now take what PSL has "statistically" against it, and measure it against surrounding areas and the picture gets more weird;
Statistically in the 34953 and 34986 area codes, there is a higher AA and Hispanic rate and a lower average income rate of most of martin county yet the schools are actually on a "step back and look at the big picture" only marginally better in many cases. (treasure coast/st lucie west cent. vs martin/southfork) and you will see a larger portion of student that should be "statistically performing worse" are performing on par or just behind those with more test friendly backgrounds, which tells me that the teachers are doing their best in many cases in the west of the turnpike schools and that discipline is not much of a problem.

I go much more in depth in other threads, but the point being that the schools in PSL at least the ones I directly investigated, west of the turn pike, may be bad on paper, but are doing blessedly average and in many cases very well for what they are against. Also, if you do not like the results of the public or charter schools there are a list of other options especially if your wife is going to stay home. At the end of the day, we chose a home in west cent. HS area, and will take our options for the other schools as they come.

Now for the "school of choice", from what i've learned/been told, if you use the Great school or state grades to rank which school you want, you will get your last choice unless one of the other rules can be used such as older sibling attending different or its within 2 miles of your home, or you are applying for a charter school and win under its lottery system.
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:14 AM
 
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Thanks for the feedback all, checking through other threads for info on the schools.

Kind of a bummer because there's so much inventory in PSL, and great prices. But maybe that's why the schools in general underperform?
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgasmart View Post
Thanks for the feedback all, checking through other threads for info on the schools.

Kind of a bummer because there's so much inventory in PSL, and great prices. But maybe that's why the schools in general underperform?
Bummer for what reason? Are you looking at west or east of the turnpike? west or east of 95?

in all things measured, there has to be an average, a 4 or 5 or 6 isn't "under performing" its just not over performing. Keep in mind that when I went to look in brevard county, all the 9's and 10's were small exclusive schools and 95% or better white. If your kids are smart enough, and you help/teach them to engage themselves and spur them onto higher education, then the PSL schools west of the turn pike are adequate and getting better. East of the turnpike is kind of a lost cause currently, it went to far down the spiral before the recovery started. HOWEVER, there are county wide magnet programs like embry riddle or the health occupations (nursing) programs that are considered by many to be excellent and those are in fort pierce side of st lucie county, and those are horrible by comparison schools.

The south and especially south florida is nothing near lilly white backgrounds many northenerns and mid westerners are used to, and those demographics that are the root of that PC buzzword diversity, is what causes lower standardized test scores, again not the best metric to test all intelligence levels or backgrounds, and is something you have to acknowledge and find work arounds for if you want to have the affordable housing. I would rather have an average public school and not have to rely on a spouses income to survive/live than to live in a zone that required a two income household and never be able to see my children and also risk loosing everything should that 1 income be lost, especially with the next bubble all ready forming in south Florida.
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Cryinsham30 View Post
Bummer for what reason? Are you looking at west or east of the turnpike? west or east of 95?

in all things measured, there has to be an average, a 4 or 5 or 6 isn't "under performing" its just not over performing. Keep in mind that when I went to look in brevard county, all the 9's and 10's were small exclusive schools and 95% or better white. If your kids are smart enough, and you help/teach them to engage themselves and spur them onto higher education, then the PSL schools west of the turn pike are adequate and getting better. East of the turnpike is kind of a lost cause currently, it went to far down the spiral before the recovery started. HOWEVER, there are county wide magnet programs like embry riddle or the health occupations (nursing) programs that are considered by many to be excellent and those are in fort pierce side of st lucie county, and those are horrible by comparison schools.

The south and especially south florida is nothing near lilly white backgrounds many northenerns and mid westerners are used to, and those demographics that are the root of that PC buzzword diversity, is what causes lower standardized test scores, again not the best metric to test all intelligence levels or backgrounds, and is something you have to acknowledge and find work arounds for if you want to have the affordable housing. I would rather have an average public school and not have to rely on a spouses income to survive/live than to live in a zone that required a two income household and never be able to see my children and also risk loosing everything should that 1 income be lost, especially with the next bubble all ready forming in south Florida.
Good call, thanks. Based on this thread, looking west of the Turnpike
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:31 AM
 
228 posts, read 206,105 times
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Originally Posted by kgasmart View Post
Good call, thanks. Based on this thread, looking west of the Turnpike
Great area's, the one I bought in is more on the very diverse side, and I love it. The HS will be cent. and we won't know the middle/elem. until we get there and fill out our list . We have a junior an 8th going into 9th and a 3 year old so current and future is a concern for us. I went and talked with staff/teachers and even a few students at the various schools, i examined their schedules (Treasure coast is 6 periods a day while cent is 4 on a block schedule, my children are currently on block schedules so its an easier transition).

The only reason why I down the Ft pierce side of the house is that crime/drugs etc. is a problem and that leads to problem sin the schools, even the well meaning teachers lean more towards disciplinarians than teachers most days from what I learned.

IF you look north of gatlin/ between 95 and the turn pike there is a good selection of 3 bedroom homes in the sub 200K market and the area is safe and clean and non HOA. The schools are improving as the area is going through a renaissance of sorts and I just fell in love with it after the first visit, the parks are wonderful both in ST lucie and stuart etc. and easily accessible, the beaches/the ICW/Atlantic etc. all beautiful. Traffic sucks, but the people are all eager to move, so if your an aggressive driver you will be fine.
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Old 11-05-2015, 12:51 PM
 
8 posts, read 9,134 times
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Also, what's the story with the dress code in PSL schools? Is that common in Florida school districts?
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