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Old 03-07-2014, 09:41 PM
 
56 posts, read 85,951 times
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I live in Minnesota with my husband and 5 kids (Twin Cities). We moved here almost 6 years ago from Davis, California and I grew up near San Francisco. I love many things about where we live, but I have never been a fan of the long and cold winters. Several of my kids have special needs and I think the weather makes it much harder on them as well. I have been pouring over these forums but I still have some questions before I come out and visit.

1. It seems that the schools in Wake County have gone through a lot of changes over the past 5 years stemming from huge growth. Have things settled down? I will have kids in several different schools (my kids are 12, 10, 6, 3, and 19 months) so I really would like a traditional school schedule. I have been looking for a list of which schools are on which schedule without luck. Anyone have a link? Also, several of my kids have IEP's and require extra services. How are the special Ed. Programs? One of my kids is gifted and has extreme depression and can not read social cues (not autistic, but has some traits). Another has dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and extreme anxiety. They are great kids, they just need a little more help then most kids. We currently live in a fantastic school system which is rated 70/70 on this website:
Interactive Map: The Best and Worst School Districts in America - The Atlantic

I would hate to yank my kids from their schools only to have them sink and struggle because their new schools did not have reasonable accommodations. They both have IEP's but some schools are better at others at implementing the accommodations.

2. I have been focusing my research on the Apex and Cary areas. My husband is a tech. Guy so he would likely find work in the Triangle area (we would not move until he found a job). I am looking for a family friendly area with kid activities, parks, nature trails, and safe neighborhoods. I LOVE to walk and would like to be where I can walk to a neighborhood store (I have always lived 1mile to the front door of a grocery store). I miss living near a down town area. I love town festivals and the like. I live somewhere now where my kids can walk or bike to the park, community center, skate park, and small shopping center. I love sending them out all summer to go play. I would stay here forever if summer was longer then a few short weeks. For me, the schools are my number one priority. Would I be looking somewhere else as well or do I have the best areas picked out?

3. Are there a lot of public lake beaches and picnic areas? If so, are they super crowded?

4. I am planning on making a trip in May to see the area. We fell in love with the Richmond, VA area while visiting last summer. There are not a lot of tech. Jobs there however, so I am researching other places. We are also looking at Austin, TX, but so far this looks like the better fit for us. I will only be able to come for a few days so I need to plan my time well. I will have my 19 month old with me and maybe a friend. What should we be sure to see? Does anyone have a good real estate agent to suggest why wouldn't mind showing me around?

A few more details - we would probably relocate during the summer of 2015. That gives my husband a lot of time to job hunt and gives my kids a little more time to settle. It has been a hard few years and they need some uneventful time. That said, however, if my husband got a great job sooner, we would seriously think about leaving sooner. Our house price, since that is tied to any area, depends on what we do with out home here. I have not run the numbers, but if we sell our house we could go up to 550K easily enough depending on my husbands new salary. If we rented our house here, we would want to stay closer to $400k. Those are very conservative numbers. We need a larger house because there are 7 of us. We have dealt with 3 fix-uppers so I suppose we could do that again.

Also, no need to tell me about the hot and humid summers or the bugs and critters.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:43 PM
 
Location: My House
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You're from Davis and there are plenty of jobs in NorCal. Why would you choose here?
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
449 posts, read 637,616 times
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Originally Posted by meh_whatever View Post
You're from Davis and there are plenty of jobs in NorCal. Why would you choose here?
On her stated budget they'd be able to get a two bedroom condo in a sketchy area... I'm guessing that's one reason.
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:04 AM
 
360 posts, read 636,410 times
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To answer a couple of your questions...

#1. No and they are unlikely to settle down anytime soon. Schools continue to be built like mad to try and keep pace with growth.

#3. Public lake beaches are practically non-existent, as are lakes for that matter. Most "lakes" here are man made and run by the Army Corps of Engineers as reservoirs.
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:17 AM
 
Location: My House
34,799 posts, read 31,674,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weblackey View Post
On her stated budget they'd be able to get a two bedroom condo in a sketchy area... I'm guessing that's one reason.
If I was from Davis, I'd rather move there. Pay is higher. Budget should be higher for house, no?

ETA: I realize it'll still mean a smaller home out there, but cheap housing is hardly a good reason to move to a place you know almost zero about.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:05 AM
 
44,989 posts, read 18,644,575 times
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If I had five kids, several on IEPs, and I could afford a $400+K home, I'd be looking at Chapel Hill.

Talked to an OT a few months ago who said when she worked in Raleigh, she had so many on her caseload that all she had time for was assessments for IEPs and consulting with teachers and aides, very little time for one-on-one work with individual students. In Chapel Hill, she had a manageable caseload of students that she worked with on a weekly basis in addition to assessments for IEPs and consulting with teachers.

Second on my list would be Cary. Still Wake county school system, and no sure of the quality of SpEd services, but many move to Cary because of the schools. You'll get a little more house for your money, but lots of parks and parks and rec programs. Cary works hard to be supportive of quality of life issues.

Cary would be a longer commute to RTP than Chapel Hill, but many do it.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
37,002 posts, read 64,326,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotHereQuickAsICould View Post
If I had five kids, several on IEPs, and I could afford a $400+K home, I'd be looking at Chapel Hill.

Talked to an OT a few months ago who said when she worked in Raleigh, she had so many on her caseload that all she had time for was assessments for IEPs and consulting with teachers and aides, very little time for one-on-one work with individual students. In Chapel Hill, she had a manageable caseload of students that she worked with on a weekly basis in addition to assessments for IEPs and consulting with teachers.

Second on my list would be Cary. Still Wake county school system, and no sure of the quality of SpEd services, but many move to Cary because of the schools. You'll get a little more house for your money, but lots of parks and parks and rec programs. Cary works hard to be supportive of quality of life issues.

Cary would be a longer commute to RTP than Chapel Hill, but many do it.
Much of Cary is very close to RTP, much closer than Chapel Hill.
North and West Cary in particular.

But, it seems appropriate that the schools are/should be the over-riding consideration.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:33 AM
 
Location: My House
34,799 posts, read 31,674,318 times
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Originally Posted by MikeJaquish View Post
Much of Cary is very close to RTP, much closer than Chapel Hill.
North and West Cary in particular.

But, it seems appropriate that the schools are/should be the over-riding consideration.
Agreed. I can get to work in 15 minutes and I live in Cary. I'm pretty sure I couldn't get to work in 15 minutes from anywhere I'd want to live in CH. I've driven to CH for shopping and such at lunchtime from RTP. 15 minutes is more like Southpoint area of Durham.

I would look at CH if I was the OP, based on schools alone.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:51 AM
 
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We've been living in North Raleigh (Wake County Public Schools) for seven years and our assigned schools have been the same straight through. Yes, there's been a fair amount of shuffling elsewhere but depending on where you move that's likely to not be a concern. And while we don't have children with special needs or IEP's, several of our friends do and they've been pleased with the level of services being received (even one very picky/high maintenance sort of clan).

As for the outdoor activities, we have that in abundance and all over the place. There are plenty of places that offer lake access (don't know that they're truly beaches, but people setup blankets/towels and spend the day swimming and sunning), picnic areas, hiking trails galore and all manner of nature-related activities. Plus you're an easy three hour drive from real beaches and roughly a little longer to great mountain options for even more outdoor activities.

Considering your budget and the things you're interested in location-wise I would think Chapel Hill would be a better place for you to start looking. It's incredibly family friendly, their public schools as a rule are considered the best in the Triangle area and there's much of what you're looking for.

As an aside (and only because I've had the misfortune of reading some of the earlier comments), cast aside the negative replies and focus on only those that offer constructive answers to your questions. Most of us who have relocated in the past and those that work with the incoming ones are eager to provide relevant content and will keep answering whatever questions you may have. And along those lines, depending on where you live and work, Cary is a much easier and shorter ride to RTP than Chapel Hill. I work in RTP and a number of my colleagues live in both places and we've discussed this very issue a few times. But shorter is relative; twenty minutes is much shorter than thirty minutes statistically, but both are still easily manageable.

Good luck (and great post, very specific which makes it easier for us to answer).
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:53 AM
 
44,989 posts, read 18,644,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meh_whatever View Post
Agreed. I can get to work in 15 minutes and I live in Cary. I'm pretty sure I couldn't get to work in 15 minutes from anywhere I'd want to live in CH. I've driven to CH for shopping and such at lunchtime from RTP. 15 minutes is more like Southpoint area of Durham.

I would look at CH if I was the OP, based on schools alone.
Hadn't realized Chapel Hill was so far from RTP. Good to know.

But I agree on the schools. If housing cost/property taxes were not a factor, I suspect most folks would prefer to have their kids in Chapel Hills schools.
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