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Old 10-14-2013, 01:17 AM
Location: MI
1 posts, read 1,580 times
Reputation: 10


After years of talking about it, we are coming back to my birth-state. Not knowing the school zones even if the neighborhood seems great is one of my concerns. For the first year or so we are planning on renting while we look for a house to buy. We are making our move in March of '14. (When our long term lease is up or we would absolutely wait until after this school year.) We will be renting a 3 bedroom in the $700 to $1000 range. We must rent a house because of our dog and son, he is special needs and apartment living does not suit him. He will go to a special needs school so my concern is the public high schools. We have an honor roll AP sophomore, who is college bound. She has went to city schools most of her life, some better some worse. I know there is school of choice but moving mid year takes us out of the running.

I'm assuming Tampa schools are like most anywhere else, stay on target, keep your goals clear - things will be fine. I think I really just need to hear it from someone from the area...if it is true. We live in Lansing MI right now, and her school has been on lock-down four times so far this year (threats/guns), and another local high school had 3 shootings a few weeks ago. I am just wondering if even the worst schools there are having these problems. This seems absurd to me, and is new for our area. Through all the garbage though she still has a 3.8 (yay her-little bragging time sorry) I've read several of the school rating sites and it looks like without naming names there are several worse off schools, and I will assume for the sake of assuming we will end up in their districts.

I am hoping for some honest info, without too much criticism - yes we've been to Tampa, yes we have ideas of where we'd like to live, and yes we will listen to our realtor when the time comes, but I am simply seeking suggestions, thoughts from locals, basic complaints about the local schools, etc. Please keep it friendly.

Living in the city of Tampa is pretty definite (or we would look at outer cities) there are several schools my son could be referred into if living in Tampa because he is low-functioning. He cannot go to an ASD class in a traditional school. Sorry this was long, and I'm not a very good writer.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:29 AM
Location: Terra
2,826 posts, read 3,661,435 times
Reputation: 3358
You won't find a 3BR for that range within city limits in a decent area. You might have to look at more outerlying neighborhoods.
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:53 AM
Location: Toledo, OH
1,725 posts, read 3,259,496 times
Reputation: 1276
Jsun is right about the price range you want to stay in. Rentals at that price in good areas (safe, good schools, etc...) are not available.

Not saying you can't find what you want in the price range you are looking for. You just have to be flexible in regards to where you go to school. AP classes should keep your daughter in the higher caliber of students (less likely to drop out, trouble makers, etc...) but there is no guarantee.

Stay away from the extremely bad schools listed on the greatschools website and you should be fine. Tampa schools have programs for what you will need.

Incidentally, I grew up in Michigan on the Northern Side of the Bridge. In Tampa you can find areas that are very similar to the crime ridden areas of Lansing. But if you branch out 15 minutes, you get schools that are filled with everyday, average kids from hard working families.
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:09 PM
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
4,978 posts, read 5,522,008 times
Reputation: 5746
I would add that you'll have no problem finding AP classes in our high schools, or better yet, ones with International Baccalaureate programs as well.

Stick to the suburbs. You don't want to live in the city of Tampa.

As for your rental range, you won't find anything in that range as you described unless it's in the 'hood or a hovel. Rental prices in this market have skyrocketed since the housing crash, and they don't seem to be coming down.

Also understand that unlike the arrangements where you currently live, with small school districts, Florida has county-wide districts. This means that Hillsborough County School District will be the one, no matter where you go in the County. It's a behemoth of an organization, with over 200,000 students and around 29,000 employees. That can be good and it can be bad. Be prepared to advocate for your special needs child. Your other child should be fine here.

If you have specific questions regarding the schools let me know. I'm an ESE person in the school district.

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Old 10-14-2013, 12:20 PM
13,738 posts, read 16,590,143 times
Reputation: 21347
I have a friend that rents an old house on Davis island for $2000 a month and the house is rough but the schools are great. Cool area but you can't rent a studio for 1000 a month there
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:14 AM
Location: North Pinellas
627 posts, read 1,270,549 times
Reputation: 638
On the Hillsborough Schools website you can look up potential addresses and it will give you the school zone Theres also a map located here that tells you where each school is located so that you can kind of get a general idea of the surrounding areas.

Like others have said, unfortunately you are going to have a rough time finding a 3 bedroom house in a good area in your price range.
As far as I know (though my oldest is only in middle school)...The best high schools in Hillsborough are Plant High and Steinbrenner High...and you probably want to stay away from Blake High.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:08 AM
Location: Jupiter, FL
1,916 posts, read 2,892,646 times
Reputation: 2108
Originally Posted by HeLo's Mom View Post
Living in the city of Tampa is pretty definite (or we would look at outer cities)
You need to clarify this statement.

Do you really mean in the City of Tampa? Tampa has weird municipal boundaries. It excludes some areas just 5 miles from downtown, but it includes some areas that are 20 miles and away and a very long commute.


Do you mean the whole Tampa Bay area, or do you mean Tampa but not St Petersburg?
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:29 PM
Location: Beautiful Pinellas County
1,460 posts, read 2,834,037 times
Reputation: 1096
Last comment should be a sticky. 'Do you mean Tampa or Tampa Bay Area or St. Petersburg?' Pinellas or hillsborough or even Pasco / Polk
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