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Old 06-02-2009, 04:19 PM
 
166 posts, read 326,321 times
Reputation: 141

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I am posting this in the Tucson board because I worry that it will go un-noticed in the general Arizona board.

I am an English teacher, mainly high school but I can teach middle school, too. (I'm also qualified to teach history and social studies, but those are certifications I can obtain later.)

I was laid off from a corporate education position here in Wisconsin in January. I was always a little doubtful about the corporate world (although I'll admit it paid well) and decided to take this opportunity to go back to the classroom. My educational background is good -- a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Yale, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Boston University.

Public schools here in the upper Midwest are laying off rather than hiring; quite apart from the state of the economy, school-age populations simply aren't growing. So I decided to concentrate my search on the sun-belt. I obtained my secondary and middle school English certifications in the states of Florida, Texas, and North Carolina, and now should have easy reciprocity with any other state, including Arizona.

I am being considered for a middle school language arts position in Nogales; I haven't gotten the offer yet, but my references are being checked and I think they are getting close. So, having never been to Arizona (although I've lived and traveled extensively throughout the U.S.), I have some questions:

(1) How is Nogales as a place to live? As a border town, is it dangerous?

(2) Is living in Tucson and commuting to Nogales worth considering? I don't mind the driving particularly, although the cost of gas is going ominously higher again...

(3) I am a single male, 50 years old, unmarried and childless (quite happily). My only dependent is a really nice Birman cat; I am never without a pet or two (and have had every kind of pet). I rent rather than own; I have a nice but not fancy paid-off car. I live simply except for a couple of extravagances (clothing and books). My credit history is somewhat checkered, but I have been eliminating debt, and within a year I will carry no debt at all except the student loan from my master's degree program.

What I would be looking for is a two-bedroom pet-friendly apartment; the second bedroom functions as a library (although believe me, there are books in every room). My other requirements are pretty modest: dishwasher, built-in microwave, garage, plenty of closet space. I prefer carpeting to hardwood floors. My current apartment matches this description exactly, and is 750 square feet; I pay $545.00/month altogether, including water, garage fee, and pet fee, but not including other utilities. I know that's a good rate; Wisconsin is pretty cheap. How do costs compare in Nogales and Tucson? I've looked at Rent.com and MyNewPlace.com, but would appreciate actual "on the ground" testimony.

(4) The Nogales school district doesn't pay very well; my understanding is that most Arizona districts don't. I'm not claiming any years of experience; the starting rate for a teacher with a master's degree on the 2008-2009 salary schedule is only $32,000 (and it takes 13 years to reach the $40,000 level). School districts I'm looking at in other states start in the mid-40s, but the cost of living in most of those places is higher, too. Is it possible to live in southern Arizona on a salary in the low30s? It gives me pause to think of it; I'm hardly extravagant, but I do like to be able to breathe.

(5) If I came to teach in Nogales, it might be with an eye toward putting in a year or two and then trying to land a job in Tucson, which pays a bit better and might present more opportunities. Thoughts?
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Tucson
42,835 posts, read 83,428,584 times
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Living in Nogales is not for everybody… Basically living in Nogales, AZ is not too different than living in Nogales, Mexico. The place is heavily influenced by the Mexican culture and ways of doing things, which may or may not be to your liking. I would think it should be possible to find an apartment there in this price range.

There are many other options as far as places to live, but they would require renting a house or at least a townhome and the rent will be way beyond what you have in mind. You could live in Green Valley, Rio Rico, Patagonia, Sonoita. You can even live in Tucson’s outskirts – either in Sahuarita near I-19 or in SE Tucson or Vail near I-10. There’s a back road that shoots right down to Nogales a few exits East on I-10. I live in SE Tucson and it takes me about 1 h 15 minutes to get to Nogales this way. It'd take probably under an hour from Sahuarita. I really don’t know if there are any apartment complexes in Green Valley, Rio Rico, Patagonia, and Sonoita. Oh, Tubac is also a nice place to live for you, but it’s expensive and I’m not sure they have apartments, either. They might.

As far as the school system and salaries, I can’t be of any help.
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Tucson
15 posts, read 36,070 times
Reputation: 21
We pay 800 for a 3 bedroom with 2 car garage. Tucson's apartment prices are nominal to above average for the rest of the country. Although, we did pay 490 for a two bedroom pet friendly apartment by Davis Monthan for a while. At least in Tucson, you kind of get what you pay for. If you want great outdoors, there's apartments with Tennis courts and volleyball, pools, etc. That would cost more than just a parking lot with a one or two bedroom.

Jennifer Townsend
Black Cab of Tucson, LLC

Last edited by blackcaboftucson; 06-02-2009 at 05:23 PM.. Reason: ugly
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:39 PM
 
385 posts, read 1,177,383 times
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I've worked as a Substitute in NUSD. The middle schools are horrible. Wade Carpenter and Mountain View. SCVUSD is better, but you will still be an outsider and turnover is high. Otherwise, if you're really up for an adventure....the weather is nice down there, traffic is nothing (unless you're crossing), crime is low--but have a look at Patagonia. Probably tough to get hired there and Little Red District, but you could commute to NUSD no problem. I bought a house in Rio Rico in 2001 for 47,500. Best views that I have ever had, and didn't need a/c. Even as a gringo, I made some great friends down there, but NUSD? Probably not--but TUSD definitely not. PS. I've also witnessed an Ivy Leaguer getting eaten alive at Mountainveiw. BEWARE.

Remember what I said, when you are standing there, watching them disrespect the Flag and America, most are on free lunch, most have cell phones, many live illegally across the border. Blatant disregard for the rules is a way of life for them.

Last edited by horseplayer; 06-02-2009 at 05:47 PM..
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:57 PM
 
166 posts, read 326,321 times
Reputation: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by horseplayer View Post
I've worked as a Substitute in NUSD. The middle schools are horrible. Wade Carpenter and Mountain View. SCVUSD is better, but you will still be an outsider and turnover is high. Otherwise, if you're really up for an adventure....the weather is nice down there, traffic is nothing (unless you're crossing), crime is low--but have a look at Patagonia. Probably tough to get hired there and Little Red District, but you could commute to NUSD no problem. I bought a house in Rio Rico in 2001 for 47,500. Best views that I have ever had, and didn't need a/c. Even as a gringo, I made some great friends down there, but NUSD? Probably not--but TUSD definitely not. PS. I've also witnessed an Ivy Leaguer getting eaten alive at Mountainveiw. BEWARE.

Remember what I said, when you are standing there, watching them disrespect the Flag and America, most are on free lunch, most have cell phones, many live illegally across the border. Blatant disregard for the rules is a way of life for them.
What you say may sound harsh, but I've got to say it is also very helpful, in part because it is very specific. My phone contacts with the middle school in question have not been encouraging -- they just don't sound too on top of things. Teaching middle school is challenging under the best circumstances; teaching in a horrible middle school is unspeakable. And I would be culturally pretty alien -- not just an Ivy Leaguer, but a preppy, Brooks Brothers sort of Ivy Leaguer. I don't know...
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Tucson
42,835 posts, read 83,428,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Murtha View Post
but a preppy, Brooks Brothers sort of Ivy Leaguer. I don't know...
In this case you'd be out of place pretty much anywhere in AZ! We're casual here. Not to worry, though - once the heat gets to you, you'll become casual, too!
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:55 PM
 
1,774 posts, read 899,388 times
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Default I'd say "No!"

Hello - I'm about your age and am a native midwesterner, Illinois and Wisconsin. My husband graduated from UW "Point". We have lived in Phoenix for about 23 years; I am a U of Arizona alumni so I have lived in Tucson as well. We have a daughter, also a U of A alumni, living in Tucson and enjoying it, but not planning to stay forever as she wants to experience the four seasons. I would suggest going into another line of work before I would ever live in Nogales. It is a fine community if you are of Hispanic heritage and speak Spanish fluently. It has beautiful scenery and the temperatures are not quite as hot as Tucson [but still HOT]. Because of the poverty there may be some issues with water quality; I know there are problems with untreated sewage coming into the U.S. from Mexico during monsoon thunderstorms. The U.S. is addressing this issue with U.S. funding. My advice - stay put. Good luck!
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,527 posts, read 28,987,881 times
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Personally, Patrick . . . I would have problems recommending Nogales for teaching and/or living to anyone.

MY TWO CENTS WORTH.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:09 AM
 
385 posts, read 1,177,383 times
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Look at Alhambra ESD in W. Phoenix. Being a Sub there was 50 times better. You could get a house nearby real cheap (in between I-17 and Maryvale), and BA starts over 40K. Dr. James Rice is a great boss.

A few highlights from NUSD. In 2002, An Assistant Princiapal at the HS had a relationship with a 17 yo male student that resulted in the SD paying a good size cash settlement to the 17 yo. He was moved to the front office. In 2006,
The Superintendent of Santa Cruz County Schools pled guilty to a felony for embezzlement.

These two cases would truly be just the tip of the piñata.

Last edited by horseplayer; 06-03-2009 at 06:23 AM..
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Arizona
4 posts, read 11,494 times
Reputation: 11
Well I live in Tucson, and my rent is 600/ month plus water and utilities. for a 2 bed 1 bath. it's nothing special but it's got 4 brick walls and it's a duplex(other side is already rented out) though. i could get in touch with my landlord i'm sure he'd like to have another renter. i could give him your name and if you'd like you could use me as a reference. though i got in here and my credit is as bad as it can get.

p.s. sorry about my typing, grammor, punctuation and spelling.
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