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Old 01-18-2019, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Sarasota-Manatee, Florida
407 posts, read 728,141 times
Reputation: 181

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Hello, My fiancee and I have seriously been looking at moving to Virginia to settle down and to start our family.We have taught in FL for a few years now but would like to move soon so we could have a solid 25-30 years teaching in the Virginia education system. We both are school teachers in Florida (Tampa Bay Metro area). My fiancee teaches science and I teach special education and social studies. We have spent much time driving around New Kent county, Hanover county, and the James City-Williamsburg area and absolutely love the landscape and the terrain. In addition we have looked around the suburbs of Richmond (Montpelier, Glen Allen, Mechanicsville) and up in Northern Virginia, particularly Loudoun County along the VA-MD border. Now yes, we are aware that these three areas I listed are very different from one another. What is most important to us is the school system. We both want to continue teaching in Virginia's public schools when we relocate. But I do have a few questions that I cannot seem to find the answer to and am hoping someone who teaches in VA or has family or friends in education can assist us.

1. Our largest concern are the health benefits and premiums for families. How much is typical for the employee to cover of the premiums for a family with children? How would health insurance work if both the mother and father are teachers in the schools? Would we solely be responsible for our children's monthly health premiums? In FL our health premiums with two children are approx $800 a month (which is on the employee).

2. Retirement benefits: Upon retirement from teaching in VA, would the retired teacher be responsible for 100% of health premiums? I know in some states (usually the northeast school districts continue to pay a large percentage of the health premium).

3. Pension system for school employees- I am assuming this is through the state rather than the school district. Is there an investing opportunity where the school district matches what the employee invests?

Thank you for taking the time to read and provide input.
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Old 01-19-2019, 07:40 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 2,881,843 times
Reputation: 2075
I am retired from Fairfax County Public Schools so can only talk specifically from there. All school employees are covered for retirement under the Virginia Retirement System, VRS. https://www.varetire.org Fairfax has its own supplemental retirement as well so I get both. That program has changed over the years so you would need to look at it closer. Here is a link to benefits, salary, etc for Fairfax, https://www.fcps.edu/index.php/caree...y-and-benefits

Health insurance will be depended on the system you are in. In Fairfax, there was a category for both spouses working for the schools under the options for family plans. Fairfax also had a choice of three health plans. When it comes to retirement, however, there is a little, but minimal subsidy. The state has a formula for giving you some money monthly towards your medical but even after 27 years for me, it only a little over a $100/month. Fairfax also has a minimum subsidy too but until I hit Medicare, the majority, 80%, of my county pension went to cover my medical insurance. Of course, all of this can change over the years too.

Explore closely the websites of the school districts you are looking at, especially their pay scales for longevity since you are looking at staying in one place. The cost of living of course is much higher in No. Va but so are the pay scales and I’m guessing benefits. Loudoun County is growing and surpassing Fairfax in quality and salaries and is cheaper to live out there.

Best of luck!
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Old 01-19-2019, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Williamsburg, VA
3,551 posts, read 2,165,035 times
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I'm not a teacher, and therefore not an expert on the school systems. Having said that, I'd guess you'd have the best luck and best options for a growing career in fast growing areas like Loudoun. Maybe some of the counties around Richmond. I also have friends who like teaching in New Kent.

Some teachers I know in the Richmond area work through an online school. I don't know much about it, but I'd guess it's for home school students. They seem to love this way of teaching, so it might be something to look into.
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Old 01-19-2019, 08:04 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 2,881,843 times
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A good friend of mine is a retired teacher from Hanover County and really liked it. Their website is Home - Hanover County Public Schools. I looked it over and it was hard to get details like you want but if you go to job opportunities under the staff link then click on a job, one tab is benefits which gives an overview. I would think concentrating on the larger suburban school systems around the state would be the best bet as their salaries would be more competitive and most likely more professional growth opportunities there as well.
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Old 01-19-2019, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,553 posts, read 13,551,871 times
Reputation: 4179
Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzmanLI View Post
Hello, My fiancee and I have seriously been looking at moving to Virginia to settle down and to start our family.We have taught in FL for a few years now but would like to move soon so we could have a solid 25-30 years teaching in the Virginia education system. We both are school teachers in Florida (Tampa Bay Metro area). My fiancee teaches science and I teach special education and social studies. We have spent much time driving around New Kent county, Hanover county, and the James City-Williamsburg area and absolutely love the landscape and the terrain. In addition we have looked around the suburbs of Richmond (Montpelier, Glen Allen, Mechanicsville) and up in Northern Virginia, particularly Loudoun County along the VA-MD border. Now yes, we are aware that these three areas I listed are very different from one another. What is most important to us is the school system. We both want to continue teaching in Virginia's public schools when we relocate. But I do have a few questions that I cannot seem to find the answer to and am hoping someone who teaches in VA or has family or friends in education can assist us.

1. Our largest concern are the health benefits and premiums for families. How much is typical for the employee to cover of the premiums for a family with children? How would health insurance work if both the mother and father are teachers in the schools? Would we solely be responsible for our children's monthly health premiums? In FL our health premiums with two children are approx $800 a month (which is on the employee).

2. Retirement benefits: Upon retirement from teaching in VA, would the retired teacher be responsible for 100% of health premiums? I know in some states (usually the northeast school districts continue to pay a large percentage of the health premium).

3. Pension system for school employees- I am assuming this is through the state rather than the school district. Is there an investing opportunity where the school district matches what the employee invests?

Thank you for taking the time to read and provide input.
I have 26 years with Fairfax County and we are a two-teacher household. I'll add just a bit to the very good info choff5 posted. Much of the local info will vary by school district.

We pay $385/month for family healthcare through Kaiser Permanente. (We get the two-employee reduction from $481/month.) If I retired today that would cost me $1,506/month but in reality it would be just two of us under the plan when I do retire, so $1,185/mo for the two. Pretty much every system has their benefits info posted online. Loudoun health plan rates are here: https://www.lcps.org/cms/lib/VA01000...20Biweekly.pdf
Looks like I'd pay less as a retiree with my years of service in Loudoun. Their retiree rates are here: https://www.lcps.org/cms/lib/VA01000...Pre%20July.pdf

The state pension system (VRS) provides ~50% of a highest average over a number of years (for me it is the highest 3 year avg.). You would come in under the state's hybrid plan. Fairfax County has the supplemental plan that provides another ~25%, which is a great benefit but that is not common. Some districts such as Prince William do annuity matching. PWCS currently matches up to the first two (2) percent of salary contributed to the 403(b). https://www.pwcs.edu/departments/dep...tirement_plans Some have no additional supplement, so you will need to compare across districts.

Pay scales seem to be on all the district's sites. It sounds like you would be below most districts' maximum entry step.

This may be helpful when looking at Loudoun info compared to other NoVA districts: https://www.fcps.edu/sites/default/f...WABE-Guide.pdf
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Sarasota-Manatee, Florida
407 posts, read 728,141 times
Reputation: 181
Thank you to everyone who took time to post! It is really appreciated. This provided me a good overview how benefits differ throughout the state. I think the next step is to post on individual county/city forums. The chances of us moving somewhere between Richmond and Williamsburg is much higher than relocating to Northern Virginia.
I do see a huge salary difference between Northern Virginia's school districts compared to school districts in and around Richmond and Williamsburg. At first glance it would appear that teachers are netting far more in NoVa, but going to assume this isn't true because the property taxes and real estate is much more in NoVa. Am I correct? As in most places, salary is relevant to an areas cost of living.
My last question here is to find out what is consistent (benefits wise) between all school districts in Virginia. It appears all schools allow you to enroll in the Virginia Retirement System. Is there anything additional I am missing?
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,553 posts, read 13,551,871 times
Reputation: 4179
Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzmanLI View Post
Thank you to everyone who took time to post! It is really appreciated. This provided me a good overview how benefits differ throughout the state. I think the next step is to post on individual county/city forums. The chances of us moving somewhere between Richmond and Williamsburg is much higher than relocating to Northern Virginia.
I do see a huge salary difference between Northern Virginia's school districts compared to school districts in and around Richmond and Williamsburg. At first glance it would appear that teachers are netting far more in NoVa, but going to assume this isn't true because the property taxes and real estate is much more in NoVa. Am I correct? As in most places, salary is relevant to an areas cost of living.
My last question here is to find out what is consistent (benefits wise) between all school districts in Virginia. It appears all schools allow you to enroll in the Virginia Retirement System. Is there anything additional I am missing?
Just to clarify, they don't just allow you to enroll in VRS. Participation is required.
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Williamsburg, VA
3,551 posts, read 2,165,035 times
Reputation: 10373
Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzmanLI View Post
.
I do see a huge salary difference between Northern Virginia's school districts compared to school districts in and around Richmond and Williamsburg. At first glance it would appear that teachers are netting far more in NoVa, but going to assume this isn't true because the property taxes and real estate is much more in NoVa. Am I correct?

That sounds about right.

Great idea to post in the city forums, especially for Richmon and Northern VA. If you have questions about Williamsburg, you're most likely to get help on this forum. You can also try the Hampton Roads forum, but most of the Williamsburg folk seem to hang out over here, instead.


Even though you haven't quite moved here yet, may I be the first to say Welcome to Virginia!
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:52 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 2,881,843 times
Reputation: 2075
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
Just to clarify, they don't just allow you to enroll in VRS. Participation is required.
Good catch. I would recommend the OP read through the VRS website. I just looked at it again, first time in ages, and realized they would come under what is now called the hybrid Retirement Plan. There’s a lot of info there accessible to anyone under the member link. Also available through VRS is life insurance, long term care, etc. I believe this would be the only source that is available wherever you work in Virginia. Again, best of luck!
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,553 posts, read 13,551,871 times
Reputation: 4179
Quote:
Originally Posted by choff5 View Post
Good catch. I would recommend the OP read through the VRS website. I just looked at it again, first time in ages, and realized they would come under what is now called the hybrid Retirement Plan. There’s a lot of info there accessible to anyone under the member link. Also available through VRS is life insurance, long term care, etc. I believe this would be the only source that is available wherever you work in Virginia. Again, best of luck!
That is correct. I also mentioned the Hybrid Plan in my post above. I’d have to look back to see when it changed, but that’s the one for new hires.
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