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allysage
(@allysage)
New Member

My family and I are considering moving to VI St. Croix in the next few years. We are just looking into it in advance. We have seen lots of useful information on here already but very little about people moving there with children. We have a 3 year and a 14 year old. The earliest we would be moving is 2016. So my daughter would be in high school and son would be starting kindergarten. We have seen warnings about drug use and crime. I am assuming that these are problems in concentrated areas like everywhere else but still would like to hear feedback about it. We have lived overseas before and understand issues with settling in outside the continental US. Just have some concerns for our children's learning experience due to posted statistics about low graduation rates. I am not one to just go off of Wiki results we will making a trip down there to see everything for ourselves. But I am trying to get as educated as possible to see if this is even a good idea. We will be retired from our first career and looking for work as supplemental income. So we are in our mid 30s and very adaptable 🙂 Any and all input is welcomed and requested! Thanks!

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Topic starter Posted : January 29, 2014 6:32 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

i hope others with educational experience can give you more info. most people who can afford, send their kids to private school. cost is more than 10,000 per year.

drugs are everywhere here and the states

would you have jobs lined up? do you have special medical needs?

that would be a tough age to bring your older child

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Posted : January 29, 2014 6:37 pm
CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
Expert

Can you afford $12,000 a year for high school? maybe $20,000 for both kids.

You do NOT want them in the public schools here.

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Posted : January 29, 2014 6:37 pm
CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
Expert

Speee1dy beat me to it.....glad to see that we agree on the cost.

Also, health insurance is very costly here.

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Posted : January 29, 2014 6:39 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

but remember-no individual insurance. i hope you already have some you can bring with you.

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Posted : January 29, 2014 6:41 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

My 14 yo was considering moving to St. Croix with us and attending Good Hope Country Day school this school year - tuition for her would have been $14,000. She ultimately decided against it because she wanted to have a "stateside" high school experience - it is different for high school kids on St. Croix for sure.

Good point by speee1dy on health insurance too. No individual insurance available if you are not on an employer's group plan.

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Posted : January 29, 2014 7:19 pm
allysage
(@allysage)
New Member

Wow such a negative response is unexpected but thank you it is appreciated. We will be retired military so our insurance is covered but we surly don't not make enough with our dual retirements to cover those kind of school costs.

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Topic starter Posted : January 29, 2014 8:20 pm
CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
Expert

Well, we are not tying to be negative as much as realistic.
I see too many people come here unprepared for the
realities of life that we face here.

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Posted : January 29, 2014 8:26 pm
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

Private school costs vary depending on school starting at $4k and going up to $15k.
Free Will Baptist and St. Marys, both have good reputaions, and are more affordable.
A to Z and Good Hope Country Day are pricier but offer merit scholarships and financial aid.
Also, Montesori schools on island going up to 6th grade, not sure of the costs.

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Posted : January 29, 2014 8:30 pm
allysage
(@allysage)
New Member

Thanks 🙂 It sounds like an idea we should put off until the little one moves on to college or military. We will be just fine there but it sounds as though having younger children there may not be the best plan for us. Saddens me but such is life 🙂

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Topic starter Posted : January 29, 2014 9:39 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

It certainly seems a shame to deprive the children of a chance to experience growing up in the Islands -- the schools do offer financial aid if you have the need - and we have people of all different means with children in the private schools.
Also the high school graduates here are actively recruited to stateside colleges for their cultural and geographic diversity - and a lot of our local EDC Companies offer serious financial aid for college.

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Posted : January 30, 2014 3:57 am
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

I have heard the same about college bound students. What you put in for tuition , you get a return when time to go to college. Less student population ratio competeing for scholarships and more available so hopefully it makes up for the difference. That is my hope anyway.
I have also heard , there is a liklier chance of getting into the school of their choice for the same reason.

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Posted : January 30, 2014 6:05 pm
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

Those folks that talk crap about our public schools ask them their experience with it and have they done anything to remedy the garbage that they hear or do they just sit back and talk crap about the island.

Moved here in 2008, my kids have been in public school since...my daughter is now a senior...presently taking 4 AP classes and has already been accepted to some good schools for engineering....never had a problem....my blond haired son is doing GREAT as well.....

a fool and his money are soon parted.............

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Posted : January 30, 2014 10:29 pm
Cruz
 Cruz
(@Cruz)
Advanced Member

Can you afford $12,000 a year for high school? maybe $20,000 for both kids.

You do NOT want them in the public schools here.

FYI....the public schools produce TOP students EVERY YEAR!

And they can compete with any of the private schools on any level. Check the links below. SIX YEARS in a row, one public school has been winning the science bowl.

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/complex-retains-v-i-science-bowl-championship-1.1284963

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2012/03/11/complex-rolls-science-bowl-victory-again

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Posted : January 30, 2014 11:56 pm
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

My kids did attend public schools. It did not work out for us for various reasons.
I work in the public school system and I have to say I have seen major improvements in the past couple of years. There are some very dedicated and hard working staff involved and many changes for the better taking place.
There was some talk of a charter school opening, not sure what happened with that.

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Posted : January 31, 2014 12:03 am
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

The charter school bill has not been passed yet, it comes back up next month.

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Posted : January 31, 2014 12:18 am
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

Here is another link from one of our junior high schools

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2010/05/24/elena-christian-rocketry-club-soars-new-heights-nations-capital

And they are still qualifying and going back to VA.

The public schools may have it's problems but there are alot of hard working people in those schools and its an insult to them when hearsay is passed on..academically the schools are on par with the stateside schools...proven by the ITBS scores

Yea some of them are run down, but it all comes down to parenting...stay involved....of course if you have the means to buy a BMW you will buy one but why go out of your way when a camry is just fine....

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Posted : January 31, 2014 12:33 am
jj00802
(@jj00802)
Advanced Member

I think it is personal experiences with the school system and the ability of the students to adjust. I have volunteered with high school students and found exceptional students in both private and public schools. It seems that both public and private schools have a lot of after-school activities to take advantage of (not just sports). I have also met several people who have their high school students enrolled in ONLINE education programs, but that limits the students in developing friendships on a daily basis in local classrooms.

The education and social activities of your children will be a major decision related to your decision to move to the islands. However, you have many other issues to consider such as distance to other relatives, cost of living, etc. Even you come to the islands for a year or two, your family will always have the experience of living in the islands. Who knows, you may stay forever!

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Posted : January 31, 2014 6:10 am
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

Yes, I should add, living on the island has been an amazing experience for myself and my the kids. My kids have had opportunities and learning experiences outside of school they never would have had otherwise.
I originally came to the island on a 6 month assignment and I am now headed into year three.

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Posted : January 31, 2014 12:03 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

i think it is great that within the dejong administration-some high schools finally became accredited

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Posted : January 31, 2014 12:27 pm
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

disregard

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Posted : January 31, 2014 1:49 pm
edc1951
(@edc1951)
New Member

Hello allysage. I read this thread with interest and sadness at what looks like your decision to put off your move. Please reconsider. I was born and raised on STX and left at age 18 in 1969. I returned several times over the years but moved back in 91 only to leave again 3 years later to marry an old boyfriend whose job did not permit him to transfer there. This year our son will graduate from high school and as soon as we sell our house we are moving home. We would have moved two years ago but our son asked to stay where we were and because there were going to be work considerations as well, we agreed.

Although I have not lived there for some years I am in constant contact with many friends there and we have long discussions about it. Would there be frustrations? Heck yeah...and don't you have them up here? When I moved back in 91 I knew I was going to get frustrated by many of the things I had become accustomed to up here so I made a list of things that got my dander up and sure enough I looked at that list from time to time and decided that on balance I was MUCH happier on STX. Throughout my life I have watched my home change drastically. In the first 2 decades of my life our population grew a whopping 300% going from 10,000 to 45,000. Then in 1993 there were only 10,000 more people so those decades while they brought many improvements created changes whose effects are still seen today-some are good, some are not but once again, on balance, they are worth it.

Had we been able to I would have JUMPED at the chance to raise our child there. I have friends from there who are here and friends from here who moved there years ago and both groups agree that they would prefer STX for raising their child. As for your 14 year old-all I can say is that in 1964 Hess Oil built a refinery on the island and within the next several years hundreds of teenagers moved to the island with their families. Many of them were there for only a year or so but quite a number had fathers who were long term employees. I cannot count the number of them who either still live on STX or who still consider it home and go back to visit as often as possible-and these are people who had lived in numerous other countries as their dads traveled from refinery to refinery. One guy who moved there wrote an extremely moving tribute to STX for our 30th reunion for school. I wish I could find it but the gist was that while he and his brother had to look up STX in the atlas and swore they would not move to that speck on the map they both ended up loving it and considering it the best pace of their lives. Are kids subject to some of the same dangers as up here? Yes, but they have a myriad of opportunities and activities open to them that they cannot find here-and for sure not for free.

Is school expensive? Yes, but once again, whether your child attends public or private is a choice you make. There is not just ONE private school on island and there is a group that home schools their children as well so there are options and, as someone else noted opportunities for financial assistance.

Yes, there is crime but there are several factors that don't seem to be taken into account-gang and drug violence-just as in the states is pretty much limited to the areas where you would not choose to live. Yes, there is random violence. I don't know about you but each day when my son goes to school he goes with the awareness that one of his schoolmates may have decided to shoot up the school. He goes from a house for which neither he nor I carry a key to a place where he has to show and ID and go through security-for 1400 students. In STX the big fight at a private school right now (a merger of the two largest) is over getting rid of the intra school games day colors.

As for living there, in my life the people who love the island are the ones who (1) accepted that things will be different and don't try to change or make lists of "what is wrong" (2) chose to learn the island's ways and history and live within it rather than as they did in the states-this means buying local and learning about island cuisine so you don't spend a fortune at the supermarket trying to replicate your stateside meals and (3) understand that even though you will be surprised sometimes by what seems like indifference or rudeness the people of STX (Crucians) are the nicest people you will ever meet. Greet everyone with a Good Morning-including when you enter a store and people will be shocked-and appreciate it

Ultimately you all have to be comfortable with your choice but I cannot imagine a better childhood-then or now-and I have lived in a number of countries and states. Good luck with whatever you choose but if you are not happy where you are it's a great place to live.

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Posted : February 3, 2014 1:45 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

no one is saying that children can not or should not be raised on stx, just that the schooling situation has not been the best. i remember reading the headline in the paper when some on the schools became accredited. how did they loose their accreditation? how poor must their scores have been for that to happen

there is a lot to do here as far as outdoor activities. you mention the "free cost" swimming is free. what other activities are free?

crime is everywhere, it seems so much more magnified here because we are a small community that is isolated. crime can and has found people at home. been debated for years on this forum. most people on this forum have had a crime perpetrated against them

just because you live here does not mean there is no chance for crime to visit the school.

to be fair, you have not lived here since the early 1990's so things might not be as you remember.

this island is not perfect but then no place is. is it a great place to live-it can be.

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Posted : February 3, 2014 12:21 pm
allysage
(@allysage)
New Member

Wow again 🙂 I am so excited to see the other side of the opinion! We are looking into it and we would be staying for a week or so at least once before we move if we do. This was much more the response I expected and it is a relief. Thanks so much to everyone for you valued feedback! We like to hear both sides of the story and I feel it is definitely something we still want to look into.

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Topic starter Posted : February 9, 2014 8:40 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

to be fair, you have not lived here since the early 1990's so things might not be as you remember.

I absolutely agree with this statement - things are different now from 20 years ago, even 10 - heck even 5 years ago - even three years ago, when I first moved to STX. My husband was there seven years before me and he also says how things are different now.

I find it one of the most frustrating things that there is some sort of "keeping score" in the VI of those who have been on island 30 years ago, or 20 years, or whatever. The experience is what it is now, not 20 years ago. Yes it does take time to get acclimated but beyond that the experience is up to the individual. People should take their time and figure out what works best for them.

this island is not perfect but then no place is. is it a great place to live-it can be.

I agree with this statement too.

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Posted : February 9, 2014 9:36 pm
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