info on schools?  

 

mtmarigold
(@mtmarigold)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 2
September 24, 2010 7:51 pm  

Hello - I am a high school language arts teacher in the States (Midwest area). I am longing for a simpler way of life, a slower pace, a change of scenery, etc . . . and I found a site encouraging teachers to apply and teach in the VI. I don't want to offend any long-time residents or experts on living in the VI. I am simply very interested and curious about the possibility of re-locating and teaching in the VI, but I realize that I am also very naive, so please don't be offended by my questions! Any honest, frank responses are much appreciated!

1. My husband and I are a bi-racial couple (I am white and he is black) - in general, will this be an issue in how we may be treated by folks?
(Again, please don't be offended - I am just trying to get a basic understanding of the local customs / culture / environment)
2. We have a 5-year old boy. If there are people out there reading this with small children, how is the school system?
3. How are the high schools for both students and teachers? Are they run well? The photos of the schools look beautiful - are they equipped with current resources?
4. Is it possible to live on the islands on a teacher's salary (approx. $46,000 / year) and find a modest, simple, affordable home?

Local residents and experts, enlighten me! Thank you so very much in advance - I truly appreciate the gift of your time and insights.


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speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 8750
September 24, 2010 7:56 pm  

biracial should not be a problem, i see biracial couples all the time.
people with kids in the public and/or private schools should answer your other questions concerning that. most staesiders prefer to send their children to private schools


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imissmydog
(@imissmydog)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 39
September 24, 2010 7:58 pm  

1. I don't think people in general have a big issue with interracial relationships.
3. With our amazing scenery, any dump can potentially look beautiful in a picture.
4. $46,000 is not a teacher's salary in the USVI! Try the 30K range!


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STXBob
(@STXBob)
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Posts: 2138
September 24, 2010 8:54 pm  

Schools are a hot topic here. Here are some search results on this forum for "public schools", so you can read more:
https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/search.php?4,search=public+schools,author=,page=2,match_type=PHRASE,match_dates=365,match_forum=4,match_threads=

The public schools here have a reputation for being pretty bad in many respects.


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mtmarigold
(@mtmarigold)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 2
September 24, 2010 9:42 pm  

Thank you all so much for the helpful insights - STXBob - the link to the search results for "public schools" is very interesting!

(I did check the VI public school pay scale, & with my Masters Degree and years of experience, I would actually start at 46K - still unsure, though, if we could afford to live in the VI on this salary . . . .?)


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popflops
(@popflops)
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Posts: 416
September 24, 2010 11:08 pm  

I second speeedy1 in that most of us choose private schools. If you choose that route, expect to pay $12,000 per year for your son's education. I suggest, however that you send a PM to meowruff. They teach here in the public school system, and I think that they would have the most specific knowledge that you're after.

As far as living here on $46K... I guess that depends on how simply you're willing to live. Everything here (on STX), with the exception of liquor, cigarettes and nail salons, I have found to be at least double what you would pay in the states. $46K would mean a net income of around $3,200 per month. If you can find a cheap apartment and are willing to do without the basics like air conditioning, you could probably do it. To give you an idea, we pay roughly $30 per day for groceries for a family of 4. Using that formula, you could expect to spend $675 a month on groceries alone.

I strongly suggest a long pre-move visit, or "PMV", during which you live like a local and not like you're on vacation. If you still find that this lifestyle suites you, pack the bare necessities, bring along at least $10K to get you started, and don't cut your ties at home. Many people find after just a few months that living in "paradise" is not quite what they imagined.

Good luck to you!


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meowruff
(@meowruff)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 347
September 25, 2010 1:52 am  

My husband and I both teach in the public school system on STX. Don't be mislead by the salary scale listed on the teachusvi website. Your previous years of experience will only transfer to a point. We do not pay state income tax, but you will have to pay for health insurance (mandatory), and there is a mandatory 8% deduction that goes to GERS. Because there is a definite lack of supplies for children, you will spend, spend, and spend to provide for your students. If you've read recent posts, there is a current hiring freeze for teachers in the USVI. We are soooo short staffed this year, and it is making things very "interesting". We certainly need good teachers here, but don't let the pictures gloss over your eyes. Come for a PMV (pre-move visit) and take a close look. If you happen to visit when school is in session, let me know so I can give you a closer look at one of the schools on the island. Also, feel free to PM with more specific questions.

Good luck! I love it here and I love my job, but it's not for everyone. If you are coming with the right mind set and a goal to make a difference in the lives of the children here, the door is wide open!


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stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
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Posts: 844
September 25, 2010 7:35 am  

I can only speak for St. John, but I'll throw in my 2¢.... I haven't seen anyone have a problem with interracial relationships. I too am half of an interracial marriage and never gotten a sideways look from anyone at anytime. I have a 9 year old son who goes to a private school. The main reason for me is that corporal punishment is legal (and used) in the public schools, and I disagree with it strongly. I too am originally from the Midwest (where, for the most part, there has been a ban on corporal punishment for quite a long time).

I will just throw this in as well, we are English speaking, but there is a real difference in the West Indian accent that I had a hard time understanding when I first moved here. I was a little afraid to get a job working with the public when I first came here because the accent was difficult for me to understand and I really kind of felt like a fool. It's not only the accent, it's also the structure. It's just very different from the Midwest!! Not sure what kind of challenges it would pose to you as a language arts teacher. Maybe none!

Personally, I love it it here and don't ever plan on leaving. My son was born here, and my soon to be born baby boy will be born here as well. I plan on living here for the rest of my days. On St. John, there isn't a whole lot to do for the kids, which is sometimes a disappointment, but you learn to make due with what you have. Other than going to the beach and hiking, St. John doesn't have a ton to offer. Not a lot of extracurricular activities for the youth (or adults for that matter).

Good luck!


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East Ender
(@east-ender)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5335
September 25, 2010 12:45 pm  

"my soon to be born baby boy will be born here"

Did I miss the announcement??? :S Congratulations, Julie!!


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stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 844
September 26, 2010 8:06 am  

Hee hee! Thanks! I've been sneaking it in here and there in posts 😀 I'm due December 17th.


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Edward
(@Edward)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 704
September 27, 2010 11:57 am  

Marigold,

(approx. $46,000 / year)?

Try this as part of your decision-making process (you can vary the numbers):

1. Cut your anticipated income by 30-40 percent.

2. Increase your anticipated expenditures by 20-30 percent.

3. Add about $20,000 for a contingency fund.

If you can still manage the numbers, come on down.

These are just my estimates. Other members of this forum will have other estimates. The point is that one should manage one's expectations.

By the way, I agree with others that the biracial issue is no big deal here in the VI.

Good luck!

Edward

Edward in New Hampshire


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StCroix
(@StCroix)
Advanced Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 102
September 27, 2010 7:28 pm  

Marigold,

(approx. $46,000 / year)?

Try this as part of your decision-making process (you can vary the numbers):

1. Cut your anticipated income by 30-40 percent.
2. Increase your anticipated expenditures by 20-30 percent.
3. Add about $20,000 for a contingency fund.
If you can still manage the numbers, come on down.
These are just my estimates. Other members of this forum will have other estimates. The point is that one should manage one's expectations.
By the way, I agree with others that the biracial issue is no big deal here in the VI.
Good luck!
Edward

😮 $20,000 Contingency Fund? 😮 ....does that mean I have to move back to the states?

You can live on $46,000 a year here. Depends on what you define as "living" though.
I haven't experienced a 20-30 percent increase in expenses, but I/we did have to CHANGE what we were expending on.


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Drlove
(@Drlove)
Active Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 9
September 29, 2010 6:30 am  

Teacher salary depends on your experience and education. Cost of living overall is slightly higher. Stress level is so much less.
Private schools range from $3000 to $12000 per year depending on whether you like the Catholic program or the most expensive. Beka(sp?) programs tend to be cheaper.


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BytheBodhiTree
(@BytheBodhiTree)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 79
October 7, 2010 12:44 pm  

MtMarigold --

PM me if you are interested in talking about private schools.
Ahem - a $46K salary is a teacher's salary I would KILL for! I have 3+ years experience, a Master's degree in my content area, and don't make near to that.
My boyfriend (7+ years experience, also a Master's degree) works at another private school (a more expensive one) and also does not make $46k.

Do you mean to live on $46 k total, or will your husband also have an income (sorry, I'm a bit confused)?

We have no children, no car, live in a nice place on the East end, and make a total of around $73k combined (before taxes)...we are doing OK but aren't really saving any money.

Also - I'd like to echo what someone mentioned in a previous post -- at my private school the only supplies I received were a trash can and two bottles of glue (literally). I paid for everything else I needed out of pocket (I ended up sending a letter home with the kids asking their parents for donations of classroom fans, art supplies, etc).


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