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Moving from buffalo to St. Croix

 
Djcorrigan64
(@Djcorrigan64)
New Member

Hey all! My name is dan corrigan and I current am a 6th grade science teacher just outside buffalo, NY. I have just applied to teaching in the public school system in st croix as well as to the good hope school and country day school. I have read posts about the difficulties in the public school system and am now a little nervous. I guess I just want to know I'm safe and that I don't need to feel threatened. What places are the safest to live that a 24 year old can afford on a teachers salary? I also am curious just about all the everyday life things there like fitness gyms, shopping at sunny isle, people, and so I. I plan on coming down this early summer and was wondering if their is anyone who I can latch on to in showing be the ropes.

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Topic starter Posted : March 14, 2009 7:31 pm
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

Talk to Meowruff

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Posted : March 14, 2009 10:53 pm
meowruff
(@meowruff)
Advanced Member

Thanks, Yearasta! You're sweet! (And, we still have to get together sometime soon!)

But, seriously, if you have specific questions, feel free to PM or post them here. I'll be happy to give you my perspective, as my husband and I are both teachers in the public school system on STX.

If you're interested in salary, benefits, etc. go to:
http://www.teachusvi.net/
There's an abundance of information on this site. Also, remember that you'll have to pay union dues, insurance and retirement fees from your paycheck. And, of course, if your heart is in seeing the students succeed, you will spend LOTS of pocket money on items for your students.

When you come down this summer, let us know. We'll be happy to show you our schools - just so you can get an idea of what kind of conditions you may be working in. Some schools are better than ours - and some are worse.

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Posted : March 15, 2009 11:59 am
Djcorrigan64
(@Djcorrigan64)
New Member

Meowruff, thanks for the website and information as well as offering to show me what the typical classroom is like there. The payscale is actually very similar to the payscale here in buffalo. I know I will definatly have to compromise space from an apartment here to an apartment there, and I am fine with that since I am the kind of person who loves the outdoors.
For apartments I have been in contact with a gentlemen named Steve with "St. Croix property management." Many of the apartments look clean and not too bad. Have you heard of this organization and if so do you reccomend it? Many of the apartments are located just southwest of Christiansted a little more inland. Generally would that be a safe or ideal area to live in? Also, would you reccomend a gated community if an apartment is available in one?
I know I have a lot of questions, but I guess my research can only go so far before I just need to ask individuals like yourself who already live there and have made the move. This website has been so helpful and you as well.

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Topic starter Posted : March 15, 2009 3:13 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

Hi Dj,
Have you looked at my website? I have an ad on this site, but if you missed it, http://www.virginislandsrentals.com

We are not gated, but we are on a dead end street, so no thru-traffic. My husband and I live here, as well as a maintenance man, and the neighbors all get to know each other, and that gives everyone a secure feeling.

We are about 3 miles west of downtown Christiansted, in a nice neighborhood. We are very close to Country Day. I don't know what I will have when you plan to make the move, but if you will send me an email, I will put you on my "list" of contacts and keep you updated on our availability. Would you plan to move down in August, or before?

Thanks,
Juanita

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Posted : March 15, 2009 4:13 pm
meowruff
(@meowruff)
Advanced Member

There are lots of great people on the island who have rentals available. We spoke with Steve, initially, but ended up finding a place with someone else. Steve was very nice and was very helpful with our questions. We also looked at the properties Juanita has, which are also very nice.

As you will read over and over and over, there are lots of great places, but you need to check them out prior to moving here. Location may not seem that important initially, but traffic can be crazy (yes, even on STX) during rush hour, and you don't want to be working far, far away from your place. And, the safety thing is all relative - there are lots of safe places to live, but you have to check out the neighborhoods for yourself. Drive through during the day. Drive through at night. Drive from there to your school during rush hour. And, take the "sniff test" - laugh at this one if you want, but I think you get the idea. We live with our windows open 24/7 and I coudn't tolerate garbage smell blowing my way everyday.

What are your personal needs? We have a dog and wanted some "potty room" and a place where we could walk her without being chased by a herd of other dogs. We also wanted a place where we could have some peace and quiet during night time hours, as I prefer to enter my classroom with a great, restful smile rather than a lumpy grumpy, tired frown. We also wanted a place centrally located between both of our schools. We also work other jobs, and needed to take that commute time in consideration.

Oh - while the payscale may seem similar to where you are currently employed, please keep in mind that it may take awhile before you receive your first paycheck here. When the government steps in, crazy things can happen. Ask about your NOPA in every conversation. Until it is signed, you won't get paid. We worked around 8 weeks before we received our first paycheck. We knew that we may have that challenge and prepared for it, but it was stressful wondering when the first paycheck was going to appear.

Good luck and feel free to ask questions as they arise.

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Posted : March 15, 2009 5:47 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

You really need to see apartments before you give any non-refundable deposits.

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Posted : March 15, 2009 8:00 pm
Djcorrigan64
(@Djcorrigan64)
New Member

I am defiantly going to check out apartments and neighborhoods in person. Juanita, thank you for the website and I will keep you in mind as I continue the process. I plan to move down in August if I do get a job, and visit in June to check out certain neighborhoods like all of you have mentioned.
Meowruff, my needs are quite simple. It will be just my girlfriend and I who are both teachers and we are looking just at 1 bedroom apartments. Safety is really the main concern because I want to have the comfort of leaving my windows open all day as well. Location is the next big concern, because as you mentioned we would like to be close to work, shopping, and beaches (however, we are also realistic in knowing we probably won't be able to afford something close to all those places). As for right now, I suppose we will have to wait to find out if we get jobs there. Which brings up my next question of a billion.
I heard St. Croix is in great need for teachers. Is that true? What are the chances that we would be hired and would we have to fly down for an interview? If we do have to attend an interview, will the district of school pay for the trip? I know some states are in such need of teachers that they hire over the phone. Would that be a possibility?
I know I have a lot of questions, but like I said before, my research ends at a certain point before I really just need to get a real perspective. I thank you all.

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Topic starter Posted : March 15, 2009 9:50 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

The Department of Education's Division of Human Resources can answer your questions about applying and interviewing: St. Croix (340)772-3848 St. Thomas (340) 774-0100

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Posted : March 15, 2009 10:33 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

WHERE to live will depend quite a bit on the location of the school where you will be working. If you get hired by Good Hope, for example, they are at the extreme southwest area of the island and you probably wouldn't want to commute from the east end. The majority of condos and rentals are condensed in the central portion of the island starting just west of Christiansted. Locationwise, that makes accessing your job and services much easier, especially if you wind up with a job in the public schools and don't know exactly where you will be placed when you are looking for housing.

There are many property managers and people with private rentals who post vacancies on the classified section of this board. You may find something suitable here or you may run across something through word of mouth when you visit the island. If you don't come for a visit prior to making your move, many of us also have rentals that can be available short-term for a week to a month to give you time to locate the long-term rental that will work best for you.

Good luck with your job search. If the job comes through, housing usually does fall into place. Vacancy rates are always at their highest during the summer, so leasing something starting in July or August will give you more options and less expensive properties will be more available.

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Posted : March 17, 2009 5:34 pm
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