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Old 10-08-2012, 12:53 PM   #1
Bonniec
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If you are considering a move to Orlando and have children....

I see a lot of threads that pop up all the time where someone wants to move to Orlando. I just wanted to share my experiences with it and put out a warning to be careful if you have kids.

I have spent most of my life on the east coast in Brevard county and then lived in another state for a while before moving back here.

For the most part, I love Orlando. My DH has a great job, we have APs to all of the parks and spend most of our weekends there. I've never gotten sick of it and love it! It's definitely my dream place to be.

But the school system here is nuts! We moved to Davenport and are in nice little area that is safe. Thank goodness that we rent instead of buy though! Polk county schools are a complete joke. And unlike every other place I have lived, if you don't like the school, you can't just put them somewhere else. I had to start out this year homeschooling my child because I didn't feel he was safe in the school he went to last year. Especially after the bus dropped my kindergartner off in another neighborhood and left him on his first day of school. We were waiting at the bus stop and the bus just went on by. There was about an hour period where we had no idea where our child was. I can't even describe that feeling. Another mother found him and called the school. I was completely frantic! The what-if's still haunt me. There were some other issues too and I finally had just had enough.

There is a lack of good schools and hardly any daycare at all (so finding after school care is not easy). The few good schools are all full and there is no way to get into them unless you live in the district. I finally got my son into a nice charter school this week but it took a lot of waiting and constant calling to get in. When our lease is up, we will be moving based on school district.

So I just wanted to warn you that if you move here, REALLY look hard at the schools your child will be attending and make sure you are zoned for it. You'd think since Orlando is such a large area, this wouldn't be a problem.

Like I said, I'm happy we are here but parts of it has been very rough. We pay a fairly high rent now and the place we are moving too is crazy high. So when looking around at jobs, homes, and cost of living...make sure to check the schools too. Living in the district of a high rated school is really pricey.

I've heard North East Orlando near Altamonte might be better. Unfortunately my DH works just south of Disney so we have to stay here to avoid an hour long commute on I-4.

Just wanted to put that all out there. That is all.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:05 PM   #2
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I feel your pain: My parents moved us from NY to CO when we were in high school and junior high and we found out to our shock that the school district was lousy. I went from being in honors math and chemistry and AP history to total crap curriculum. Then they tried to do some research to find better school districts, but they were so far away that my parents just gave up and we moved back home.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:22 PM   #3
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It really was a shock. Brevard County is only an hour and a half away, and even they aren't known for being all that great. But compared to this, Brevard is amazing. It just shocks me because I would have expected Orlando to be better.

Oh well, we have made it work and will be moving and paying the higher fees. But I'd sure feel bad for anyone who just moved and bought without renting first. I thought we had found a nice area. And really, our little housing district is nice. Just hadn't taken into account the schools.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonniec View Post
It really was a shock. Brevard County is only an hour and a half away, and even they aren't known for being all that great. But compared to this, Brevard is amazing. It just shocks me because I would have expected Orlando to be better.

Oh well, we have made it work and will be moving and paying the higher fees. But I'd sure feel bad for anyone who just moved and bought without renting first. I thought we had found a nice area. And really, our little housing district is nice. Just hadn't taken into account the schools.
YIKES! I lived in Brevard for a year (off of Palm Bay Rd near the Palm Bay Pirates high school) and though I LOVED 99% of living there, and usually felt safe and content, the school system had the reputation of being AWFUL. Luckily we moved before oldest DD reached school age, but if we hadn't she would have been going to a private school.

To hear you say that compared to Orlando, Brevard schools are "amazing" puts the fear of God into me - I will definitely NOT be moving back to FL until all of my kids are out of school.

Not that it was really on the plan anyhow... but I do go back over every time we visit Disney. I just HAVE to go to Melbourne Beach and Turkey Creek.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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I grew up in Palm Bay. I went to Palm Bay High School and so did my older twins. When we moved over here, it was halfway through my their senior year (poor things). They were in AP classes. And even they told me that Palm Bay High was way ahead. They weren't unhappy with the new school and made some nice friends, it's just the class was farther behind.

The elementary school was a joke. No communication at all from the teacher and my son hated to go. This is a kid who LOVED school so I knew something was wrong.

Anyway, I'm sure not everywhere in the Orlando area is this bad. But I'd guess most of it is. I've heard the NE area is nice. We are going to move to the Celebration area but so far everywhere I've found is $2000-4000 a month in rent. Pretty pricey, at least for us. But I'll pay it if it means my kid gets a good education and the elemntary school is ranked high.

The childcare place in that area just told me today that the school is so full, that all the kids who had been going there but were out of area, had to get withdrawn this year. That must be devastating to the parents. The school has an excellent reputation though so like I said, we're just gonna move.

This is definitely the first time I have ever run into this situation before. Like you said, I always thought Brevard was bad. I see people on these boards all the time talking about just picking up and moving near the mouse. So just make sure ya'll take a really good look into the schools.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:00 PM   #6
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This is why, even though I would love to move to Florida (I hate MN winters!!!) I will not move my son out of school (he's in 7th right now) just to get away from the cold/snow and be closer to the Mouse.

Right now he is in a great school, doing very well, has good teachers that communicate well and has a good group of friends. I can't move him from that just for my needs.

Now if my DH lost his job and a new one took us a Florida, then we would have to sit down and figure out what to do.

But unless something like that happens, we won't be moving to Florida until my son is out of the school system and in college.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonniec View Post
I see a lot of threads that pop up all the time where someone wants to move to Orlando. I just wanted to share my experiences with it and put out a warning to be careful if you have kids.

I have spent most of my life on the east coast in Brevard county and then lived in another state for a while before moving back here.

For the most part, I love Orlando. My DH has a great job, we have APs to all of the parks and spend most of our weekends there. I've never gotten sick of it and love it! It's definitely my dream place to be.

But the school system here is nuts! We moved to Davenport and are in nice little area that is safe. Thank goodness that we rent instead of buy though! Polk county schools are a complete joke. And unlike every other place I have lived, if you don't like the school, you can't just put them somewhere else. I had to start out this year homeschooling my child because I didn't feel he was safe in the school he went to last year. Especially after the bus dropped my kindergartner off in another neighborhood and left him on his first day of school. We were waiting at the bus stop and the bus just went on by. There was about an hour period where we had no idea where our child was. I can't even describe that feeling. Another mother found him and called the school. I was completely frantic! The what-if's still haunt me. There were some other issues too and I finally had just had enough.

There is a lack of good schools and hardly any daycare at all (so finding after school care is not easy). The few good schools are all full and there is no way to get into them unless you live in the district. I finally got my son into a nice charter school this week but it took a lot of waiting and constant calling to get in. When our lease is up, we will be moving based on school district.

So I just wanted to warn you that if you move here, REALLY look hard at the schools your child will be attending and make sure you are zoned for it. You'd think since Orlando is such a large area, this wouldn't be a problem.

Like I said, I'm happy we are here but parts of it has been very rough. We pay a fairly high rent now and the place we are moving too is crazy high. So when looking around at jobs, homes, and cost of living...make sure to check the schools too. Living in the district of a high rated school is really pricey.

I've heard North East Orlando near Altamonte might be better. Unfortunately my DH works just south of Disney so we have to stay here to avoid an hour long commute on I-4.

Just wanted to put that all out there. That is all.
You moved to the wrong area.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:06 PM   #8
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You moved to the wrong area.
Yeah, see! You're in Winter Park. I keep hearing it's very nice there. My DH works right off 192 right before it turns to 27 so we're kinda stuck *sigh*
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonniec View Post
I grew up in Palm Bay. I went to Palm Bay High School and so did my older twins. When we moved over here, it was halfway through my their senior year (poor things). They were in AP classes. And even they told me that Palm Bay High was way ahead. They weren't unhappy with the new school and made some nice friends, it's just the class was farther behind.

The elementary school was a joke. No communication at all from the teacher and my son hated to go. This is a kid who LOVED school so I knew something was wrong.

Anyway, I'm sure not everywhere in the Orlando area is this bad. But I'd guess most of it is. I've heard the NE area is nice. We are going to move to the Celebration area but so far everywhere I've found is $2000-4000 a month in rent. Pretty pricey, at least for us. But I'll pay it if it means my kid gets a good education and the elemntary school is ranked high.

The childcare place in that area just told me today that the school is so full, that all the kids who had been going there but were out of area, had to get withdrawn this year. That must be devastating to the parents. The school has an excellent reputation though so like I said, we're just gonna move.

This is definitely the first time I have ever run into this situation before. Like you said, I always thought Brevard was bad. I see people on these boards all the time talking about just picking up and moving near the mouse. So just make sure ya'll take a really good look into the schools.
You realize that Celebration schools are in the Osceola school district right?
Osceola schools are the pits.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:27 PM   #10
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Yeah, see! You're in Winter Park. I keep hearing it's very nice there. My DH works right off 192 right before it turns to 27 so we're kinda stuck *sigh*
Have you looked at Clermont? My cousin has her kids in school there. I've heard some good things.


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You realize that Celebration schools are in the Osceola school district right?
Osceola schools are the pits.
I'm not going to defend Osceola County on everything, but our school is good. The teachers are great and we are an A school.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:29 PM   #11
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I am a long time lurker, but this thread caught my eye. We were transferred from Long Island (amazing schools) to the Orlando area. We moved to Celebration. Absolutely love it here but the schools are horrible. Our daughter attends a private prep school. We really tried to make it work, but we only get one chance to educate our children and Celebration was not nearly going to cut it. A-rated school my butt. I also bought into the whole great schools in Celebration story. I'm really sad it didn't work out.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #12
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I went to HS a LONG time ago in Altamonte Springs. We never had a problem there but that was the 80's.

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Old 10-08-2012, 06:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bonniec View Post
It really was a shock. Brevard County is only an hour and a half away, and even they aren't known for being all that great. But compared to this, Brevard is amazing. It just shocks me because I would have expected Orlando to be better.

Oh well, we have made it work and will be moving and paying the higher fees. But I'd sure feel bad for anyone who just moved and bought without renting first. I thought we had found a nice area. And really, our little housing district is nice. Just hadn't taken into account the schools.
Were you working with a Realtor? I would never recommend that area for people purchasing with small children looking for a "better" school district. The public districts here in Florida are not great to start with and the Polk County district is one that I would not recommend. (Now there ARE some individual schools that can stand out in any district, but overall, it would be a "no"...) You can check school ratings online also, which I always recommend to my clients. I can't imagine where you are in Davenport that you are paying "high" rent either. I feel for ya!

You definitely moved to the wrong area so I hope you were not using a professional to help you. They did not do you any favors! I hope you fare better with your next choice.

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Old 10-08-2012, 06:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristmasElf View Post
You realize that Celebration schools are in the Osceola school district right?
Osceola schools are the pits.
Celebration elementary is one of the highest rated schools in the state.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYtoCelebration View Post
I am a long time lurker, but this thread caught my eye. We were transferred from Long Island (amazing schools) to the Orlando area. We moved to Celebration. Absolutely love it here but the schools are horrible. Our daughter attends a private prep school. We really tried to make it work, but we only get one chance to educate our children and Celebration was not nearly going to cut it. A-rated school my butt. I also bought into the whole great schools in Celebration story. I'm really sad it didn't work out.
Aack, Celebration elementary? What didn't you like about it and what school do you use now?


My son finally got accepted into a charter school (Four Corners) and started it today. It's not ranked as high as Celebration but so far I really like it. We were gonna let our son choose at the end of the year. Either way we want to move into the right district. Polk is just scary.

But tell me what issues you had if you don't mind. We plan to let our kid choose but if the charter school stays nice and there is an issue with Celebration, I'd rather know now.


I do wish we could go to the NE areas. It takes us over an hour to get there now.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonniec View Post
I see a lot of threads that pop up all the time where someone wants to move to Orlando. I just wanted to share my experiences with it and put out a warning to be careful if you have kids.

I have spent most of my life on the east coast in Brevard county and then lived in another state for a while before moving back here.

For the most part, I love Orlando. My DH has a great job, we have APs to all of the parks and spend most of our weekends there. I've never gotten sick of it and love it! It's definitely my dream place to be.

But the school system here is nuts! We moved to Davenport and are in nice little area that is safe. Thank goodness that we rent instead of buy though! Polk county schools are a complete joke. And unlike every other place I have lived, if you don't like the school, you can't just put them somewhere else. I had to start out this year homeschooling my child because I didn't feel he was safe in the school he went to last year. Especially after the bus dropped my kindergartner off in another neighborhood and left him on his first day of school. We were waiting at the bus stop and the bus just went on by. There was about an hour period where we had no idea where our child was. I can't even describe that feeling. Another mother found him and called the school. I was completely frantic! The what-if's still haunt me. There were some other issues too and I finally had just had enough.

There is a lack of good schools and hardly any daycare at all (so finding after school care is not easy). The few good schools are all full and there is no way to get into them unless you live in the district. I finally got my son into a nice charter school this week but it took a lot of waiting and constant calling to get in. When our lease is up, we will be moving based on school district.

So I just wanted to warn you that if you move here, REALLY look hard at the schools your child will be attending and make sure you are zoned for it. You'd think since Orlando is such a large area, this wouldn't be a problem.

Like I said, I'm happy we are here but parts of it has been very rough. We pay a fairly high rent now and the place we are moving too is crazy high. So when looking around at jobs, homes, and cost of living...make sure to check the schools too. Living in the district of a high rated school is really pricey.

I've heard North East Orlando near Altamonte might be better. Unfortunately my DH works just south of Disney so we have to stay here to avoid an hour long commute on I-4.

Just wanted to put that all out there. That is all.
Lemme guess...Four Corners Charter? we started out there 8 years ago and after 6 weeks into the school year my 2nd grader didn't have a teacher yet so we pulled him. We then moved to Celebration and my oldest graduated in 09 and my youngest is at the K8. I love the K8 and it's consistantly an A school.

Rents are higher then the surrounding area but my son is getting a great education and really that's what is most important.
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