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Thread: Where to live with kids?

  1. Fresh Newbie
    lovelyrican's Avatar
    lovelyrican is offline
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    May 2012

    Where to live with kids?

    Will be moving within 6 to 8 months to san diego area. DH is going to north island. Where is a good place to live with my soon to be first grader and 2 year old. DH is e5. Is it better to live on base or off. We don't want go spend all our BAH off base. Would love an area with good schools if there are any in California. Public schools everywhere are not so great anymore. I have lots of medical issues and would like to feel safe since DH will be on sea duty. Any help please ?
    Last edited by lovelyrican; 06-13-2012 at 09:07 PM.
  2. Senior Member
    *Stephanie*'s Avatar
    *Stephanie* is offline
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    JBER; Anchorage, AK
    What base?
  3. Senior Member
    navywifeplus3's Avatar
    navywifeplus3 is offline
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    Kings Bay
    If you want space, I'd recommend Murphy Canyon which is located in the Tierrasanta area of San Diego. You can rent out in town, but it will be very hard to find a place within your BAH while still getting a decent sized place, safe neighborhood, good schools, and decent commute to base for your DH. We had friends rent in Menifee/Temecula area, but it is a LONG commute to base (about an hour depending on where you live in those areas).

    We were stationed in San Diego twice and lived in four different housing areas (two have since been leveled and rebuilt). We lived in Cabrillo (leveled and rebuilt as the Villiage in Serra Mesa), I was not impressed by that area of the city. I was centrally located, but felt dirty and there was a lot of crime (break-ins, drugs being dealt in the alley, so glad we got out of there). Again, that was when it was Cabrillo Heights, it has since been demolished thus the people being dispersed and it was 10 years ago when we lived in the Serra Mesa area. We moved from Cabrillo (Serra Mesa area) into the old Gateway Villiage housing (demolished in 2003 and rebuilt as nicer housing). We LOVED Gateway Villiage and that area of the city. It's in Point Loma right across the street from MCRD. When they leveled Gateway we were relocated to The Villiage at NTC which is also in Point Loma. It is close to base and nice housing. My complaint was no yards and as my kids got older I really wanted a yard. I also started to really not enjoy the city feel of the house. Having no yard, hearing the commercial plans flying over when outside, walking out the front door and not even 10 feet away was the street. The traffic can get pretty heavy coming on or off the Point.

    We left San Diego in 2006 and returned in 2009. This time we chose Murphy Canyon because it offered yards, allowed pets, was in a quiet upper middle class suburb, and the schools in Tierrasanta were better. We lived in Murphy Canyon for 3 years and enjoyed it. The Tierrasanta area has that small town feel, even though it's in the city. It's fairly quiet and has low crime rate compared to other areas of San Diego. There are 5 elementary schools in Tierrasanta to choose from: Hancock, Miller, Vista Grande, Kumayaay, and Tierrasanta Elementary. Hancock and Miller are located in housing, but are not DoD schools, they are part of San Diego Unified district.

    I chose to send my girls to Vista Grande. I researched the schools online and Vista Grande just looked better (test scores, reviews, what it offered). I went to *interview* the principal, she was awesome! Vista Grande is the smaller of all 5 schools (enrollment is around 400 students). The teachers have been teaching 10 + years at VG, some have been teaching for 30 or more years and most of those years have been at VG. The teamwork between admin staff, teachers, and parents is just amazing. There are so many families who bought in the neighborhood just so they're children could attend VG. We have families where mom and/or dad grew up in VG and returned to the neighborhood when their kids were old enough for school so their children could attend VG. Teachers who live outside of Tierrasanta but bring their students to VG for school rather than attending their neighborhood school, likewise we have students whose parents teach or are staff in other schools in the city, but their child attends VG. We LOVED Vista Grande and there were many tears as we said goodbye this past April as we prepared for another coast to coast PCS. That school was not just a school, it was a community and a family to us.

    I will be blunt; you will be shocked when you see just how bad the schools are in San Diego (and surrounding areas, well most of southern California). They (schools all over southern California) have cut music, PE, art, special education services, counselors, school nurse, and some have even been forced to close their libraries (can't afford to pay someone to be there and union contracts with district prevents volunteers from running library). Budget cuts have forced schools to run on skeleton staff, classroom sizes are 29:1 for k-3, and 35:1 for 4th and 5th, middle school is 40:1 and high school is even scarier! Some elementary schools have switched to combo classes (k-1, 2-3, 3-4, etc) because if they combo, especially the 3-4 grade level, the district will cap the class at 29:1 instead of 35:1, thus keeping class size smaller. The more 3-4 combos they have the more teachers the district will provide.

    I was a district employee, foundation member, sat on governance, was a parent with an IEP student, and was a school volunteer so I got to see the *budget crisis* from several points of view and with backstage pass to information. I can tell you the *budget crisis* it is not all. I'm not trying to scare you, just want you to be informed so that you can make the best choice for your children. What I recommend is doing your homework on each school in areas you are considering. There is a school liaison for San Diego who can get you the resources you need to do your homework, but until you get in touch with her you can start at:
    "What's so good about good-bye? It is good to be reminded that life is brief, at best, with no dress rehearsals, and the seasons we are privileged to share together are even more fleeting. Good-bye is good if it teaches us to cherish the life and breath, strength and sound mind, and the moments we are allowed to walk side by side with a friend. Good-bye is good if, in that difficult moment, we stand still long enough to give thanks to God for the lessons we've learned together, the love given, and the love received, recognizing that these are gifts from the hand of God." ~Marshele Carter Waddell

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