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  1. #1
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    Vermont Mags: School me on School Districts near Burlington?

    So the wife and I used to live down in the Boston area and moved out to SF Bay Area last January. We love the weather out here and the access to the outdoors but the high cost of living is slowly killing us. I work in technology(can pretty much work wherever) and the wife works in medicine so we've been looking at areas with substantially lower costs of living while still having access to the outdoors. We also have a small contingent of friends up in Northern Vermont. Back when we lived in the Boston area we frequently would go up to Vermont for biking/skiing. Most of our time was spent in the waterbury/stowe/Morrisville area so I know fuck all about other towns/neighborhoods. We have a 3 year old daughter so trying to figure out which areas have the best schools or should we be thinking private school? If we moved, the wife would be working at UVM Medical Center so having a commute that isn't horrendous would be awesome as well. From what I can tell South Burlington has some decently rated schools but then again it's just rankings on the internet that I know nothing about. Looking for some feedback here as I imagine I'm not the first person with these types of questions.

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    Can't add insight but I would add western New Hampshire to the list - wife could work at Dartmouth and I can only imagine COL will be even more affordable. Just something to think about.

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    We moved from the South Shore (MA) to South Burlington a few years ago. My wife works at the medical center. Our kids are in elementary and middle school. I'm a fan of the district based on what we've seen so far. Also a fan of being under an hour from good skiing, and having a 15-20min commute each way instead of the 1.5hrs each way when we were driving into Boston. Feel free to reach out via PM if you have any questions.

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    PM Laps, milestogo, and biggins. All are teachers in VT.

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    Another Vermont public school teacher here.

    Burlington area schools are excellent - their districts are some of the best in the state, including South Burlington. They're well funded, they pay their teachers well and they offer students a lot more than other schools in the state. We've lost quite a few top notch teachers because they took jobs near Burlington - it definitely attracts excellent teachers.

    We often joke that districts like Burlington and Champlain Valley districts are the "valhalla" of VT teaching jobs.

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    Figuring out where you want to ski can help make the choice. SBHS, CVUHS, and MMUHS are good choices, the latter two will lengthen the commute to Burlington but shorten the commute to ski. Essex probably isn't bad either. I don't recommend Burlington, Winooski, Colchester, or Milton HSs for various reasons but those aren't terrible places to live. If you head north and northeast I don't recommend the schools in Franklin or Lamoille counties as highly. Stowe HS of course has the money but it is very expensive real estate.

    I am not a teacher. I went to MMUHS and CVUHS 35+ years ago. A lot has changed since then for the better. My opinion is mostly based on anecdotes and my kids interacting with those schools. My kids went and or go to BFA St Albans. It's not terrible. It's got its good and bad. Stay away from St Albans City School like the plague.

    Also, good broadband can be hit or miss as you go away from Burlington, so that's a huge factor for remote work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prsboogie View Post
    Can't add insight but I would add western New Hampshire to the list - wife could work at Dartmouth and I can only imagine COL will be even more affordable. Just something to think about.

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    If you dont mind sky high property tax and far more conservative politics. Fortunately VT is right across the river.

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    Vermont Mags: School me on School Districts near Burlington?

    Quote Originally Posted by HankScorpio View Post
    Another Vermont public school teacher here.

    Burlington area schools are excellent - their districts are some of the best in the state, including South Burlington. They're well funded, they pay their teachers well and they offer students a lot more than other schools in the state. We've lost quite a few top notch teachers because they took jobs near Burlington - it definitely attracts excellent teachers.

    We often joke that districts like Burlington and Champlain Valley districts are the "valhalla" of VT teaching jobs.
    Sorry I missed you, Hank.

    Burlington HS is a shit show right now after they found PCBs in the building. Of course since your kid is young, Burlington will have a brand new school by the time they get to that age.

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    Welton Academy is the choice for tradition, discipline, honor, and excellence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by riser3 View Post
    If you dont mind sky high property tax and far more conservative politics. Fortunately VT is right across the river.
    1) he's coming from Cali- no doubt will be less expensive
    2) I would rather pay a bit more for property taxes than every-other tax in VT. We are in Mass so I'm all to familiar with ridiculous taxes and NH would be a relief for sure.

    Honestly I have no skin in this game and have no idea how the schools rank in any of the areas in question, just a suggestion for conversation. I personnal would prefer the NH side of the Conn. river.

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    1) A big part of the Burlington area desire if the network of friends we already have in the waterbury/stowe/morrisville area. My wife is super introverted so having an existing friend group to plug into is huge for us. Also, the inlaws are in Carlisle, MA and I don't want to be close to them. They have a bunch of drama going on and the closer we are to them the worse our lives get.

    2) SBHS, CVUHS, and MMUHS, what do those acronyms stand for? What other neighborhoods/districts should we be looking at besides south burlington?

    3) Priorities are school district, proximity to wife's job, and then proximity to mountains in that order. We always skied stowe when we came up to visit but that was more about having friends who lived in stowe year round then any particular allegiance to the mountain.

    We are not a religious family so if we went the private school route, the preference would be to avoid a religious private school. I'm sure it works for some people but it's not our cup of tea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prsboogie View Post
    1) he's coming from Cali- no doubt will be less expensive
    2) I would rather pay a bit more for property taxes than every-other tax in VT. We are in Mass so I'm all to familiar with ridiculous taxes and NH would be a relief for sure.

    Honestly I have no skin in this game and have no idea how the schools rank in any of the areas in question, just a suggestion for conversation. I personnal would prefer the NH side of the Conn. river.

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    And I prefer the Lake side of the VT side of the river. To each their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman View Post
    1) A big part of the Burlington area desire if the network of friends we already have in the waterbury/stowe/morrisville area. My wife is super introverted so having an existing friend group to plug into is huge for us. Also, the inlaws are in Carlisle, MA and I don't want to be close to them. They have a bunch of drama going on and the closer we are to them the worse our lives get.

    2) SBHS, CVUHS, and MMUHS, what do those acronyms stand for? What other neighborhoods/districts should we be looking at besides south burlington?

    3) Priorities are school district, proximity to wife's job, and then proximity to mountains in that order. We always skied stowe when we came up to visit but that was more about having friends who lived in stowe year round then any particular allegiance to the mountain.

    We are not a religious family so if we went the private school route, the preference would be to avoid a religious private school. I'm sure it works for some people but it's not our cup of tea.
    HS is easy. SB is south Burlington. MMU is Mount Mansfield Union (Underhill, Jericho, Richmond, and Huntington primarily). CVU is Champlain Valley Union (Williston, Shelburne, St George, Hinesburg, Charlotte). There's a lot of variation in the towns in the latter two districts. I don't know at the elementary school level which are better, and they cover a lot of land area. I went to Williston 40+ years ago and it was a great school at the time. But the town has become a suburban hellscape (comparatively speaking to back then). I'm focused more on the HS. As far as private non religious schools, I have no clue.

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    Nobody has asked the most important question: which school cafeteria has the best soup?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman View Post
    We are not a religious family so if we went the private school route, the preference would be to avoid a religious private school.
    If you find a list of secular schools K-12 I would love to see it or know who publishes it.

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    no private non-religious high schools in northern VT, at least that I'm aware of.

    I went to SBHS (and then UVM) and turned out fine. Growing up in south burlington was honestly the best thing ever for a kid that liked having a social life/playing sports but also wanted to ski and be on the lake in the summer.

    I always thought it would suck to live in one of the towns that's super far from CVU and have to drive like 25 minutes to high school every day. I'm sure the same can be said for MMU but don't know much about those towns other than we made fun of them for being hicks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtran10 View Post
    no private non-religious high schools in northern VT, at least that I'm aware of.

    I went to SBHS (and then UVM) and turned out fine. Growing up in south burlington was honestly the best thing ever for a kid that liked having a social life/playing sports but also wanted to ski and be on the lake in the summer.

    I always thought it would suck to live in one of the towns that's super far from CVU and have to drive like 25 minutes to high school every day. I'm sure the same can be said for MMU but don't know much about those towns other than we made fun of them for being hicks.
    Heh. My kids wish we had lived in South Burlington. However, I knew too many people with serious addictions from that school. And in 2000 when we bought our house I would have needed another $80K to buy a house there.

    When I went to MMU it was a total hick school. It has improved a lot since 1985. And yes the kids from Huntington hated life getting to and from school. Fortunately I lived fairly close. CVU was a bit of a haul from Williston, but didn't totally suck. And the biggest hick towns in that district are now posh suburbs, almost. Besides, 10 years from now when OP's kid is in 8th grade, Williston may have its own HS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by riser3 View Post
    Heh. My kids wish we had lived in South Burlington. However, I knew too many people with serious addictions from that school. And in 2000 when we bought our house I would have needed another $80K to buy a house there.

    When I went to MMU it was a total hick school. It has improved a lot since 1985. And yes the kids from Huntington hated life getting to and from school. Fortunately I lived fairly close. CVU was a bit of a haul from Williston, but didn't totally suck. And the biggest hick towns in that district are now posh suburbs, almost. Besides, 10 years from now when OP's kid is in 8th grade, Williston may have its own HS.
    can't wait to see the burlington burbs when we arrive in town next week

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtran10 View Post
    can't wait to see the burlington burbs when we arrive in town next week
    Virtual NJ.

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    As they say, the nice thing about Chittenden county is it's so close to Vermont. But seriously, there aren't any really bad options in that area. I'd avoid my alma mater Mt Abe since they are in the process of dissolving a bunch of elementary schools and bussing kids longer distances.

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    Chittenden County is super close to VT. Seriously, if you stay up against the Green Mtns, Richmond, Jericho, Underhill, the elementary schools are pretty solid. Teachers are excellent and really care. Great access to the the outdoors close to home, short drive to lifts. Most commutes in Vt are pretty reasonable, you don't need to live in Burlington. It's your choice to move to suburbia, Williston, South Burlington etc., but why move to Vt for suburbia?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtran10 View Post
    can't wait to see the burlington burbs when we arrive in town next week
    Hopefully the sky is clear and you have a window seat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lostintime View Post
    Chittenden County is super close to VT. Seriously, if you stay up against the Green Mtns, Richmond, Jericho, Underhill, the elementary schools are pretty solid. Teachers are excellent and really care. Great access to the the outdoors close to home, short drive to lifts. Most commutes in Vt are pretty reasonable, you don't need to live in Burlington. It's your choice to move to suburbia, Williston, South Burlington etc., but why move to Vt for suburbia?
    I would go with Richmond from this trio, nice choice of commute options and more centrally located for recreation than Jericho or Underhill. So many dead soulless subdivisions or ultra pricey 1/4 acre "estates" closer to Burlington. Throw down, IKON and EPIC w/Cochrans.
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    I'd check the schools in Richmond with someone who actually knows first. It used to really suck in my day. At MMU the worst rednecks were from Richmond. And West Bolton. It's probably gentrified a lot in 35+ years. The farm kids and hippies from Huntington we're good folk. The Jr High was disparagingly called Camel's Dump Middle School.

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    Richmond has changed a lot. Jericho and Underhill are far from recreation? Smuggs is a stones throw, Boltons not far, anything closer to the Bush is in Washington County and the schools are a little hit or miss. Stowe starts to get a little far from Burlington, but if thats what you want go for it, probably will still seem cheap compared to Cali.

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    Mr. Gman wants an easy commute to UVM med center, Richmond is a lot easier than Jericho or Huntington. Smuggs is perhaps the best terrain around but weekends are tough, Bolton?lol Would suggest Waterbury for a central to fun option but the schools are really bad, like don't do it.
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