By now, most parents of children attending Sullivan’s Island Elementary are aware and really concerned that their school may not be operating in the future. This school has been a beacon of excellence for the district and the State of South Carolina for 50 years. It has earned top state honors for excellence throughout most of memorable history.

More importantly, families have moved into the communities of Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms with the intent for their children to attend an excellent school without the “private school” price tag. This has created an interesting dynamic to the rising home prices on Sullivan’s and IOP over the past ten years.

On Sullivan’s Island, people were attracted by the “residential” nature of the Island; so much so that a few years ago, the Town Council eliminated short term rental licenses. The most valuable aspect of this “residential flavor” was the quaint fact that an elementary school, an excellent one at that, was located slap in the middle of the island. Scores of children walk, ride bikes, and are driven in golf carts to school each morning.

Where does that happen these days?

Removing the elementary school from the mix will most certainly eliminate this morning and afternoon ritual, but more importantly, severely erode housing demand by families who desire this lifestyle for their young, developing kids.

As a local real estate agent, I can assure you that home values would most certainly be hindered. In our business, if we are good at what we do, we listen to our clients. I can tell you that my clients (actually, whether they have kids or not) ask about the school and are thrilled to know that an excellent school operates on the islands. Their experience tells them that a quality school is an added piece of security for their real estate investment.

Families’ home buying decisions might direct them back to the mainland to be closer to their school. They might decide to spend less on housing in order to pay private school tuition. Either way, residents of Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms will be the losers as they will have to depend more on visitors and retirees to buy homes and spend money on these islands.

Yes, you can help. Please email your letter of support to Sullivan’s Island Elementary community action group at or contact me at 847-7980. We ask that you write a letter to Dr. Nancy McGinley and your member of the Charleston County School Board and express your concern for making sure that this valuable school is rebuilt to current specifications and attracts families to our islands for years to come.

-Mark Mitchell