HICKS COLUMN: Build Sullivan's Elementary and be done with it
So these folks showed up at Sullivan's Island Town Council Tuesday night to lay out their proposal for a new elementary school.
They had enlisted former first lady Jenny Sanford to help persuade everyone that Sullivan's Island Elementary should be rebuilt in Stith Park on the back side of the island.
In a letter to the paper last week, Sanford said this group is “concerned about the tenor of the current debate.”
Well, who do you think is responsible for that?
The council voted a long time ago, after several public hearings, to allow the school district to rebuild Sullivan's Elementary on the same spot where it has sat for 60 years. This “new” idea to build at Stith Park was considered and rejected by council years ago. Apparently some people were not aware of that.
See, the question here isn't why council is refusing to consider an alternative.
The question is: Why are we still talking about this?
Is this about money?
Sanford said her group wants “consensus.”
Well, council looked at Stith Park and land near Sunrise Presbyterian two years ago, then unanimously decided the old site is best. Sounds like consensus, doesn't it?
That should be the end of it, but in politics today people who don't like a decision keep pushing until they get what they want.
That's not democracy, it's bullying.
This group wants to move the school from one residential neighborhood to another, build the new school on an old park — and then turn the old site into a new park. Huh?
Sanford also mentioned using the school property for “private residential lots.” Since it's beachfront and all.
So this is about money? For a long time the town's policy has been to preserve land, not make a quick buck off it — an admirable position.
On Tuesday, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Perkis reviewed council's original findings on Stith Park, diffusing the arguments that the site would be better or cost less. And then council passed a resolution reaffirming its original decision.
“Since they said they want a 500-student school, I'm looking forward to them joining our coalition,” Perkis said.
Don't hold your breath.
Buck up, school board
Next week, school board members will finally vote to begin construction of the new school — unless they chicken out.
It's pretty disingenuous of these alternative-site school people to say their plan could be built faster. The only reason Sullivan's Elementary has languished this long is because folks who oppose it have been threatening lawsuits. You know, since it's the town's fault that they didn't chime in back when this was up for debate. Where's that personal responsibility now?
The school board should note that the turnout Tuesday was at least 8-to-1 in favor of the school as planned. So they had better show the same backbone Town Council has displayed during all this and get moving.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.