The Charleston County School District (CCSD) is the second largest in the state. It serves more than 50,000 students in 85 schools and programs in eight constituent school districts. Within the Berkeley County School District (BCSD), there are 44 public schools and six magnet schools which serve nearly 35,000 students. The Dorchester School District Two is one of the fastest-growing in the state, with nearly 26,000 students.
The choices are varied and plentiful – public, county-wide, partial and constituent magnet, Montessori and charter – all with particular niches that appeal to various buyers with children.
“We moved a few times and we’ve always looked for areas that have great public schools,” Andrea Maurer said. “In choosing Mount Pleasant as our home, the quality of the public schools played a major role in our decision to move here.”
Maurer has two boys; Kieran attends Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, and Connor goes to Cario Middle School.
“We did our research,” she said. “We decided that Pinckney ES/Cario Middlle School District was the best fit for us. Five years later, we’re happy with the decision we made.”
Maurer moved to Carolina Park, a large, master-planned community, and said that her sons can get to school in minutes. “It’s so incredibly convenient to be so close to great schools and recreational fields.”
Homebuyers with children do their research before even beginning a home search. They seek out those districts whose schools “make the grade,” in terms of what they and their children’s interests and needs are. More and more developers are recognizing that’s a major factor when a family chooses a home. School districts and proximity to them sway many buyers to settle into those types of communities.
“Buyers are savvy and 100 percent of them do their research when it comes to choosing a school,” said Danielle Traverse of Carolina One Real Estate. “I find that most buyers know the area they want to live in and they’ve done a lot of preparation to determine what school district they want to be in.”
Traverse said that most of her out-of-town buyers will visit the area during spring break and start exploring with their children in tow.
“They (buyers) want to see their children’s reaction at the beginning,” Traverse explained. “The husband and wife will come back a couple of weeks later, sometimes alone, and typically decide after that.”
Most homebuyers who are moving in order to get into a particular school district want to “get settled” in the summer, Traverse said.
“Especially those who are from another area,” she said. “They get acclimated; enjoy the beaches, downtown and all our area has to offer before that busy school time starts.”
Traverse lists a four-bedroom, three and a half bath home in Carolina Park in the low $500,000s. Referred to as Carolina Park’s “Knowledge Hub,” Wando High School, Oceanside Collegiate Charter School, Carolina Park Elementary and the Wando Center for Advanced Studies are within the neighborhood’s borders. A new pre-school, slated for opening in August of this year, plus a 40,000 square feet, state-of-the-art library will be open this summer. Carolina Park is also zoned for Cario Middle School, District 2 in Charleston County.
“We chose to move to Charleston County,” Natalie Duvall, a mother of three said. “Once my children were of school age, we decided to make the move. It took several years to be able to get everything lined up, but we eventually made it to the area we wanted to be in.”
Duvall lives on James Island and their neighborhood, Bayview Farms, which she said is “extremely family friendly with a pool and other amenities,” is zoned for Stiles Point Elementary School, Camp Road Middle School and James Island Charter High, District 3 in Charleston County.
“I’m a former elementary schoolteacher and I subbed at Stiles Point before I got a permanent job in Charleston County,” she said. “I fell in love with the school and wanted my children to go there. Our buying decision was based on this school district -- the school’s ratings, other parents’ opinions, but mostly my own experience first-hand.”
Duvall‘s three children, ages eight and five attend Stiles Point elementary and her three-year-old begins kindergarten there next year.
“We sold our home (before moving) and then lived in a rental for a year until we found the perfect home for us,” Duvall said. “It was worth it – to move twice, so that our kids got the education we thought was best for them.”
Reach Brigitte Surette at email@example.com.