As a real estate agent, many of my clients moving here from outside the Charleston region have already developed concerns about overcrowded schools and dated educational facilities.
I understand their anxiety, having dealt with it myself when our family relocated to Charleston more than eight years ago.
Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, my husband and I were accustomed to Blue Ribbon public schools.
We also knew our parents paid for that opportunity through high property taxes.
Ultimately, when deciding where to enroll our older daughter, we opted for Ashley Hall.
After kindergarten, our daughter was afforded the opportunity to transfer to Buist Academy. The move came when Buist was still in the old Wando High School.
At the time, it was an overcrowded facility, leaving many students to spend the day in what were generously labeled "learning cottages."
It was a tough two years for our family.
And we weren't alone. It's hard to drop your child off at school when you know she'll spend the next eight hours in cramped, out-of-date quarters.
The environment where your child is educated unquestionably impacts his or her ability to learn, and we experienced that firsthand. Our daughter didn't have the same excitement about school, or the same sense of pride when a parent or child asked her where she attended.
Fast forward to today, and the contrast is shocking. It's wonderful to see the excitement and pride our daughter and her classmates have for their remarkable new facility on Calhoun Street. Spacious classrooms, upgraded technology and more - an extraordinary learning environment.
Our family was very fortunate, but there are others in Mount Pleasant, West Ashley and North Charleston dealing with overcrowding and subpar facilities every day.
It's why I am writing to encourage families to vote on Nov. 4 to extend the education capital improvement referendum.
It's the best decision for the long-term future of our community and our schools and, more importantly, it's what is best for our children.