May 05 2013

Dear Editor: Response to Carl Smith from Mike Perkis

Dear Editor,


In Carl Smith’s latest letter to the editor he attempts to escape responsibility for his mismanagement of the rebuilding of our local public school. Carl has flip-flopped from being a supporter to trying to kill the school and has ignored the “will of the people” who have approved over and over the plans for the new school. For example, his letter stated that the Charleston County School Board never voted on their 500 student building specification for SIES. The fact is they DID vote and more than once as detailed below.


➢ In their November 26, 2009 meeting the Board of Trustees voted to approve the 500-student replacement school for SIES.

➢ In their September 13, 2011 meeting the Board of Trustees approved a motion to affirm this previous decision of the Board and continue with rebuilding the school for 500 students.

➢ In addition since 2009, when Carl met with the superintendent, through 2011 when Carl signed several resolutions supporting the rebuilding of SIES with an enrollment of up to 500 enrollment, he has been aware of and supportive of a 500-student elementary school.


This factual information is part of the public record and I can assure you that the September 13, 2011 meeting was especially well attended by many Sullivan’s Island residents including the current mayor. Frankly, does it really matter whether 500 students is a policy, a spec or a strategy? It is the approved cost effective approach by a Board that is responsible for over $1 billion in capital projects.


More importantly, this is not an election about individuals, or the school issue, but rather it makes a statement about our community. The tragedy is that a handful of residents continue to portray “island values” as elitist and frankly un-welcoming. That is not the island I love and call home. The vast majority of our residents are excited to provide the 469 kids already registered for the 2013-2014 school year with the opportunity to be educated in a supportive, enriching and welcoming school environment.


It has to be asked – Will having 31 more children ages 4-11 disrupt our way of life? No, of course it won’t. We have churches on the island with many more “off-island “ members and they are welcome just as these precious and impressionable children are welcome.


I have committed to run a civil, respectful campaign. Clarifying inaccuracies are part of being a trustworthy leader and leaders do not repeat inaccuracies as if they are the truth. He has been divisive constantly ignoring what all the other members of Council have consistently approved.


Statements that are not borne out by the facts and negatively effect the image of our wonderful community must be brought to the attention of the public. It is time to stop and heal our community and to make sure the image of our family friendly seaside community is not tarnished any more.


Mike Perkis

Mayor Pro Tem



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  1. Write in Carl Smith for Mayor

    • barbara spell on May 6, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Mr. Perkis actually asks in his letter if it matters whether the 500-student requirement is a policy of the school district or just a strategy or a spec! A 76,000 SF SPEC??? It actually matters a great deal to a great many people whether our elected officials misrepresent the facts. SI residents were told over and over (and over) by CCSD and Town Council that the 500-student minimum was a school district policy. Former school board chairman Chris Fraser told Channel 4 in October 2011 that no exception to that policy would be made for Sullivan’s Island. There are numerous references over the past two years in both CCSB minutes and SITC minutes to CCSD’s 500-student “policy”–not a just a spec, not just a strategy, but a board-approved policy. So, yes–it matters!

    • Martha Smith on May 6, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Flip flop is a negative term for changing one’s mind on a particular issue. Mayor Carl Smith had the courage to reverse his approval of the SIES project when it became blatantly obvious that the massiveness of the structure was inappropriate on every level for a barrier island. Mr. Perkis, why do you continue to refer to those opposed to the proposed school as a “handful of residents”? Without a vote, how do you know? I am also weary of you, Mr. Perkis, calling us elitists and un-welcoming. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, if the “elitist shoe” fits you and the other council members, then wear it.

    • Karen Coste on May 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    On May 7th, the people of Sullivan’s Island will vote. I believe that Carl Smith will prevail. His re-election will be the first step islanders will take together as we bring common sense and respect for the rule of law back to our town. Just the first step…

    • barbara spell on May 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Article from ABC News 4 dated October 12, 2011. Interesting quotes about school size from both Chris Fraser, former school board chairman, as well as the chair of the SIES rebuilding committee school size. Read on….

    Islanders at odds over school construction; Some say petition was misleading

    Posted: Oct 12, 2011 6:33 PM EDTUpdated: Oct 16, 2011 3:42 PM EDT
    Related Links

    By Natalie Caula

    SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — Recently a group of people on Sullivan’s Island went around getting signatures for a petition that would call for a referendum, but some argue they were misled into signing it.

    “I think the problem is that it’s filled with half truths,” Loren Ziff said.

    “The problem here is that I think everyone on the island would prefer a smaller school,” Ziff said. “There’s no question about that, but the political reality is that we are either going to get a 500 student school of about 73,000 square foot or we will get no school. There is no gray. There is no in between.”

    Barbara Spell, with the group Islanders for a Smaller School, says that’s not true and says they clearly explained to people what the petition is about.

    “The purpose of the petition was to give people a voice. So, that was our purpose all along,” Spell said. “People signed it. It said specifically on there the purpose of this petition is to go to referendum on the size and scope of this school.”

    Charleston County School Board chairman Chris Fraser says several years ago the board decided that 500 student schools are the most efficient option district-wide. He says the district has even closed under-enrolled schools based on that principle.

    “The board directed the district to follow that guideline which basically supported having a 500 person elementary school as the most efficient way to operate,” Fraser said.

    The board chairman says if they make an exception for Sullivan’s Island Elementary, it would set a new precedent, which is not cost effective.

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