Sullivan's Island school debate ends with judge's order

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- Controversy over the new classrooms being built along the Sullivan's Island oceanfront seems to coming to an end.

"Everybody didn't get their way, but design issues are in the eye of the beholder," said Jerry Kaynard, Sullivan's Island mayor pro tem.

Kaynard says he and town council members continue to prepare for the opening of the town's new elementary school.

Last Friday, a judge ruled in favor of a group of citizens who claimed town leaders acted illegally when they ignored a 2011 petition opposing the size of the school. But Judge Markley Dennis also ruled the petition was invalid.

The plaintiffs thought a referendum should have been held to determine the size and scope of the new elementary school on I'On Avenue.

"I think what the judge ruled is is that we are legislators and as legislators we have a legislative duty, an obligation. What our function is as members of town council. And he said we did that and we acted correctly," said Kaynard.

Those involved in the lawsuit issued a statement, saying "while we will not get the chance to vote, at least we heard a judge tell our elected officials that what they did was illegal."

"We own the land. The school board decided the size of the school," said Kaynard.

He doesn't think town leaders did anything illegal, but he does believe planning and preparation for the massive 72,000 square feet of educational space included input from everyone who cared to attend dozens of public meetings.

"We had more people comment on the design of this school than I think any project on Sullivan's Island has ever had. More participation than ever in the history of the island and that's a good thing," said Kaynard.

ABC News 4 tried repeatedly to reach the people who sued the town but no one returned calls for comment. The $26.5-million school is still scheduled to open in August.