Worthington News

2012: the year in review

District makes the grade, passes bond issue, levy

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

It was an A-plus year in the Worthington City Schools.

The good news began in January with a grand gala at the Shops at Worthington Place, continued with the top grade on the annual state report card in October and culminated with an easy approval of a levy and bond issue in November.

Jennifer Best presided over the Worthington Board of Education in 2012. She was elected in January.

Later that month, several hundred people attended the first gala put on by the Worthington Educational Foundation at the newly renovated mall.

During the late winter and spring, the board began discussing possible sizes and scenarios for the November ballot. After many meetings of the board and with input from the public, the board decided in September to place an incremental levy and a no-new-taxes, $40 million bond issue before voters.

In May, a drug sweep of the middle and high schools netted marijuana, alcohol and drug paraphernalia at some of the schools.

The district held its first May commencement, awarding diplomas to 633 graduates May 27.

Approximately 45 teachers and principals retired at the end of the year.

In August, schools started with five new principals.

Chris Hasebrook took over at the Linworth Alternative Program, replacing Wayne Harvey, who retired.

New elementary principals were Madeline Partlow, at Colonial Hills; Cindi Montgomery, Wilson Hill; Patti Schlaegel, Granby; and Holly Coombs, Liberty.

Also in August, the board heard a report on a study of school culture, done by Hanover Research. Among the results, teachers actively support achievement; students are being well-prepared for college; and drugs and bullying are problems at both high schools.

In September, Worthington Kilbourne High School junior Alex Hendricks competed on the U.S. soccer team at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Eight high school seniors -- four from Thomas Worthington and four from Worthington Kilbourne -- were named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. They are Kimberly Lu, Casey Keegan, Christina Otani and Eva Kennedy, from Thomas Worthington; and Joshua Shu, Emily Cantrell, Jasmine Shu and Jenna Towslee from Worthington Kilbourne.

In October, a new track and football field were dedicated at Worthingway Middle School.

November brought the success of the levy and bond issue.

Voter approved the levy 53 percent to 47 percent. The levy is to be applied incrementally at 4.9 mills in 2013, 5.9 mills in 2014 and 6.9 mills in 2015 and beyond.

The bond issue was approved 62 percent to 38 percent. It is expected to raise $40 million over five years to pay for new buses, technology upgrades and improvements to district property.

Also in November, two teachers resigned after being accused of "conduct unbecoming to the teaching profession."

Brendan Bey, who taught English, speech and journalism at Thomas Worthington, was removed from his classroom Nov. 15 and placed on administrative leave. The district reported it was investigating his district-issued laptop computer.

Mario Paliotto, physical education teacher and former baseball coach at Worthington Kilbourne, resigned Nov. 14 after being removed Oct. 23 for allegedly pushing a student.

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