When David Bressman was looking for a school district in which to raise his sons, he chose Worthington, he said, for a simple reason: More than any other central Ohio district, it invested in teachers and programs rather than bricks and mortar.
Both of the Bressman boys have graduated, and he has been on the Worthington Board of Education for 12 years. He is still committed to program-centered education, though, and wants to be elected to another four-year term to make sure the district continues to invest in students, he said.
Especially now, with district finances in their best condition in years, it is important to make sure the money is spent wisely, he said.
"In my 12 years on the board, we have always been in a 'how much can we cut and how much can we save?' mode," Bressman said. "We are starting to come out of that."
He said he looks forward to the flexibility a financial cushion provides.
Unlike some of his colleagues, Bressman is not willing to commit to making the last levy last through 2017, though. That could be dangerous, he said, as the price tag on some of the new state-mandated programs is not yet known.
For example, he said, more staff members could be needed to fully implement the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, which just is getting started.
"That is why we should talk next year about extending the levy," he said.
Allowing more flexibility in building accounts also might help the teachers, he said.
He recalled visiting Worthington Estates Elementary School last year and learning that teachers really wanted a cart for the school's computers.
"How many more of those needs are out there in our buildings?" he asked.
Bressman said he has seen some progress made in some areas where he has taken the lead, such as in hiring a full-time staff person to address culture and climate. That person works on such issues as drug abuse and bullying, a subject Bressman feels passionate about because of his own family's experiences, he said.
Much remains to be done to make sure every student feels safe coming to school, he said.
"I think we've just scratched the surface on the girls' side of bullying," he said.
Bressman said he also is pleased that the board has heard more presentations in recent months and that the board and Superintendent Thomas Tucker have set goals for the district. The goals are being implemented and will be reviewed in May and adjusted in June or July.
"This will be like a truth serum for the district," Bressman said. "Setting goals is what a business does. It requires accountability."
He has accepted the endorsement of the Worthington Education Association (WEA) and said he believes a teachers union endorsement is not a conflict of interest for a board member.
He was endorsed during his last campaign, and the board and teachers soon afterward came to a contract agreement that was favorable to the board, he said.
"Why are we creating hostility where there shouldn't be any?" he said, referring to board candidates Jennifer Best and Marc Schare, who declined a request to interview for a WEA endorsement this season.
Bressman's education includes a bachelor's degree from the University of Dayton and a law degree from the Ohio State University College of Law.
He owns the law office of David A. Bressman Co., L.P.A.
Election Day is Nov. 5, but early and absentee voting began Oct. 1.