When he was elected to the Worthington Board of Education eight years ago, Marc Schare was viewed with skepticism by some local education insiders. Were his views too extreme for the community?
According to a long list of personal endorsements he has received during this election campaign, the answer appears to be no. In fact, he has earned accolades from conservatives and liberals, former board members and administrators, congressmen and senators.
According to former assistant superintendent Paul Cynkar, Schare has "reduced polarization and promoted a level of community collaboration not seen in the Worthington school district before."
Schare is proud of his many endorsements and is proud of the financial condition of the district, the many programs that have been started with only cost-shifting over the past eight years and the role he has played in the progress that has been made.
Schare has reached out to state legislators on the Worthington school district's behalf. His testimony and the relationships he has built at the Statehouse played some part in the most recent state budget that sent more money back into the local district's coffers than was expected, he said.
At least in part because state lawmakers decided to continue reimbursing districts like Worthington for the discontinued tangible personal property tax, Worthington's latest five-year forecast will reflect $60 million in the bank at the end of 2018, he said.
He had lobbied strongly for the continuing reimbursement, which could mean tens of millions of dollars to the district in the future, Schare said.
When the board made the case for a levy last year, it promised it would last three years. Now it will be five or more, Schare said.
"Financially, we're stable and secure, and we shouldn't need a levy until 2017 if we continue to operate the district in a conservative way," he said.
Academically and programmatically, the district is also in great shape, he said.
Over the past eight years, the district has added programs such as the Phoenix alternative middle school, the International Baccalaureate program at Worthington Kilbourne, STEM programs at both high schools and a business academy at Thomas Worthington High School.
Those programs are very important to Schare, who said he believes strongly that every student needs to find a place to belong in high school.
"We are providing schools that fit the kid rather than the other way around," he said.
Schare said he also is proud of the credibility and transparency created by the board. Those did not exist eight years ago, he said.
Some residents might not like what the figures in the budget are, but they can find not only the figures but also the reasoning behind the figures, he said.
"Credibility is a big part of what I am running on and is why the TPP (tax) issue is so important to understand," he said. "When the board speaks, we keep our promises."
Schare is a semi-retired software developer with degrees in mathematics and computer science.
He is unusual in that he does not accept donations, preferring to fund his own campaign.
"I do this because I have a passion for public service," he said. "Self-funding the campaign is part of giving back."