Later this month, the Worthington school board will make its decision about placing two issues – a bond and operating levy – on the November ballot.
The decision will come after an extensive two-year process of engaging our community through a facilities-planning process.
With the help of the community, district leaders have created a plan that will help address our aging facilities, balance enrollment at the high schools and increase capacity for our students. The operating levy would ensure we keep the programs we value in Worthington and the bond issue would ensure we have the capacity we need in our school buildings and address our aging facilities.
Throughout the process of determining the best facilities plan for Worthington Schools, community input has been crucial in the decision-making process. Residents can be confident in knowing that this is the community's plan.
Over the past few years, we have spoken to every school building PTA, as well as each staff member in our schools.
A community-led facilities task force assisted in the development of the plan that was presented to the school board last December. To reach our community members that do not have children in our schools, we have organized coffee events and met with civic groups.
For those unable to attend a meeting, there were opportunities to participate in online surveys.
The district also set up a "ThoughtExchange" website to facilitate conversations. We were pleased that 1,400 community members participated in the ThoughtExchange and provided more than 600 ideas. After the comments were shared, participants were able to rate each one.
In total, district leaders attended and/or participated in more than 50 events and each one of these have provided an opportunity to share our challenges and receive great feedback.
Thank you for being a part of these important conversations. But communication doesn't stop with a decision to go on the ballot.
Our goal is to make sure as many of our residents as possible are informed about our plans for the future of our schools. Whether you have children in our schools or not, we all have something at stake.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please continue to take part in the conversation.
Trent Bowers is superintendent of Worthington Schools. Contact him by email at email@example.com.