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Column: Nov. 5 school election an important event

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opinion Worthington, 56187
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Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

By JOHN LANDGAARD, District 518

WORTHINGTON — Election Day is quickly approaching, so please mark your calendars for Tuesday, Nov. 5. The polls for this special election will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Worthington High School Auxiliary gym. Absentee ballots were available starting Sept. 20 at the Auditor’s Office located in the Noble’s County Government Center. Please don’t forget to vote.

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0 Talk about it

So, what are you voting on in the upcoming special election, and what do you need to consider in making this important decision? Well, first of all as voters, you probably need to ask yourself a number of questions that will help in addressing the reason for this special election. A few of the questions that may be asked are:

* Will this benefit students that are educated in District 518? How will it benefit the communities of District 518?

* For the cost, will this meet the long-term needs of the district? Does it help to promote the growth of our communities?

* Fiscally, is it a plan that will be affordable yet address future needs for student education? If it were to pass or fail, what will it mean to the district and community in the future?

* Does the operating referendum continue to help support student’s educational needs?

These and many more questions will help you in determining how you will answer the two questions on the ballot. Each of us will have the opportunity to make a choice on each question on Nov. 5. The election will have a determining factor on what will occur over the next few years in programming and opportunities for students.

District 518 has spent the last two and a half years working to determine the most cost-effective manner in dealing with the future needs of our growing district. A number of meetings have taken place with open invites for residents of District 518 to participate in providing input. Based on those discussions, two options were developed. Option 1 was to build a new high school; option 2 was the intermediate school with an addition to the high school. The district believes the second option is the best, most cost-effective approach to dealing with the future needs and therefore made the decision to put this on the Nov. 5 ballot. It, of course, is easy to second-guess this decision, but after over two years of work, the district believes this plan will meet the needs that were identified.

Education is a valued commodity that continues to evolve constantly based on new regulations, mandates, laws and other expectations. Just the same as in business or farming, changes need to be made due to technology, practices, methods of teaching and other pressures to be more effective and efficient. These changes need to be accomplished in order to meet all of the needs of our students. We all make choices on a daily basis that affects our personal lives, and on Nov. 5, the choice will be to support or oppose one or both questions on the ballot. The primary question will be: “Why am I choosing to vote in favor or opposition to each of these questions on the ballot?”

I want to believe that everyone values education as a way to enhance the lives of the students. This affords them the opportunity to be successful, while promoting continued growth of our community and will provide additional benefits to the District 518 community. So, we would like to encourage your participation in the last public meeting on Thursday, Oct. 24th at Prairie Elementary.

Your choice on Nov. 5 will have a major impact on District 518, so it is important that you have your questions answered. You can review a question/answer piece on the District web site at www.isd518.net. Also, the district has provided a referendum calculator link that can provide a more accurate estimate for tax impact. The district would be more than happy to attend any meetings in order to provide additional information or answer questions, just call the district office to make arrangements.

District 518 would like to thank everyone for the past support and encouragement of our students.

John Landgaard is District 518’s superintendent.

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