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Editorial: Time to vote yes

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

When assessing the future of Worthington, we must maintain the hope that our school system is able to provide the best education possible in developing today’s youths into tomorrow’s community leaders.

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This education, of course, doesn’t just happen — it requires the support of not only District 518 staff and administration, but taxpaying citizens as well. And unfortunately, the costs of doing just that are always increasing.

On Tuesday,  District 518 voters will go to the polls to decide on two ballot questions that will help shape the future of their schools. It should be noted these questions are being put forward as a result of a problem nearly every public school district would like to have — rapid growth.

Enrollment in Worthington’s public schools has continued to increase over the past few years, and that trend is projected to continue. As a result, the district’s first ballot question asks voters to address a building bond referendum for $38,975,000 that would result in construction of a new intermediate school (grades 3-5) and the addition of about 56,000 square feet to the high school, as well as some additional remodeling.

The decision to build a new intermediate school (it would go on the Prairie Elementary property) and expand the high school was made after more than two years of consideration. While it may not be, as Superintendent John Landgaard has acknowledged, the “Cadillac plan,” it is one that fulfills a variety of needs. First and foremost, it creates room for the higher student numbers and keeps classrooms from being overcrowded while maintaining — and potentially allowing for the addition of — student opportunities.

Tuesday’s second question asks for the approval of a new excess operating referendum of $1,000 per pupil unit and revokes the final year of the referendum now in place. Though the district is required by state law to put on the ballot that voters are considering a tax increase, tax in actuality would remain stable or even decrease in some cases.  Further explanation on this and other issues pertaining to the ballot questions can be seen at isd518.net.

Voting yes on both questions helps the district to continue offering a positive and ideal learning environment for students. Voting no, as we see it, only increases costs down the road while failing to address any current concerns. We urge District 518 residents to show support for their schools on Tuesday.

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