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Letter: Referendum ‘not about us — it’s about them’

By MacKenzie Brandt, Worthington

The referendum is such a big — an important — topic in our small corner of Minnesota right now. We all like to think that we know what’s best and how that should be done our way or the highway. However, this referendum is not not about us. It’s about them.

I was fortunate enough to spend a day in a high school classroom over my holiday break from college, as my brother is a new high school English teacher in Worthington. His first class of the day is comprised of 31 students, one paraprofessional, one co-teacher and one student volunteer. His classroom has 30 desks. You do the math. These students are packed into a classroom like sardines for 90 minutes, four times a day. I don’t know about many of you, but if I was in that scenario, I would find it incredibly difficult to learn or feel like I would be given adequate time for any help I might need.

Because of this issue of not having enough space, our teachers in District 518 have gone above and beyond to make time to answer questions and provide extra assistance with the hope of giving their students the one-on-one time they deserve. However, if there is something we as a community can do to support our students and their ability to learn, I believe we should do it. Let’s share the awe of learning with our kids by showing them our support for their education. It’s about them.

Some may say to me “you don’t pay taxes; you don’t understand the hardships this could be on someone.” My family — immediate and extended — lives and works in the district. I have worked in the Community Education gymnastics program since my freshman year of high school, and I still work with these students when I’m on break from school.  I have hopes of coming back to Worthington, working, and starting a family in the district. For young professionals, the school system in a community is the number one aspect they ask about. If a higher cost is what will help our kids and future kids in our small corner of southwest Minnesota, then I would happily pay the cost. It’s about them.

We all have our opinions about the upcoming referendum. The district has provided facts about the need for creating more space for our students’ education. Now, here are my facts, whether you care for them or not: I have young family members who are currently attending school in District 518, who will graduate from District 518. I am voting yes for them. I have my “neighbor kids” who will start school in a few short years in District 518. I am voting yes for them. Many of “my gymnasts” are attending or soon will be attending school in District 518. I am voting yes for them. I want nothing more than to do all that I can to provide the space our kids need to thrive.

It’s about them.