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Please vote on Tuesday, Feb. 13

By Steve Schnieder, District 518

This is the last of a series of columns written to share information with voters about the Worthington School Referendum that takes place next Tuesday. These are complicated issues with many, many details. Thank you for looking deeply at this issue and for making an informed decision at the polling place.

Many of you have been keeping up with new information as it has been shared, but some of us are very busy and address things last-minute. In case that’s you, here’s a recap of what the referendum is all about.

The challenge

Our schools are overfull: we are 200 students over capacity, and have grown by 1,100 students — that’s four classrooms every year — over the last 10 years. Enrollment growth is projected to continue, and that overcrowding can have a negative impact on student learning.

The proposal

The district proposes to build a new high school and reconfigure grade levels across the current elementary, middle and high school. A community-driven process chose this option because it was the most cost-effective for the long term and meets space needs at every grade level now and into the future. The cost to owners of a $115,000 home, the average value home value in Worthington, is $12.32 per month.

The impact

If the referendum is approved, space needs for all students would be met at every grade level now, and well into the future. If the referendum is not approved, the challenges will be ever increasing due to space needs. The district is substantially lower compared to Big South Conference schools on a per-student square-foot comparison; you can find this comparison on the district website.

Seek the facts

Please study the facts regarding the referendum. We know that some advocacy groups are sharing information that is confusing or misleading. Advocacy groups have free speech rights allowing them to say anything. Some residents will be bombarded with last-minute information from “Vote No” groups. In many cases, these groups hire someone who has no investment in our communities and no investment in our students’ academic success to sabotage a referendum and to divide a community. The school district is obligated by law to provide only factual information about the referendum. Please study the facts and make an informed decision when you vote.

Vote next Tuesday

Voters can report to the combined polling place at Lakeside Church, 1000 Linda Lane, Worthington between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Lakeside Church is located just east of Prairie Elementary and has an entrance on First Avenue Southwest.

You can find much more detailed referendum information at Feel free to contact us at or by phone at 372-2172 with any questions.  

We appreciate all of the community members that helped develop this proposed plan, as well as all those who have worked so hard for our students in so many ways. We are grateful for that support.

These schools are your schools. Thank you for staying informed. The future of our schools and the children of the communities we serve depends on you and your neighbors.

Steve Schnieder is a member of the District 518 Board of Education.