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Letter: Our students deserve the best we can give them

By Beth Rickers Namanny, Worthington

Shortly after I turned 18 years of age, there was a school board election. My dad made a point of taking me to the polling place, where I registered and cast my first vote. I came away that day with two clear messages that I still believe more than 35 years later: Voting is a civic duty; and supporting local education is important.

I am currently employed as a paraprofessional at District 518’s Prairie Elementary School, and every day I see how space issues keep both teachers and students from doing their best jobs. I recently helped with one-on-one assessments for my first-grade students and could not find a private nook or cranny where they could listen and take the test free of distraction. The spaces that were originally designed for such private endeavors have now been consumed for regular classroom space.

But I support the upcoming bond referendum not because District 518 is my employer. I voted for the last referendum before going to work at Prairie and would support this one no matter my occupation because I believe in local education. My husband and I have no children, so it would be easy for us to shrug our shoulders and say the issue isn’t important to us.

But it is. We both attended Worthington schools and came away with good educations because those who came before us made an investment in our future. In today’s world, there are many more obstacles and challenges in education, and students deserve the best facilities and tools so they can be educated and help make our community a vibrant and future-focused place to live and thrive.

I know there are those of you who have firmly made up your minds to vote against the referendum. I hope you did due diligence — took the time to tour the facilities, looked into the faces of our future citizens and leaders and then weighed those needs against the exact financial impact for you. I hope your decision isn’t based on emotions swayed by an inflammatory campaign orchestrated by a pot-stirring outsider who has made a career out of undermining public education in communities across our region.

Please give thoughtful and informed consideration to the upcoming vote. It is important to our community’s future.