Prepared Text for Board Meeting –
Marc A. Schare
Tonight, I have four brief comments.
First, I want to extend a personal welcome to Julie Keegan as she joins the Worthington Board of Education. There is no doubt that Ms. Keegan is one of the most prepared board members Worthington has seen in quite some time and I am absolutely certain that her advocacy will make a material difference in the lives of kids for years to come.
Second, I’d like to mention the changes to the agenda format and in particular, I’d like to see at least some mention of these changes in our local papers. The key change is the moving of the visitors comment portion of the agenda to the beginning of the meeting, following any recognitions that might be scheduled. What this means is that a citizen who wants to address the board no longer has to wait an arbitrary and unpredictable period of time in order to get their 5 minutes. If no recognition is scheduled on any given night, visitor comments will start right around . If a recognition or two is scheduled, visitor comments will follow. It is my hope that this change highlights to the community that it is a high priority for this board to hear from our constituents, even higher than hearing from each other, and we want to make it as convenient as possible for someone who wants to address us to do so with a minimum of fuss.
Third, as we look out at the horizon of 2008, we will be discussing many exciting things. New technology in our classrooms, new programs for our students and a renewed emphasis on providing that elusive 21st century education for every kid that walks in the door. I was struck by the editorial in the Dispatch this morning regarding the death of Netscape, the first web browser. Technology marches on and while we joke about us grown-ups being digital immigrants, it is clear that a 21st century education must reflect a 21st century life, and that includes high speed wireless internet connections, handheld knowledge devices and the skills to use them effectively. This is not simply teaching the latest fad, these things are as fundamental to education as the pencil and the sooner that we as a country and we as a district acknowledge this, the sooner our kids will be prepared for what awaits them.
Finally, 2008 will be notable for what we do not do. For the fourth year in a row, there is no requirement for an operating levy to be on the ballot in the Worthington School District, and while our 2009 levy should be no surprise to anyone, our constituents should realize that reasonable levys at reasonable intervals are required for an otherwise flat funded public education system and it is my hope that we take advantage of this time of financial peace to discuss with our community what the meaning of the word “reasonable” is.