Prepared Text for Board Meeting –
Marc A. Schare,
I plan to make a motion to change the 2008-2009 calendar proposal in the following way.
1) Remove the election day holiday.
2) Have the school year end one day earlier, on June 10 instead of June 11.
Let me briefly state the main reason why I am making this motion. There is compelling evidence that getting election day off is a legislative and/or bargaining priority for unions, primarily so they can use the time to campaign, drive voters to the polls and so forth. There is also a 50-50 chance that Worthington Schools will have an operating levy on the ballot in November, 2008. I believe it is paramount that this board avoid even the appearance of providing a benefit to our employees for political purposes that the rest of society does not receive.
I want to be very, very clear here. There is absolutely no evidence that anyone in the Worthington Education Association or the Worthington Classified Association subjectively or objectively influenced the calendar process for political purposes or that the subject ever even came up in the calendar committee, however, that does not negate the issue.
The stated reason for our providing election day off is student safety. In most areas, the administration follows a standard of “best practices” when proposing initiatives, however, in this case, the administration reports that not one other school district in central Ohio takes off on election day, that there has not been a single incident related to student safety anywhere in the United States related to election day and that both we and the board of elections have already taken steps to avoid many of the problems that were encountered in November of 2004.
Having school during the presidential election has at least five very positive benefits.
First, our students can witness, first hand, democracy in action. There is something magical about seeing ordinary people line up to directly influence the direction of the state and the country.
Second, for the majority of taxpayers that do not have kids in the district and happen to vote in a district hosted polling place, they get the opportunity to see, first hand, the reason why we periodically ask them for money.
Third, who wouldn’t trade a cold, dark November day for a bright, sunny day in June.
Fourth, we would have an extra day in June to be used as a calamity day if needed. The current calendar gives us a margin of error of one day, modifying the calendar as suggested here would give us two.
Fifth, maintaining school on election day would make it easier for our residents who would not be tasked with getting child care or making other arrangements on a day when most taxpayers are working.
I am not blind to the
safety argument, however, the vast majority of school
districts have determined that it is certainly manageable. If