The school board race in Worthington is arguably the most significant and contested race on our local ballot. With the withdrawal of Rob Schmidt, the City Council race is uncontested, and there is really not much of an opposition to the Library Levy. The race for the Worthington School Board is a different story.
The incumbents in this race are David Bressman, Jennifer Best and Marc Schare. Since we can examine records for each of these candidates, I feel it would be prudent to learn about the challenger Sam Shim. Shim is campaigning on values as a parent and a community leader. He stresses the fact that he is the only candidate who has children in the district, and that he is fiscally conservative.
Shim, like Bressman, has accepted the endorsement of the Worthington Education Association. While this is not unusual, some on the board feel that there is a conflict of interest with being endorsed by an organization that you will be negotiating with if elected. He also has the endorsement of the Franklin County Democratic Party, which may raise some flags when running in a race that is traditionally nonpartisan.
Shim also has another intriguing alliance with Wellstone. Wellstone considers themselves the “premier training center for the progressive movement…”. The Board and Advisors of this group includes progressives Rep. Keith Ellison, Senator Al Franken, and Francis Fox Piven. This is not meant to be derogatory toward Shim, as he appears to be proud of this relationship as quoted in a blog on the Wellstone site:
“I use your book, Winning Your Election the Wellstone Way, as our bible for the campaign. I have three copies so I can give it to volunteers. I’ve done several other political trainings and nothing compares to a Wellstone training.”
Is Sam Shim a fiscal conservative? You decide. According to a July 2012 article from This Week Community News he was in favor of a larger levy than was passed in 2012. Worthington residents passed an incremental levy that began at 4.9 mills, then increases by 1 million each subsequent year. Shim was in favor of a 6.9 mills non-incremental levy so that it could be combined with the bond issue, and put to a single vote. This would have increased the total size of the levy by 3 million.
Speaking of this levy, the purpose of putting this to the voters was because of concern that they would lose some of their state funding. As it turns out, districts received more money than expected, meaning a significant surplus (estimates of $55 million in Worthington). How to manage this surplus should be considered when selecting the candidates to support.
Below are some additional resources on these candidates as well as other races on the ballot.