In their first joint appearance of campaign season, the two candidates for School Board intimated they would keep open minds and take site-by-site approaches on the contentious question of placing school facilities on open space.
“Everything is on the table,” said Reid Goldstein, who earlier this year won the Democratic endorsement in the race to succeed School Board member Abby Raphael.
“I’m all for novel ways” of addressing the school system’s capacity crunch, Goldstein said at the Sept. 8 Arlington County Civic Federation candidate forum. While avoiding specifics, he warned that options might include those that create “short-term pain for long-term gain.”
Brooklyn Kinlay, who has the endorsement of the Independent Green Party, said it would “be a tragedy” to have to use parkland for school construction. But she didn’t rule it out.
“Sometimes you have to use an area where you played on swings as a little kid,” Kinlay said at the forum, which attracted a full house and also featured candidates for County Board and legislative offices.
School Board posts in Virginia are officially non-partisan, but political parties can “endorse” candidacies. All five incumbent board members won the Democratic endorsement before going on to general-election victories.
Goldstein – who twice has sought a School Board seat before – expressed frustration that the school system was moving lethargically on addressing a capacity crisis that is expected to only worsen in coming years.
“We’re not moving fast enough,” he said.
Arlington Public Schools this month opened a new elementary school – Discovery – to help take pressure off neighboring North Arlington elementaries. A new elementary school for the middle or southern part of the county also is in the works; although a site has not been picked, the timetable calls for the school to be open for the 2019-20 school year.