[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

Nowhere is the disconnect between “what they say” and “what they do” more evident than when it comes to Arlington elected officials’ actions on transparency.

Local residents are promised timely information and a seat at the table when it comes to major issues confronting the community. But just as often, the promises fall by the wayside.

With a search for a new superintendent of schools on the near horizon, members of the Arlington School Board have a chance to (partially) redeem themselves for past transgressions. They can do more than talk the talk; they can walk the walk on having the public be a full partner in this search.

We’re not talking phony outreach efforts early in the game; we’re talking about publicly announcing the finalists for the job, and having them all meet the public to answer questions before a final selection is made.

These days, this is standard operating procedure for many school districts. But it hasn’t been for Arlington.

Opponents of this proposal will argue that some school bureaucrats, in or out of Arlington, might not want their names to be known. That’s fair when it comes to the initial search, but when the school system is down to four or five finalists, it’s not only reasonable for the applicants to expect they will become part of a public process, but it would be a good exercise both for them and the community.

School Board members thus far have been more than a tad sketchy on how they plan to proceed in this process. Committing to publicly announcing the finalists, and allowing the community a chance to meet and interact with them, would be a good start.

What say you, School Board members?

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