[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
In the run-up to this past June’s Democratic School Board caucus pitting incumbent Reid Goldstein against challenger David Priddy, we opted to take no position. In fact, had Priddy actually run a more targeted, aggressive campaign, he might have won our nod (for all the good that might do, which historically has proved to be not that much).
Our concern with Goldstein at the time was not so much his individual performance, but the fact that his initial burst of common-sense governance when taking office nearly four years ago – particularly in asking tough questions and trying to keep his colleagues’ fiscal profligacy to a minimum – seems to have dissipated over time.
Goldstein came to be seen, and not just by us, as more a go-along-to-get-along kind of board member.
Despite a clear dissatisfaction with the School Board among various factions in Arlington, Goldstein ended up with a convincing victory over Priddy, and is unopposed for a second four-year term in the Nov. 5 election.
Being unopposed does not guarantee our endorsement; a candidate has to have hit a minimum threshold of qualifications and, for incumbents, is held to a baseline standard of performance.
Goldstein is a good guy, and if his voluminous questioning of staff and consultants from the board dais tends to aggravate his colleagues, those questions often elicit answers that otherwise would not have been heard by the public.
He’s no Abby Raphael – a former School Board member whose skills as a prosecutor were on display beautifully when she would try to get to the crux of any matter during board meetings – but Goldstein is often the only one these days asking more than perfunctory questions. And for that, the community should be grateful.
There has to be little joy in serving on a School Board, in Arlington or anywhere. It’s in-the-weeds work for little public acclaim, minimal pay and a fair amount of abuse. So we do have (some) sympathy for our board members.
Perhaps it is in that spirit of charity that we believe REID GOLDSTEIN is deserving of our endorsement for School Board.
We just hope that Goldstein, in his second term, will build on the traits we saw in his first year or two on the board and not just keep asking the tough questions, but find ways to bring his board colleagues along on the road to fiscal responsibility in a school system that spends an obscene amount of money yet can’t seem to surmount persistent problems, like a seemingly intractable achievement gap.
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As a reminder, the Sun Gazette already has endorsed County Board member Katie Cristol, state Sens. Barbara Favola (D-31st) and Janet Howell (D-32nd), Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48th), Sheriff Beth Arthur, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy and Treasurer Carla de la Pava for re-election.
More endorsements are on the horizon.