Editor: The Arlington School Board’s credibility is being tested – and the board is failing. Trust that it represents the county, rather than ruling the county, is rapidly eroding.
School Board members violated their own announced procedures to force a name change to Washington-Lee High School without any effort to build a consensus that the change was in the best interest of the county. They also used procedural legerdemain to force a gender-neutral policy on every school, again without attempt to build a consensus.
Even the editorial page of this paper has begun to question the motives of the School Board.
Another example of School Board imposition, rather than representation, is in the works. When the new elementary school in Westover opens in the fall of 2021, it will need students to fill it. The staff recommendation to the board was a Rube Goldberg scheme to create a neighborhood school in Rosslyn, then, domino-like, force three schools to move into other locations against their wishes to finally fill Reed. Well over 1,000 families would be adversely affected, with no attempt by the School Board to build a consensus on why this highly disruptive approach is necessary.
Only a strawman alternative was discussed, designed to make the APS recommendation appear more palatable. The pre-ordained vote on the only real option is scheduled for Feb. 6.
If the interest of the community came first, the School Board should always seek to do the least damage in its decisions. It is not doing so here.
The Feb. 6 vote should be postponed and staff instructed to provide the School Board with an option to fill the new Westover elementary with the least disruptive impact on the community.
The School Board should have a real choice on behalf of the community, not create the perception that it is again pursuing a private agenda.
Michael Driggs, Arlington