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Monday, August 15, 2022
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Career Center proposal needs much more review

Letter: Career Center proposal needs much more review

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Editor: At its April 28 meeting, the School Board voted to advance an ill-conceived $170 million proposal for the Arlington Career Center, which will burden the school district with annual debt payments of around $10 million per year – enough to fund a two-student reduction in class sizes.

The proposal proceeded despite no plan on what to do with the old Career Center, no plan on who will use the 450 additional seats created, and a sub-standard field (among many other defects).

But that was not the low point of the meeting. The low point came after newly elected board member Mary Kadera dared to suggest addressing those shortcomings first and then voting in June instead.

School Board chair Barbara Kanninen – who over her eight years in office has failed to develop a compelling solution to the site – tried to squelch such dissent. She “reminded” her “board colleagues” that they “are not a candidate anymore, and are not a commentator on social media or Arlnow,” and that it is “heartbreaking” for students to see dissension on the School Board.

Kanninen’s colleagues do not deserve her condescension, and the community suffers from stifled debate.

Perhaps if others had focused more thoughtfully on these issues in past years, and the School Board had engaged in more vocal debate, APS would not be in a position of mortgaging its future for a building project in search of a mission.

Open, honest communication and the ability of elected officials to respectfully disagree is a bedrock of democracy and the foundation for more effective decision-making.

Aaron Asimakopoulos, Arlington

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