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ArlingtonSchool Board kickoff announcements on horizon

School Board kickoff announcements on horizon

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Candidates seeking the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s endorsement for the open School Board seat on the November ballot are likely to converge on the party’s monthly meeting, to be held April 6.

At that meeting, county Democrats are expected to finalize the format and timing of the caucus that will select a candidate to run for the seat currently occupied by Barbara Kanninen, who is not seeking re-election. Caucus voting is likely to take place in June, in advance of the June 21 deadline to file for the general election.

Earlier this year, an attempt was made to convince leaders of the party to eliminate the caucus, which critics say produces candidates unrepresentative of the diversity of Arlington residents. That proposal was overwhelmingly rejected.

Almost since the time in the 1990s that Arlington regained the power to elect School Board members, Democrats have used the caucus format so the party goes into the general election with a single candidate.

The gambit largely has worked; the last School Board member who won election without the Democratic imprimatur was David Foster, who served as an independent from 2000-07.

The current School Board, whose five members are all Democrats, has seen enormous turnover in recent years. In 2020, Tannia Talento and Nancy Van Doren opted not to seek re-election after service of four and six years, respectively. In 2021, Monique O’Grady left after four years of service.

Kanninen, the current board’s longest tenured member, is departing after eight years.

The April 6 Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting will be held beginning at 7 p.m. at Lubber Run Community Center, and also will be streamed online.

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