The “Alfred E. Neuman ‘What, Am I Worried?’ Award” of the week goes to Arlington Superintendent Francisco Dúran.
The superintendent has come under fire from the county government’s Joint Facilities Advisory Committee, fearing that the $708 million Durán claims to have available to him for future capital expenditures is, according to estimates by the county government. county government, actually only $466 million.
In response, the superintendent said he spoke to county executive Mark Schwartz and was given the go-ahead to move forward as planned.
Schwartz “made it very clear with us that he wasn’t concerned,” Durán told school board members. “He reassured us that it was not a problem.”
And indeed, there could be perfectly logical explanations for the $242 million discrepancy. But for those of us in the community scratching our heads, it’s time to employ Ronald Reagan’s old saying: Trust, but verify.
The school system needs to do a lot more to explain the details to the public than last week’s response, believe us, we have it all under control.
The school board then meets on June 23. Hopefully there will be a viable explanation offered in layman’s terms. Because the school system shouldn’t embark on another round of major infrastructure improvements without the whole community having a clear idea of how much money is available. It would be much better to clarify this now.
Looking wider: inflation is raging, interest rates are skyrocketing, and school board members have reverted to the tricks of their predecessors by adorning each new facility and educating the public (as the president did School Board Barbara Kanninen on the Arlington Career Center project) they should be glad it’s not more expensive.
And as was the case before the 2008-2009 recession, today’s school board members (none who served then) seem unable to recognize that financial reality may soon hit them full. face. The flow of money is not unlimited and the prospect of an impending recession (or worse) could cause the tap to turn off despite county council members’ best efforts to enforce a willing population in the hospice.
It would be much better to clarify this now.
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