Star-Telegram endorsement: Open seat on Arlington school board | Opinion

Arlington voters have three solid choices to fill Place 3 on the school district’s board of trustees. We give an edge to April Williams Moore, a Realtor who displayed a strong sense of what the district needs going forward.

Williams Moore, 38, touts extensive involvement in the school district as a volunteer. But in our interview with the candidates, she was also strong on two high priorities for Arlington. To boost student achievement, she wants to focus on retaining the best teachers and moving resources to the students struggling the most.

On the district’s significant budget shortfall, Williams Moore suggested that Arlington could have temporarily rehired more retirees rather than adding full-time staff with federal COVID money. Many of those staffers are now being let go.

She was also the candidate who most recognized the need for schools to position themselves to compete by offering students more and better choices. Williams Moore, who lives in the Parkway North neighborhood in northwest Arlington, suggested more district partnerships with colleges and workforce training opportunities.

Attorney Larry Mike, 45, is the candidate with the most establishment backing, including Mayor Jim Ross. He would bring a businesslike demeanor to the board and no doubt be a responsible member.

But Mike, who lives in the Ditto area of North Arlington, seemed eager to blame the district’s problems entirely on the state, especially on funding and assessment tests. Those are indeed serious issues where the Legislature needs to help districts more, but trustees need to push districts to be adaptive, too.

Kathi Arocha, 60, brings the perspective of a substitute teacher, a job she took after a career in business. She understands what campuses need. The central Arlington resident raised concerns about too much student reliance on technology and the practice of social promotion, questioning whether students are being advanced without mastering subjects.

All Arlington school board seats are at-large, meaning every voter in the district can participate. The winner will serve a three-year term. Early voting begins Monday and ends April 30; Election Day is May 4.

April Williams Moore
April Williams Moore