BURLINGTON – The Burlington city council approved a controversial request this week that will allow the school superintendent Yaw Obeng to work remotely from Arizona, flying in to Vermont one day a month for face-to-face meetings with staff. This arrangement is unusual, as Burlington law requires the superintendent to live within the city limits. The decision set off a flurry of protests online as residents asked the city council for an explanation.
“I don’t see a problem,” said council president Kurt Wright. “He doesn’t live in Burlington anyway, so this really isn’t much of a change. I think he has demonstrated that he can effectively run the schools without meeting with parents or teachers very often, and I don’t think most people will notice much of a difference.”
Obeng originally chose Hawaii as his preferred choice of residence, but some council members became skittish about the location after seeing a video of lava consuming a car on the internet. They asked Obeng to compromise and choose another place to live, and Arizona emerged as the compromise.
“Arizona is going to be great for my family,” Obeng said. “They consistently have the highest rated high schools in the country, and I want my children to have a good education. I think most parents in the community will understand this, as education is important to all of us. And I will be available from Scottsdale to chat via either Skype of Google Hangout every Thursday from 4:15-5:00 PM Arizona time. I think we’re going to get a lot accomplished.”
Obeng cited, in addition to better educational opportunities for his family, the fact that he could not afford a home in Burlington, despite making three times the median income.
Image Credits: VTDigger.