notes from the Richmond Crusade for Voters School Board Candidates Forum

The Richmond Crusade for Voters held a School Board Candidates Forum at the Military Retiree’s Club at 2220 Sledd Street. It was a packed house: a room full of voters, the press, and 14 school board candidates vying for 8 of the 9 school board seats. Candidates were given 2 minutes to give an opening […]

The Richmond Crusade for Voters held a School Board Candidates Forum at the Military Retiree’s Club at 2220 Sledd Street. It was a packed house: a room full of voters, the press, and 14 school board candidates vying for 8 of the 9 school board seats.

Candidates were given 2 minutes to give an opening statement, 2 minutes to each answer the questions posed to the group, and then time for a closing statement. It was at times difficult to hear the candidates as they in turn spoke on their experience in education, what they felt was the greatest issue facing RPS, and their take on charter schools. Somehow, the majority of the candidates basically said that they were leery of charter schools, but that the Patrick Henry Initiative seemed ok and that they would consider any future applications on their merit.

  • 1st District – Kimberly Bridges is unopposed.
  • 2nd District – Kimberly B. Gray and incumbent Lisa Dawson. Has it really been almost 15 years since there has been an opposed school board race in the 2nd?!?
  • 3rd District – Norma H. Murdoch-Kitt will be the only name on the ticket. (Is Wolf going for a write-in campaign?)
  • 4th district – A race to watch. There are 4 people running, though Bert Berlin’s emphasis on neighborhood schools and Adria Graham Scott’s presence and her focus on accountability both really stand out.
  • 5th Ditrict – Incumbent Betsy Carr has quite a challenger in Mr. Mallory.
  • 6th District – The back and forth between the candidates highlighted especially the contrast between Art Burton and Chandra Smith. Burton comes across as an inspired, unstoppable fighter; Smith presents herself as reliable, level-headed and accomplished.
  • 7th District – None of the 3 candidates for the 7th district seat were present. A young man stood for Don Coleman and made closing remarks on his behalf.
  • 8th District – Two candidates will be on the ballot for the open seat, Dawn C. Page and Charles D. Willis (“ABC: Accountability, Build New Schools, Change”). Carolyn Edwards appears to making a run at a write-in candidacy.
  • 9th District – Evette L. Wilson is running unopposed.

The Richmond Crusade for Voters was founded in 1956. The organization grew out of the Council to Save Public Schools, itself initially formed to fight a January 1956 law which allowed cities in Virginia the option of closing public schools rather than integrate them.

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  1. Pingback: Oregon Hill » 5th District School Board candidates at the Crusade forum - Richmond, Virginia

  2. Scott Burger on said:

    Part of the very understandable impetus for the Patrick Henry Charter Initiative is to renovate an older school building in order to create a new, modernized school, since Wilder and Council can’t seem to get it done and seemingly regard the renovation of old downtown theaters as somehow more important.

    Ironically, from what I saw, only Art Burton, a charter school opponent, really captured the outrage of Richmond citizens towards this disturbing (mis)prioritization by our government.

    I encourage both PHCSI AND Art Burton to go get ’em and BUILD (Green) SCHOOLS NOW for all Richmond citizens!

  3. Gray on said:

    I’m disappointed in the 7th district candidates for not showing up to this event.

  4. John,

    Nice coverage. You must have been sitting right behind me given the photo above. Noteworthy was that I asked twice, that CFV President Antoine Green to give me 1 minute to ask for nominations to the charter board, and though he indicated he would, he did not follow through. This is not the first time I have been blown off by the CFV. All I wanted to do was to announce to the room that we are seeking board nominations.

    We have made it known that part of the goal to have the most diverse school in Richmond does include having a diverse board.

  5. Richard Day,
    It’s no fun being “blown off.” I’m sure you’ve never refused other groups’ requests for support or collaboration (Build Schools Now, anyone?). Maybe your posting on a previous RVANews Op/Ed will help you connect the dots:

    “I don’t think at this point the Crusade for Voters, NAACP, and the like are who PHI needs to reach out.”

    “Truthfully to reach across racial lines, there are other more significant individuals and civic leaders that we are reaching out to, and that will help a lot.”

    Full context of the quotes at: http://rvanews.com/2008/05/patrick-henry-school-given-the-tentative-ok/

    If Crusade isn’t going to help you diversify, maybe you can try “and the like.”

  6. Tichi Pinkney Eppes on said:

    Regarding Richard’s comments about being blown off by RCV – how about I have offered assistance to the PHCI to establish a PTA and to date have received no response (based on some of the blogs I have read lately I am not holding my breath waiting on a response either, I fully understand the difficulty some folks have with respecting that we may not all think alike about everything; however it is these self-imposed limitations that are detrimental to us all as a society and keep us divided on the pettiest of issues) – let’s not waste time complaining and attempting to discredit each other – there are some of us who really want to get the work done for the children!

  7. Tammy Williams on said:

    As an active PTA member and parent of a child who had to sit on the floor during assemblies at his previous school (J.L. Francis Elementary), right now charter schools aren’t priority in my book. RPS needs to “Build New Schools” and renovate the ones that are currently open. Great job Art on your comments. My son has had the experience of no toilet paper, paper towels, soap or running water in the two schools (Francis/Greene Elem.) he attended in RPS. It may be not important to some, but it wouldn’t be so funny if your child came home complaining about the lack of!!! Why can’t we as citizens of Richmond understand that the children of RPS are our future and they should be treated as such??? They shouldn’t have to be educated in less than standard buildings although they have some great teachers.

  8. Gray on said:

    I would like to know where the candidates stand on the repetitive multiple choice testing, the megazone lines, the Zero Tolerance Displinary policy, the yearly mass exodus of teachers, etc. Did any of them mention that the policies in place do more to harm the poor? Did the candidates talk about the lack of economic and racial diversity in the RPS and what they would do to attract the middle classes? Did any mention their favorite innovative educational programs? How could RPS encourage parental support?

  9. Art Burton on said:

    Dear Richard;
    I need to concur with President Greene’s decision by asking everyone to consider that Antione Greene is one of the youngest leaders in the City trying to lead the most important African American poltical organization in the state through the most important political election in this country. He is being pulled at by some of the most powerful people in this state and country all hoping to get an edge. He has been able to lead this organization for the last two years through some of the most explosive times and has placed The Crusade for Voters in a place where it has enough influence to make people cry when they dont get to speak. Currently there is no one fighting against charters schools. In fact, everyone fully understands the need for this school to be a suceess. Let’s use this moment of cover to ensure that the contracts get into place and that you have a solid plan in January. Hopefully then we will have reinforces for you and a leadership that can ensure that your community and serveral others have what they need for sucess. I have seen the amount of work you have to do and do not envy you. NAACP promised to montior and that’s all it will do. Godspeed to PHCI-I will see you at the coffeehouse on Nov 5th and hopefully we can dance and sing about the possiblities. Yours -peace- Art

  10. Gray on said:

    Art Burton, I hope you make it onto School Board -you are by far one of the best candidates running in this race. For those of you who don’t know Art Burton, check out his website http://www.burtonforchange.com/contact.html .

  11. Rachel Johnson on said:

    Mr. Burton and others, I’m sure Antione would appreciate you defending him and his organization,the Richmond Crusade for Voters. I attended the forum the other night! It was actually my first Crusade meeting. I was totally astounded by the number of people there. Go Crusade!

    Mr.Green,I believe handled himself very professionally and like a future leader here in our city and state. Whatever reason he had not to recognize Mr.Day, I’m sure it was not intentional and deliberate. Hope to see you all at the Crusade City Council Forum on August 19th!

  12. Carolyn on said:

    Thank you for putting my name under the 8th District School Board as a write in , but my name is going to be on the ballot under colon of a write in , but that’s not important because I am a write in , what’s in important is these children out here today is disappointed and not getting support from there Schools , we need to stay together and look out for our children , because they are the one is hurting , not us.?? so end this note ,let’s do the RIGHT THING ,and stop fighting against each other, because when the children see this , that’s why they act like that !!!!

  13. Carolyn on said:

    Mr Art Burt,

    Great Job at the School Board Forum , I enjoy what you said. keep up the great job !!!! (smile)

  14. OrdipperMex on said:

    I’m the only one in this world. Can please someone join me in this life? Or maybe death…

  15. RoneIngespasp on said:

    This look interesting,so far.
    If there’s anyone else here, let me know.
    Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.

    See ya,

  16. Hi Everybody – — if you don’t care, then move to the next thread – cause this post is about helping others…

    Best Selling Author Beryl Zyskind is raising tents for the children of Haiti

    Have you ever been hungry, sad, hurt and in fear? Words like “disaster” mean little when you have water, food, and clothing. But does that mean we stop caring?

    CFO Beryl Zyskind has raised for the children and victims of the Chile earthquake

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