Official invitations have yet to be sent, but the Richmond Crusade for Voters wants to hear personally from the 26 Richmond business leaders who signed an Aug. 3 letter calling for an end to Richmond's elected school board.
The Crusade, a black civic coalition with roots in citywide education issues, supported and worked to pass the 1993 referendum item creating Richmond's current elected school board system.
"At our Tuesday [Aug. 21] Crusade meeting, I informed our membership of my intentions to call a special meeting for the sole purpose of discussing and debating this issue," says Antione Green, the Crusade's president. A date and time for the special meeting has yet to be set, he says, but the event is likely to be co-sponsored by the Richmond NAACP.
Though none of the 26 letter signers has been officially asked to attend, Green says, "I think it's important that they come before us as an organization for the purpose of helping us form a position on this issue."
Appearing before the Crusade seems appropriate considering the organization's history. Founded in 1956, the group was predated by its parent organization, the Council to Save Public Schools, which began as a group fighting a law allowing Virginia cities to close public schools rather than integrate them.
Though the Crusade supported an elected board, changing that position would be far from a reversal of the organization's platform, Green says. Student success and improvement of the school system remains the Crusade's central objective, he says.
"I think there are a lot of good things that the school system is doing for the children of Richmond Public Schools," he says, calling a revisiting of the elected system worthy of discussion. "At the same time I think there's a great need for additional improvement in Richmond Public Schools that I think has to be collectively addressed by the school board, the community and the superintendent and her administration." Click here for more News and Features