INTERVIEW: Crusade for Voters president resigns - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

INTERVIEW: Crusade for Voters president resigns

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The CEO of Richmond's new charter school gives up his position with an influential political group. Some members of the Richmond Crusade for Voters say Antoine Green misrepresented their stance on charter schools. 

"He told the black caucus that the crusade supported charter schools which we don't," said William Lomax. 

Green decided to step down as president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters. He joins us to talk about what some members called a "conflict of interest".   

Q: Your decision was a bit of a surprise and came in part because of pressure from the membership. As you look back on this situation, do you think that serving as the C.E.O. at Patrick Henry and as the President of the Richmond Crusade was a conflict of interest?

A:
I don't necessarily think it was a conflict; the Patrick Henry School with a Richmond public school. The crusade has been since existence been supportive of public schools. With that being said, I don't feel necessarily it was a conflict. We have many members within which crusade -- are opposed to charter schools, opposed to Patrick Henry. I had to make a decision last night whether I was going to continue as president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters or as C.E.O. of Patrick Henry. I decided to continue my service with Patrick Henry charter school.

Q:
You say that there's been a long-standing support of public schools by the crusade?

A:
Yes.

Q:
Even though charter schools are public schools, there's a pretty big difference between traditional public schools and charter schools. Can you understand why some of the members had a problem with you serving in both roles?

A:
I think to this day, there's a lack of information shared with many of the members. Many people in the greater community about charter schools. I feel if they were greater informed about charter schools, they will take a different position.

Q:
But do you think that's a position you could have advocated for not necessarily being the head of the crusade, maybe doing as just a rank and file member?

A:
I think so. You know, in hindsight, but again, you know, I'm not sure to what extent that would have helped the situation any more. But I'm very comfortable with the decision that I made last night.

Q:
If anything, this shows that there is a pretty intense debate in Richmond. Not just within the crusade about the future of Patrick Henry. Members of the school board concerned about it. Are you concerned that this intense debate could put the opening of the school which is scheduled for this July in jeopardy at all?

A:
I am concerned. I'll be less than candid if I didn't say that. Bigger, larger debate going on and the impact it could potentially have at Patrick Henry. We're moving forward with the goals that we have to meet in terms of being able to open or on July 1.

See the video at right for the full interview. 

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