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Vanessa Calloway, School Board Candidate

on January 31, 2018

Vanessa Calloway wants the state of California to change its laws and give power to school boards to decide if their districts need charter schools.

There are currently 14 charter schools in the West Contra Costa County Unified School District, 11 of which are in Richmond.

The decision to allow the charter schools to open in the district is currently made at state level by the California Department of Education. Calloway and critics of charter schools note that districts like Contra Costa lose a portion of their budgets to charter schools.

Calloway, 43, a resident of Richmond, is running for a seat on the district school board. This is her first time running for office. She currently works as a resident service coordinator for low income housing in Richmond.  
Calloway is unapologetic about her opposition to charter schools.

She said that, “when it comes to charter schools, we’re selling our babies. She complained that, “charter schools are not held to the same standard as public schools.”

A self-proclaimed “champion for students, families and employees,” Calloway said being born and raised in Richmond sparked her passion for empowering the youth. She remembers being a graduate of Kennedy High School’s class of 1993 and getting support from friends and family in Richmond to pursue her goal of being a community leader.

She has a notable track record of working with youth in Richmond as the assistant program manager at a YMCA.

Calloway, who has 20 years of experience as a community leader, including facilitating a summer internship program, says many young people, “are not prepared for the real world.”

She said some of the interns “don’t know basic math or how to take directions.”

Communication between the school board and parents is of great concern to Calloway. There is a “communication gap” between the present school board and parents, she said.

She said the school board “hears parents complain, but doesn’t listen to them.” Families in the community feel like the school board speaks over their heads by using complex information and not communicating in a timely manner, she said.

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