About the Race
The election for Richmond’s 8th District School Board seat occurs on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Newcomer Reverend Dana Sally Allen is running against incumbent Dawn Page, a Department of Corrections workforce specialist,.
About the District
Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 8th District encompasses the city’s Southside. The 8th District trends Democratic. In the 2018 congressional election, Rep. Don McEachin (D) won the district with over 90% of the vote.
Reverend Dana Sally Allen is a Richmond minister who has advocated for more funding and equality in the city’s schools. She is also the president of the Blackwell Civic Association and succeeded in getting parks built and streets repaved while acquiring a $20 million grant from HUD to build 96 homes in Blackwell.
Allen is running for school board on a platform of accountability, transparency, and engagement. In February, she used her position as President of the Blackwell Civic Association to advocate for and address local students’ demands for improvements to the overall quality of life and education. She also wants to use a position on the School Board to do the same.
Allen is vocal on issues of school funding, particularly in regard to racial equality in learning. She wants to train Richmond educators to be anti-racist, while also working to ensure that educators are adequately compensated for their work. Allen would work to eliminate inequalities in high-speed internet access among students, predominantly impacting students of color. She believes this would promote equality in online learning and help narrow gaps in student achievement.
Allen’s opponent, incumbent Dawn Page, has voted on multiple occasions to maintain or expand Richmond’s expansive school administration, which has been criticized for being oversized and overpaid. Page served as the Richmond School Board Chair in 2019, but was replaced by Linda Owen in 2020 on the grounds that she was not transparent with other board members. She also faced criticism from the School Board for removing items from meeting agendas after promising they would be addressed.
Due to her advocacy for equality in education and her opponent’s lack of transparency and history of preferring school administration over educators and students, Rev. Dana Sally Allen is the most progressive choice in this race.