UPDATE [11 40 a.m., May 21, 2018]
Kendall Pace, Austin school board president, who was criticized/asked to quit for the use of inflammatory language in texts with another board member, said she will resign from the board entirely, effective immediately.
This is a developing story. Stay with Spectrum News for updates as they become available.
AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Teacher's Union is calling for the immediate resignation of the Austin Independent School Board President over controversial text messages.
President Kendall Pace is accused of calling community activists "crazy ignorant" in a text message to a colleague. The text said that a Texas Education Agency grant for a possible transformation zone would only get approved if the district set up a "real charter."
Pace is believed to have called for ignoring special interest groups, as well as "crazy ignorant community activists and poverty pimps."
On Wednesday Education Austin's President Ken Zarifs, along with several other community leaders, called for Pace to step down. Zarifs called the texts "Vile statements about that very community."
The transportation zone grant is intended to help low-performing schools and districts.
In a statement, Pace apologized for her wording saying that her texts were "unpolished" and comes out of frustration over the district not doing enough to close the equality gap.
Portion of Kendall Pace’s statement below:
I understand my comments will come under scrutiny. I want to be judged by my leadership and my work, my inquisitiveness, my pushiness to get results and better outcomes. I have devoted my years on the Board and in my leadership role to this unwaveringly. I realize my willingness to push for this meets resistance in many areas, but also gives a voice to many who go unheard and have long been ignored.
I am in out of town with one of my children who has special needs that I am tending to. I regret that I can’t be there in person to answer to allegations and statements. So I want to clearly state my position now. I challenge anyone who knows me as a person committed to public education improvement and specifically about bringing equity for our students, that I have different motives. I am a problem solver and as such, I believe we must review our programs, curriculum, pedagogy, staff, partnerships, and parent/staff/student feedback to ensure we are delivering effective work and excellent customer service for our students and staff. I am deeply troubled that so many of our economically disadvantaged and black and brown students far underperform their whiter, wealthier peers on standardized and benchmark assessments, and are disproportionally represented in suspension data. I do not accept that zip code or family income or skin color or inadequate funding as an excuse for continued achievement gaps. We can and must to better to scale our successes.