The Austin teachers' union is asking School Board President Kendall Pace to resign after she sent an "offensive" text message to another board member.
Education Austin President Ken Zarifis said the texts were related to a district application for a state grant for a so-called transformation zone, which could allow the district to set up a charter school. At a press conference Wednesday morning, Zarifis cited a specific part of a text in which Pace was weighing the benefits of taking the state money and the likelihood of setting up a charter in the district:
It will only get approved if we set up a real charter-like (i.e. one with balls to ignore the special interest groups and crazy ignorant community activists and poverty pimps.
Zarifis called the language "disparaging" and said it had no place coming from the Austin School Board president.
"We’re disgusted by it. We’re disappointed by it," he said. "But mostly we’re hurt that someone would say things such as this nature."
Pace said the text was "born out of frustration" and that if she could do it over again, she would "choose [her] words differently."
However, "it was from the heart and that stays true," she said. Her statement continues:
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.
Pace told KUT that she had planned to step down in June as board president, but that she will likely do so at Monday’s meeting instead.
Pace said she would remain on the board as a trustee.
You can read the full text exchange below.