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Austin School Board Vice President Paul Saldaña To Resign

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News
School Board Vice President Paul Saldaña at a press conference after ICE raids in Austin earlier this year. "

Austin School Board Vice President Paul Saldaña said he is planning to announce his resignation from the school board Friday morning. He is holding a press conference  at 9 a.m. at the AISD boardroom at the district's Sixth Street headquarters.

"After much consideration, I have decided to step down from the AISD Board of Trustees in an effort to refocus priorities and spend more quality time with my family," Saldaña said in a statement. "I am proud of my two and a half years of public service on this board and efforts to take on difficult educational discussions centered on equity."

Saldaña was elected in 2014 to represent District 6, which includes South Central Austin. His departure means the board is losing its only Hispanic trustee in a district with nearly 60 percent Hispanic students. Saldaña's departure also leaves only one trustee of color on the board, District 1 Trustee Ted Gordon.

During his term, Saldaña has been outspoken on issues of equity in AISD, pushing the district to complete an equity self-assessment and to require high school students to take an ethnic studies course. Recently, Saldaña criticized Austin ISD after it sent a memo to campuses advising staff not to provide resources to immigrant students and families about Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids after recent arrests of undocumented immigrants. Saldaña wrote an open letter to students reassuring them their campuses were safe places. 

"I am disappointed to see Paul leave the board," School Board President Kendall Pace said. "He was a true asset with his passion and deep knowledge of our challenges. He pushed us to be better. He was a constant advocate for the underserved and will be missed."

Saldaña's last board meeting will be April 24. The board can either appoint a successor until the next election or hold a special election for his seat.

This is a developing story.

This story originally said Saldaña represents District 4. He represents District 6.