Marysville school board member not sure if he'll resign over controversial e-mail

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on June 21, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 22 at 11:11 AM

MARYSVILLE, Wash. - The Marysville School Board has formally asked a sitting member to resign.

Michael Kundu has been under fire after he wrote an e-mail, circulated to district leaders, about his ideas on bridging the achievement gap. His lengthy e-mail cited a Canadian professor and included a statement "there is a definitive factor played by racial genetics in intellectual achievement."

Board members expressed shock at the e-mail, including board president Sherri Crenshaw, who says "I find it extremely offensive. I was surprised he sent that in the position we are as elected officers."

Crenshaw sat and listened to more than an hour-and-a-half of testimony from parents Monday and a majority called for his resignation. The board then voted 4-0 to censure Kundu and ask for his resignation.

Kundu was in Washington D.C. for business during the vote. Via e-mail, he told KING 5 that he wasn't surprised by the result.

"There's been disagreements on our board for about two years now, and my most recent effort to increase accountability on the superintendent and administration (merit/performance pay) probably contributed to the reason they wanted me gone," he said.

"I guess my biggest regret is that our student scores (particularly in minority cohorts) continue to lag way below the State average. What we've been doing in Marysville hasn't worked for our kids, and now they're successfully limiting honest debate to try and get to the heart of the problem. I've always firmly believed that you treat a problem by seeking the cause, not simply catering to the symptoms. Clearly the rest of the board does not share that view."

Kundu said he hasn't decided if he will resign. "I won't be back in town until the weekend, and will mull things over after that," he said in an e-mail.

If Kundu does not resign, Tulalip tribal leaders have suggested they could lead a recall effort to oust the embattled board member.

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