In a Facebook post calling for government intervention over “chronic underfunding” and safety issues in Seattle public schools, school board member Eden Mack announced that she would be stepping down Thursday, about a year before the end of her first term .
Mack made the announcement effective immediately while the school board met for a working session on the district budget. She said she “can no longer partake of the ongoing systemic dysfunction that does not serve Seattle’s students and families,” and she does not feel that she can work to meet the district’s challenges by working on her Place.
Her resignation comes at a time of significant turmoil and sales for Seattle public schools and counties across the country. Superintendent Denise Juneau announced she was stepping down and a wave of allegations of teacher misconduct in the district surfaced in 2020, resulting in a reckoning of the district’s ability to self-examine.
“When I ran for the school board, I had hopes that I could help make things better, and I always tried to really listen and work with grace and respect,” wrote Mack. “We made some progress with some problems, but in the end I found that the gradual change and the band aids are completely inadequate. No one is to blame, and so many of us have worked so hard to make positive change and please the Seattle children. “
Chandra Hampson, president of the board, said the board will discuss Mack’s departure at a meeting next week. She declined to comment further.
With the next regular election for their seat in about nine months, the board must find a replacement for Mack and Juneau, who announced their resignation in December and will step down in June. According to the guidelines of the school authority, vacancies must be filled within 90 days.
Mack, who ran for the board in 2017, has long been an advocate of increasing funding for public schools. She is the co-founder of a grassroots school funding advocacy group, Washington’s Paramount Duty.
The turning point for her, she said, was the pandemic and the financial uncertainty that it will bring.
“And now it has become untenable for me to sacrifice countless hours of my own school-age children to keep trying to fix a broken system. I can’t in good conscience vote on a budget that doesn’t even include full-time nurses in every school, mental health support, curriculum and materials, or adequate class sizes, ”Mack said in her post.
“Despite our best efforts, we have systemic shortcomings in the safety of students during our care, overcrowded classes and a structural budget deficit. Our volunteer school board, while sharing common values, is simply unable to oversee a $ 1 billion underfunded budget and hire / manage a superintendent to do this impossible job, ”she added.
When asked why she chose to resign instead of waiting until the end of her term, Mack said, “The problems will not be solved by another election or a new superintendent. These changes are merely a distraction from the root cause of the problems that are chronic underfunding. ”
Mack said she had no immediate plans after her resignation. She is the second director of the school board to resign recently. In July 2019, the resignation of former school council member Betty Patu sparked an appointment process that resulted in the selection of Brandon Hersey, whose term ends in November.