Chowdhury resigns from school board

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By AJ Vicens

Embattled South Jeffco school board member Vince Chowdhury has resigned his seat effective Aug. 21.

"I have made this decision after a long conversation with my family," Chowdhury said in an e-mail to supporters of his Democratic primary campaign for House District 22. He lost the primary Aug. 12 to Camille Ryckman. "It is extremely difficult for me to step down; however, I must do what is in the best interest of my family."

Chowdhury pleaded guilty to third-degree assault July 8 after being accused of slapping and choking his 16-year-old daughter June 17. Since the guilty plea, he has faced pressure from the community and fellow board members to step down from the school board. The board passed a resolution July 8 asking Chowdhury to resign.

His resignation took effect on the same day as the first school board meeting of the new school year. Board President Scott Benefield had said in recent weeks that the board would discuss Chowdhury’s situation and would take public comment. Three women from the community who created a website to pressure Chowdhury to resign and to explore the possibility of a recall election were planning a news conference just before the meeting.

"I am honored to serve on the school board for almost eight years and put my heart and soul into my school board work," Chowdhury said. "I have been a dedicated and devoted member of the board. During my time on the board I have always prioritized our school district interests over my other obligations."

The board will appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of Chowdhury's term, which ends in 2009.

"However, my primary focus at this time must be my wife Katherine and my children Allison and Cassandra. With this prioritization, I need to set aside my other potential competing interests."

He said his resignation does not change his commitment to education.

"I hope and pray for the continued success and well-being of our school district and community which I have been so honored to serve," Chowdhury said.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com.