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Local teen lobbies for school funding in D.C.

Son of Marysville School District Director Michael Kundu, Eric Kundu, 13, talks with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell about school funding and other educational issues. -
Son of Marysville School District Director Michael Kundu, Eric Kundu, 13, talks with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell about school funding and other educational issues.
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MARYSVILLE I just figured let them hear it from the horses mouth, so to speak, said Michael Kundu, a member of the Marysville School District Board of Directors.
In this case, the target audience was Washington D.C. legislators. And the person doing the talking was Kundus son, Eric, 13, an eighth-grader at Cedarcrest School.
The father and son team were in Washington D.C. on Feb. 4 for the National School Board Federal Relations Network. Kundus attendance was an outgrowth of his position with Marysville schools. Eric went at his fathers invitation. At the time, all of 11 years old, his brother Lars went to the network gathering last year and met with various officials.
A couple of years ago, I decided to take the kids along as an educational opportunity and its worked out well, Kundu said.
While he described the network meetings as informative and very worthwhile, Kundu said the sessions can be fairly technical and expressed some pleasant surprise at the amount of attention both his sons paid to the various presentations.
(Eric) hit more sessions than I expected him to digest, Kundu said.
I was surprised to learn that, even though the government has high expectations for programs like No Child Left Behind, they dont provide nearly enough money to pay for them, Eric said.
Besides NCLB, Eric said he become convinced of funding gaps in other federal programs as well, including those aimed at students with disabilities. He argued money for tax rebates proposed by the Bush administration might be better spent on fully funding education.
According to Kundu, Eric was scheduled to meet and discuss his points of view with a couple of legislators. As things turned out, some were out stumping for presidential candidates and simply werent available, sending aides to meet with Eric. Eric did get to talk personally with U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA. Eric admitted he was a bit nervous when he first met with Cantwell.
Once I got started talking, it was fine, he said.
Overall, Eric said he decidedly enjoyed the experience.


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