Saturday, November 19, 2011

TUSD Board: Select a Fifth Member or Pay for a Special Election

Posted By on Sat, Nov 19, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I sat down with Tucson Unified School District board member Mark Stegeman on Wednesday, Nov. 16, for a lengthy interview.

Stegeman discussed the TUSD board meeting the night before. The board was tasked with approving five board members to serve on the community advisory board to select a possible replacement for the late Judy Burns' vacant seat.

Stegeman said the first round in the process was easy: Each board member presented their choice, and then it was decided that they would throw in a second name and choose a fifth person from that group of names.

No go on No. 5.

The board approved Steve Holmes, Michele Harbour, Charles Weisel and Tola Barker.

Stegeman said no one could agree on the fifth person, so it was thought that Pima County Schools Superintendent Linda Arzoumanian would select the fifth member from the second group of names the board put together: Johnny Renfro, Juan Ciscomani, Colleen Niccum and Roxanne Begay-James.

No go.

According to a press release sent off from Arzoumanian's office this week, if the TUSD board doesn't choose a fifth person, she'll force the district to hold a special election:

Dr. Linda Lee Arzoumanian, Pima County School Superintendent, is making a repeated request to the Tucson Unified School District to provide a fifth "at-large community member or administrator" for the Community Advisory Committee charged with identifying an individual to fill the vacant seat on the Governing Board.

In her 12 years as Pima County School Superintendent, Dr. Linda Lee Arzoumanian has filled 33 vacant governing board seats using a uniform process by which a community advisory committee, selected by the school district, reviews all applicants and provides the superintendent with a recommendation. The standard at the center of this process has been to have community input in recognition of the fact that each school district is a unique one. It is unfortunate that the TUSD Governing Board chose not to fulfill Dr. Arzoumanian’s request, and she urges the board to act in the best interest of the community.

To fill the seat on the TUSD Governing Board, left vacant by the late Judy Burns, Dr. Arzoumanian asked TUSD to select five community members for the advisory committee. TUSD was unable to comply with this request. Dr. Arzoumanian was given four names and asked to select the fifth. Dr. Arzoumanian has formally requested in a letter to TUSD Governing Board members that a fifth name be provided no later than Wednesday, November 30 by 12:00P.M.

Should TUSD fail to meet this request, Dr. Arzoumanian will call a special election on May 17, 2012. Dr. Arzoumanian feels this to be in the best interest of the community.

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