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Re: “Another Look at TUSD Salary Hikes and Prop 123

Safier composed this, no doubt, to combat Steller's editorial piece in the Star:
http://tucson.com/news/local/columnists/steller/steller-tusd-broke-promises-with-prop-spending/article_db22aa44-bcf9-5845-bec7-89a189b53e18.html

There are many factors referenced in the statements TUSD representatives make to explain their decision about how to allocate 123 funds, and it is difficult indeed to patch them together into anything resembling a coherent story, but piecing together information available in the media and in the district's statements and board meetings, this is the sequence of events that seems to have led to the current decision to only apply 30% of the 123 funds to teacher salaries:

1. Before 123 passed, TUSD granted raises by tapping the district's Maintenance & Operations funds:
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/tusd-approves-million-for-teacher-staff-raises/article_c67bd50a-2e1e-5f76-a2c4-ea2f70435da0.html
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/board-approves-pay-raises-for-tusd-teachers-staff/article_9db6df94-1797-11e6-970a-b3764167a5f5.html
Of the December 2014 raises, Ms. Huicochea wrote, "The money will come mostly from $2.8 million in maintenance and operations funds...." Of the May 2016 raises, Ms. Huicochea wrote, "The majority of the expense [of the raise]— $2.1 million — will be paid for from the maintenance and operation fund..."
Do districts with conspicuously deteriorating facilities usually grant raises out of M&O funds? When they do so, does this set them up for a situation in which later, they will have to tap funds that could or should go to teacher raises to pay back depleted M&O budgets?

2. While it was campaigning for 123, the district gave the impression it was going to run a bond for capital improvements and that 123 funds would be used to further improve teacher salaries, which were still sadly insufficient even with the small raises given previously:
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/tusd-working-wish-list-for-potential-bond-election/article_f9e266b0-e77a-5865-a316-f09939f709c4.html
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/teacher-pay-top-priority-if-prop-is-ok-d/article_2940bcc4-3fcf-54c6-ba76-5a15c4fcd43e.html

3. Then, once 123 passed, TUSD allocated only 30% of the 123 funds it received for teacher salaries and told the public it would not be running a bond campaign this fall after all, supposedly because the Pima County bonds failed last fall and this spring 123 was unpopular in Southern Arizona.
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/tucson-unified-won-t-hold-bond-election-this-year/article_b19402e2-2275-5194-bb4c-78e6756575a5.html
It seems unlikely that the decision not to run a bond this fall was based only on Southern Arizona feelings about 123 and the Pima County Bond outcomes, and not also on the judgment that public confidence in TUSD's governance and administration was so low that a bond would not pass. Ms. Grijalva seemed to allude to this lack of public confidence in her recent presentation on the ASBA conference, delivered at the 7/12/2016 TUSD Board meeting:
http://www.tusd1.org/contents/govboard/gbvideo071216.html

However, in attributing the problems with public confidence to dis-unity on the Board and the actions of minority board members, Ms. Grijalva promotes an interpretation of the current situation that will not seem plausible to most constituents who have been observing the district's recent actions. These actions include a cost escalation in the form of a steep inflation of a relatively inexperienced Superintedent's compensation package:
http://tucson.com/news/opinion/tucson-unified-superintendent-s-percent-raise/article_2f0dd6fc-85ff-5ead-93e1-1b6f5e69b64d.html

additional cost escalations in conflicts with the desegregation authority accompanied by commensurate escalations in the legal costs associated with the desegregation case:
http://tucson.com/news/local/columnists/steller/steller-tusd-should-take-judge-s-hint-stop-costly-fighting/article_058a6a68-b32f-5c10-b684-3c9f71cb0a1c.html

a cost reduction accomplished by outsourcing of substitute teachers, accompanied by reducing their pay and benefits:
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/tusd-moves-to-outsource-its-substitute-teachers/article_a6cf8196-558b-5d26-a5bc-0e45a54345cc.html
(see also the first two speakers in the Call to the Audience portion of the 7/12/16 TUSD Board Meeting: http://www.tusd1.org/contents/govboard/gbvideo071216.html )

and the voluntary reduction, by millions of dollars, of desegregation funding available to be applied in support of the integration goals outlined in the Unitary Status Plan:
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/sanchez-things-are-looking-up-at-tusd/article_d0af6813-b60f-584d-ab04-5169d8442416.html

In sum: we'd have to work pretty hard, in reviewing the above sequence of events, to avoid coming to the conclusion that TUSD has placed itself, through its own decisions and administrative actions, in a situation in which 123 funds, instead of going mainly to teacher salaries, which is clearly what was promised, will have to be used in part to cover things that would normally be covered by bonds. It seems the district must do this in part because of its previous decisions allocating funding, including its decisions to repeatedly tap M&O funds to give raises, and administrative decisions that have eroded the public confidence that would enable the passing of a bond initiative.

It's true that the Arizona legislature has behaved irresponsibly with education funding in our state, but within the funding context they establish, individual districts make better and worse decisions about how to allocate the limited funds available, how to manage their relationships with voters and constituents, and how to successfully take the case for funding supplements to the electorate. It is sad but true -- and an understatement -- that TUSD does not get a gold star for its performance during the last year in these departments.

32 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Supporting Public Ed Means Supporting Local Reform on 07/18/2016 at 8:03 PM

Re: “Another Look at TUSD Salary Hikes and Prop 123

What's the matter, David, if you don't stop defending the indefensible, the Grijalvas will stop asking you over for dinner? If I were you at this point, I'd give up the dinner invitations. They are too expensive when they come at the cost of your reputation (or what remains of it after three solid years of unbelievably BASE propagandizing in support of TUSD's never-ending parade of B.S. administrative and governance decisions.)

You write, " Because it left out TUSD's May 10 teacher raise, its conclusion that TUSD reneged on its pledge to its teachers is inaccurate."

What you write is FALSE.

The fact that TUSD reneged on its pledge to the teachers is based on a comparison between WHAT THE DISTRICT TOLD THE TEACHERS AND VOTERS IT MOBILIZED IN SUPPORT OF 123 and WHAT THE DISTRICT ACTUALLY DID WITH THE FUNDS AFTER THE PROPOSITION PASSED.

The district did not say, "The May 10 raise of $1300 will be borrowed from M&O funds and paid back out of 123 funds if the propositions passes." Anyone who was listening to their (as usual) misleading propaganda would have thought that the entirety of 123 funds would, if the proposition passed, be divided up and portioned out in the form of additional raises. Strangely, there are people who have not had sufficient opportunity to observe how TUSD always operates who expect things like FOLLOW-THROUGH and KEEPING YOUR WORD.

As for your assertion that, "TUSD's decision to put all its money into the salary schedule, rather than putting some of it into one time bonuses for returning teachers as most other districts did, could mean that new teachers will fare better at TUSD than elsewhere, which could be a benefit for TUSD when it comes to hiring," Teachers -- including college of ed faculty, including new teachers -- talk to one another, and TUSD's reputation in the teaching community is mud. The district's institutional culture and current teaching conditions are well known. This is why so many of the district's classrooms are filled with a rotating cast of subs, but even the subs' patience is wearing thin. Watch their comments in the Call to the Audience at the July 12 TUSD Board meeting. This district would need to fund raises 5 times as high as the raises they have funded to compensate teachers for the conditions they experience these days in TUSD classrooms, and the sad deterioration in classroom conditions is the direct result of the leadership decisions of the last three years.

36 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Wrong Again, David Safier on 07/18/2016 at 7:55 PM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

Rat T. - Rather than posting your usual snark, please point out what services you deem unnecessary? I agree there is plenty of waste in public and private education, but I don't think services are where the problem lies.

14 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Da Coach on 07/18/2016 at 11:31 AM

Re: “Rogue's Tales of the Jazz Age

I believe that's the Artifact Dance Project, not the Artificial Dance Project. Typical sloppy reporting and editing.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Rob McConeghy III on 07/18/2016 at 10:29 AM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

From the revised Democratic party platform: "Charter schools must reflect their communities, and thus must accept and retain proportionate numbers of students of color, students with disabilities and English Language Learners in relation to their neighborhood public schools."

Could we just acknowledge openly the indisputable fact that properly educating students to our curricular grade-level standards when they:
A) enter school with deficits in their pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills compared to the majority of their peers of the same age
B) must receive instruction in English as a second language at the same time that they gain competence in core subjects
C) have cognitive disabilities or diagnosed special education needs
requires the installation and maintenance of professionals with special training in these areas of education and thus is more expensive for a school to achieve than educating students who don't have special needs to the same curricular, grade level standards?

District public schools have depended for a long time on funding formulas that assume a certain percentage of these kinds of needs in the population, and that percentage has been altering as more families with children who do not have remedial needs, ESL needs, or special education needs have been exiting the public district school system for charters and privates. As the ratio alters, it creates funding problems for district schools because it costs less than the per-pupil amount currently allocated to educate a child with no special needs, more than the per-pupil amount currently allocated to educate a child with special needs.

But the solution to the funding problems created as ratios of special needs to non-special needs students in district public schools change is not to require every charter school, many of which have very small-scale operations, to deliver services their size may not make it financially feasible for them to provide. Nor is the solution to require all schools to be large enough to sustain ratios that make retaining the full complement of ESL and special education professionals on site possible. A more effective and fair solution to the problems public district schools are experiencing as their ratios are altering is to adjust the per-pupil rate for students with special needs to accurately reflect the ACTUAL expense of giving these students the high-quality education they deserve, delivered by fully qualified professionals. Adjusting the rate to reflect the reality of expense should help more schools of all types retain the needed services, but there would still be a "threshold" -- a minimum # of students enrolled requiring a certain kind of service needed to support the necessary staff, and it will probably be the case that not every charter school -- and perhaps not every district school -- will have the enrollment numbers of students with special needs of various sorts to support the installation of every kind of special service on every site. Publicly funded transportation needs to be provided to the sites where the type of services each child needs are being delivered to remove any geographic or financial obstacles to families to enrolling each of their children in the school best equipped to meet their needs, but the notion that it should be possible for every publicly funded school in existence to have the full range of services needed by every member of our school-age population is an impractical, unimplementable, fiscally irresponsible fantasy. I am disappointed that the Democratic party platform now includes this plank, and I hope attempts to implement it won't do as much damage as attempts to implement other misguided federal policies (Race to the Top, etc., ad nauseam) have done.

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Dubious about this plank in the platform... on 07/18/2016 at 10:16 AM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

Last time an "establishment" candidate (Gore) was spurned in favor of a "pure" candidate (Nader) we got George W Bush. I think it's hilarious when people want to repeat that with Sanders. Be careful what you wish for.
Also find it hilarious that accepting "persons of color" and "english language learners" is so commonly accepted as undesirable that they have to spell out that unpleasant requirement for charter schools.
We wouldn't have the problem with English language learners if we just returned to historically normal levels of immigration. We have been importing 6 times the historic average with predictable problems of assimilation.

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by bslap on 07/18/2016 at 9:08 AM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

Nothing will change until the population of Arizona stops CONSISTENTLY giving power to the ideology that screwed it up in the first place.

What do you all think.............................they've effed it up for the last 30 years BUT..if we re-elect them, they promise they'll fix it "This time?" Has the education system here made you all THAT stupid???

Guess that question will be answered in November.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Bob Regan on 07/18/2016 at 8:47 AM

Re: “Zona Politics: Matt Heinz, Victoria Steele and Steve Christy Talk About Their 2016 Campaigns

As usual, Democratic votes will be based on hearts and minds and Republican votes will be based on hate and fear.

Hearts and minds will win!

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bob Regan on 07/18/2016 at 8:37 AM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

The verdict is in on both Obama and his education legacy "Race to the Top" of which Common Core Standards were the tent pole. United States math scores went down for the first time ever from 2011 to 2015 and reading scores did not improve.

By comparison, Arizona had the highest combined math and reading gains from 2011 fourth grade to 2015 eighth grade. Our African Americans eighth graders rose to number one in the nation, our Hispanics rose from 35th to 11th and our white students rose to 6th.

Could the evidence be more stark about which approach works between centralized systems and decentralized systems? Monopolies versus free markets?

1 like, 8 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 07/18/2016 at 7:41 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

"The myth of police hunting black men is as racist a trope as there ever was and only continues the subjugation of black men and women by avoiding the real issues within the community."
"There is racial/bigoted violence directed at police officers every day in some of these communities. "

are you trying to say that stereotypes and prejudice towards police is a form of racism, as if police officers are a race

7 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Palisades on 07/17/2016 at 10:00 PM

Re: “Editor's Note

" There will be about 30-40 black men killed by police this year whereas there will be about 4000+ black men murdered by other black men this year."

where did you get these obscene numbers

there have already been 146 black people killed by police this year http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-inte…

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Palisades on 07/17/2016 at 9:57 PM

Re: “Two Tucson Women Hold Rally for Law Enforcement

God bless our police. The President and the AG have responsibility for this. They worked to weaken protective equipment that was available to law enforcemebt, after Baltimore. The killers know this and are taking advantage of it. Dallas and now Baton Rouge are both discharged military, that fought for their country, only to come home and murder fellow citizens and police officers.

5 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Rat T on 07/17/2016 at 4:20 PM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

I didn't advocate cutting necessary services. Why can't you folks ever concede that there are things that are NOT necessary? Yours is an old trick. Politicians also use it well.

6 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Rat T on 07/17/2016 at 3:07 PM

Re: “TUSD Teacher Dustin Williams is Well on His Way to Make the Ballot for Pima County Superintendent of Schools

Who is this guy?
How long has he been in the classroom and really fought hard in the trenches for public education?
I know Michael Gordy has fought for decades. If you want my vote, you must have had paid some serious dues...both on the picket line and in the classroom.

Posted by Ray Siqueiros on 07/17/2016 at 12:16 PM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

David: could you do a compare and contrast on exactly what Obama said about education before he became president and what the policies became once he was in office? I've seen clips of his campaign speeches that seem to indicate there was a significant difference between his campaign statements and what he was allowed to do once the interests backing him got him into office. How about an explanation of what happened with the federal education policy advisory committee after he assumed office? I've heard it described as an externally forced "sweep" over which he had little control.

What could your reason be for thinking that what we're seeing with Clinton will not be the same: a candidate being allowed to make statements that may sway voters, while there is no chance the candidate, if they become an elected official, will be allowed to implement those policy ideas?

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Did Obama implement his campaign ideas? on 07/17/2016 at 9:57 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Mari, Three more officers have been murdered and four wounded. Do you believe that the debt has been paid in full ? Do you believe that there has been enough blood shed to compensate for the two men shot by police and that the protests by the group B.L.M. can stop now ? If you do, lets hear you're thoughts on the 'matter'.

12 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Dave D on 07/17/2016 at 9:55 AM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

How much more should be cut, Rat T, from Arizona's Child Protective Services? Try talking to one of their overloaded caseworkers some time, or to a rep from one of the many underfunded, insufficiently professionalized, patched together non-profits that tries to fill one of the gaping holes in the sinking ship of child welfare in this state. "A thousand points of light" indeed. Rather: a dysfunctional, uncoordinated mess of voluntary "social enterprises" that provide "services" that are gravely insufficient in some areas and redundant and superfluous in others and, even where they may fill a real need, are often impaired in their effectiveness by being delivered by insufficiently qualified (and underpaid) staff.

Those who promote the further dismantling of the public sector should take a good look at what is actually happening to people in our community as critically important services are cut and cut and cut again rather than continuing to get information about how beneficial "starving the beast" is from the ALEC newsletter.

To return to the topic of this blog: Clinton-style collaboration with and capitulation to the forces behind privatization will not get this country where it needs to go. The time has come to let the Democrats know that if they continue putting people like Clinton forward, their candidate will lose in the general because they cannot unite the base behind her.

10 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by A thousand points of light doesn't work. on 07/17/2016 at 8:16 AM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

Our population is more vulnerable from the socialist, globalist lies. They could learn a lot from Reagan era if they were not so lied to.

5 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by David W on 07/17/2016 at 8:13 AM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

With a rebel yell they cried more, more, more. Start cutting wasteful programs and you already have more than you need. How much did Obama waste trying to overthrow Israel?

6 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by Rat T on 07/17/2016 at 7:28 AM

Re: “The Democratic Party's Progressive Education Platform

It's astounding the degree to which people who have to work for a living in this country have been persuaded that the country's problems are the fault of requiring the class that has, throughout history, always played the largest role in depressing wages to pay their fair share of the taxes that support infrastructure and services available to all. As Sanders noted during his campaign, his tax proposal involved returning the tax rates on the top brackets to what they had been during Dwight Eisenhower's administration, provoking the interesting thought that perhaps part of what it will take to "make America great again" is not building border walls and developing protectionist economic policies, but reverting to a tax code that is sane and fair and has worked very well in our country's past, before the Reagan era issued in such successful programs of self-serving neoliberal groupthink / brainwashing and the sad spectacle of the corporate class persuading millions of its employees to vote against their own economic best interests and to become vociferous defenders of their employers' right to avoid fair taxation in support of the common good and to refuse to distribute a fair share of the profits made from their labor back to them in the form of decent wages and benefits.

That our population is vulnerable to being misused and exploited in this way is, among other things, a testament to the conspicuous failure of our education system, which produces graduates without enough knowledge of history and economic theory to recognize shoddy and manipulative arguments when they encounter them in political campaigns.

David Safier: to expect Hillary Clinton to deliver effective push-back against the corporate agenda for education and taxation -- rather than to pay lip service to the need to resist the corporate agenda while she is trying to persuade former Sanders supporters to vote for her, which is what she is doing -- is naive at best (if you actually believe her, which seems doubtful) and manipulative at worst (if you know she won't follow through but you want people to vote for her because you don't want Trump to win the election).

7 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by You're naive if you think Clinton can be a change agent. on 07/17/2016 at 7:11 AM

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