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Re: “My Picks for the TUSD School Board: Cam Juarez, Kristel Foster, Betts Putnam-Hidalgo

Another Reply:.... You seem to be agreeing with me (not the previous writer) that the big deficit was announced in 2012 rather than 2013. Yes, it was predictable and related to the end of the stimulus funds. I will not repeat what I wrote before, but it seems consistent with your recollections... I do well remember the terrible fallout it had on the schools, the great push for school closures that came that year, etc.

More people are registered as Independents in this state than as either Republicans or Democrats. Many of us do not fit well into either current party.

The 100-day plan is just that... it is not intended as a long-run vision statement. It was developed over months and I believe that it is realistic and would be a significant start to a long process of positive change.

The community input into the strategic plan was great, and some things in it make sense to me, but the plan as a whole is a mess. There is no way that an organization this large and troubled can create a coherent 5-year strategic plan that quickly. It is good to have a plan, but TUSD has the habit of sticking labels on messes and calling them successes.

I have much respect for the USP, which is far better than the PUSP put forward under the Fagen administration. I have a good relationship with Dr. Hawley and great respect for him. But some things in the USP were too ambitious, as I think the subsequent history has proved.

It is surely true that not all principals in the district can handle higher levels of responsibility, but I am not proposing to end oversight. A one-page 100-day plan is obviously not a complete plan, and I am definitely NOT the educational expert who knows all the answers. TUSD needs to make more and better use of the experience of other districts, in Arizona and nationwide, and a broader range of experts than it currently employs. The solution to bad curricular (or similar bad educational decisions) is not a board that has expertise in curriculum but a board that, directly or indirectly, puts into place a top curricular team.

Yes, my letters have been critical, and some things in TUSD are going well, but I am very concerned about the overall trajectory. I agree it would be good to write more about the positive things, and I will try to do so, but it is also important to draw attention to what is going sideways. Those are the things that tend to be left out of official TUSD communication.

I like your comment, and it seems that in substance we agree on much. If the board changes in a positive way, then I hope we can convince you that TUSD can indeed be a much stronger district than it is at present. I think that many of us outside of the current board majority have similar (not identical) goals, and I am optimistic that positive change can occur regardless of which of us is elected.

2 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Mark Stegeman on 10/17/2016 at 4:48 AM

Re: “Lupita Murillo Celebrates 36 Years at KVOA

Congratulations Lupita from a fan from the RGV i remember staying up to see u n Rick Diaz in channel 5 god bless u very happy to see that u are doing great

Posted by Frances Hernandez on 10/16/2016 at 8:52 PM

Re: “My Picks for the TUSD School Board: Cam Juarez, Kristel Foster, Betts Putnam-Hidalgo


I first heard the pending $17 million deficit mentioned in the summer of 2012. The explanation given at the time was that an entirely predictable expiration of federal stimulus funds was bringing the deficit about. The phone call from central admin to our school specifying the amount that needed to be cut immediately from our school's 2013-3014 budget came in April of 2013, 8-9 months after those at our site first heard of the pending deficit. It was the school's principal who communicated the information, both in the summer of 2012 and in the spring of 2013.

As a result of the cut and the demand from central that decisions be made in a 24-48 hour time frame, faculty and support staff eliminations were made that seriously impaired the functioning of our school during the 2013-3014 school year. At the same time, I was aware of other local districts that had used the same kinds of windows for planning their responses to changes in funding levels -- from summer of one year to spring of the next year -- to work successfully with their communities to secure funds that had, in these other districts, prevented the kinds of damage that occurred in our TUSD school.

Now, 3-4 years after all this occurred, the details of it are so vague in your mind that you aren't even sure the incident I refer to is the same as the deficit you remember staff bringing forward to the Board in 2012? You remember that staff brought a deficit forward but you don't know what fall-out that deficit had in the schools, or how that related to planning and discussions that did or did not take place at the Board level between the summer of 2012 and April of 2013? That is not confidence-inspiring, especially coming from someone who is asking for the community to re-install him in a leadership position based on his ability to improve the fiscal management of the district.

Setting aside the area of fiscal management of a complicated public institution, when it comes to education policy, my experience of your "leadership" ​during the time that I have been a parent in the district ​has been that you have been either unaware of, silent about, or actively working against the things that could have made a constructive difference to the quality of education offered to students in TUSD schools. Understanding what matters in K-12 education ​can come from a number of ​different ​kinds of experience, including being a ​K-12 parent, ​being a ​K-12 teacher, ​or ​​being a credentialed expert in child development​,​ pedagogy​, elementary education, secondary education, the management of public educational institutions or the history of educational methods​.

To understand​, as a university faculty member with credentials in none of these areas,​ that most freshman who show up at the U of A are unprepared to do college-level work is not to understand how to alter a complex and troubled public school district in ways that can have some hope of improving educational outcomes​ for its students​. ​Your frame of reference​ and qualifications​, which ​are​ valuable in a University economics department, ​are​ ​not ​applicable in K-12​. Your lack of a relevant knowledge or experience base has​,​​ over the course of the last 4 years, resulted at several different points in ​an inability to ​identify and advocate against ​K-12 ​policy adoptions in TUSD that ​have been damaging to students.

As for your political positions -- if they are an idiosyncratic combination of positions that don't align with any recognizable school of thought in politics or in education, how do you expect voters to understand what you stand for, or what you may decide to stand for on new policy issues that come before the Board for the first time in the future? Your Constituent Updates during the period when you have occupied a minority position on the Board have ​largely reflected your desire to criticize and eventually ​get rid of a ​Board ​majority which, I readily grant, has made some conspicuously poor decisions during the last 3 and 1/2 years. Once that majority is no longer there, I ​question whether the piecemeal 100-day plan you offer is able to offer a coherent vision for how the district should be operating.

You say you are for complying with the USP, though you like to remind the public that you didn't vote in support of it, so we should probably conclude that your idiosyncratic views are out of alignment with the views of experts in desegregation policy and community members who worked together with them to create the desegregation plan for the district. You are not in support of the district's Strategic Plan, another document created with significant district stakeholder participation. ​

What exactly is the constructive, unified educational philosophy behind ​your​ refusals to support plans ​desegregation experts and ​district stakeholders have created? ​Reducing class sizes and putting more spending in classrooms rather than administration is a noble goal, but in order for that transfer of funds to have good effects for educational outcomes, you have to know WHAT to put that money into. What KINDS of curricula, materials, school structures, and instructional plans will equip teachers to improve student achievement? Is there an appropriate role for standardized testing in K-12 education, and, if so, what is it? What problems have developed in schools through the mis-use of corporate-produced standardized testing? Board members on a school board which votes on multi-million dollar testing, curricular, textbook, and materials adoptions and budgets allocating funds to different areas should have more than a passing understanding of these issues. You do not seem to. Saying that principals and sites should have more discretion in applying funds is also not a solution. Principals in TUSD vary widely in competence and experience and giving them discretion in how funds are spent is no guarantee that their discretionary powers will not be mis-used. Sites differ in their degree of organization, levels of constructive parent participation, and preparedness for site-based governance. In this context, increasing site-based management will do little more than to increase inequity and make constituents at many sites vulnerable to abuse.

The TUSD audit committee might be a good place for you to contribute constructively to the management of the district's affairs, but many TUSD constituents feel that based on your poorly informed written opinions on how K-12 education in TUSD should be managed and your track record in office for eight difficult years of the district's history, it would be best for the district if you did not continue to serve on its Board.

9 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Another Reply to Stegeman on 10/16/2016 at 1:03 PM

Re: “Dispensary Distribution

Look at the funding for the "No on 205" advertisements. What a basket of deplorables. I say for for 205, just to upset the big money boys.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Gandalf the White on 10/16/2016 at 1:01 PM

Re: “Song of the Day 'Whiskey Woman' by Flamin' Groovies

Well said, Billy. I'll never forget reading about that album in Creem or Fusion, possibly even in Rolling Stone, and eventually finding a copy when I went off to college a few years later. It was a sealed cutout copy, in fact, priced at $1.99 I'm guessing. (Later I would find another sealed cutout. I still have it. Still sealed. No, I will not entertain offers.) The Jordan-Loney team was a powerhouse for sure, and that song still holds up today. I've long broadcast my intention to have my family play Shake Some Action at my funeral, but after reading your essay, I'm now also thinking about making sure that we have some sort of Irish wake where we/they can spin the pre-Sire Groovies music as well. -Fred Mills, Asheville NC

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Fred Mills, Asheville NC on 10/16/2016 at 8:04 AM

Re: “Danehy

I find myself nodding, nearly in agreement, with Danehy. He appears to recognize that Clinton is a seriously deeply flawed candidate who has earned the distrust of a majority of voters. And I can't argue with anyone who sees Trump, not the Republicans or conservatives in general, as a bombastic fool, an indictment of our system of selecting presidential candidates.

"People who want viable third-party candidates should come up with viable third parties." Really? We obviously do not have viable political parties (unless the term refers to sharks and cockroaches). We have two inbred mega-organizations representing the political interests of minorities of voters surviving on the largesse of the most wealthy and powerful.

How about viable (like adaptable and strong) Democrat and Republican parties as a first step? I've been around long enough to say I've never seen a presidential election offering two choices, one worse than the other, to slither from the pit and take the reins of power.

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Rick Spanier on 10/16/2016 at 7:53 AM

Re: “Song of the Day 'Whiskey Woman' by Flamin' Groovies

It's an interesting album. It definitely has its moments and it is similar in certain ways, but I truly believe it isn't "near every bit as good as Sticky Fingers".

Although, when you let it stand on its own, without comparing it to one of the greatest albums made within the last 50 years, it holds its own pretty well.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by AZ/DC! on 10/16/2016 at 7:46 AM

Re: “Creative Community

You're welcome!

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Ex-Arizonan on 10/15/2016 at 11:33 PM

Re: “Creative Community


I would also like to thank you for your information and your response. It's nice to know that trolls aren't the only type of people that access this site. 😊

Sincerely, DC

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by AZ/DC! on 10/15/2016 at 9:22 PM

Re: “Creative Community


I did a bit more research and found that there was apparently a Brookings Institution study that What, Again may have been referring to. It was cited on CBS news, I think. What you say about rankings for cities over 500,000 makes sense. So, the third worst city on the Brookings Institution list is Philadelphia, and Philadelphia has a completely different set of circumstances, different demographics, a different history, different culture--I actually lived nearby for a while years ago. Could it be that there is a common thread here that may not be a Tucson-specific issue? I would imagine that debt, financial mismanagement and good old-fashioned corruption and graft may be big woes for any large-ish city. Also, there does seem to be a pattern of Sun Belt cities running out of money in recent years due to the fact that many snowbirds dumped their winter homes and seriously cut back on spending following the recession. This holds true for cities in Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and SoCal as well. So no, I don't think the "anti-growth" card is entirely accurate. Thanks for the added info and fact-checking.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Ex-Arizonan on 10/15/2016 at 7:00 PM

Re: “My Picks for the TUSD School Board: Cam Juarez, Kristel Foster, Betts Putnam-Hidalgo

(Reply to) Reply to Stegeman: I always believed, and said at the time, that the $17 million deficit was exaggerated, to create a public case for closing schools. (But my memory was that the $17 million was TUSD's messaging in spring 2012, not 2013, so we may be talking about different situations.) There was a revenue/spending imbalance, but not that large. The board relies substantially on staff for budget analysis, perhaps more than it should, and in 2011 the staff itself provided no warning of that imbalance. This is somewhat similar to what happened with 301. As you say, I am willing to accept my part of the responsibility for the 301 buildup (though I usually voted against the 301 plans), which is more than we have heard from the other board members. I have never claimed to get everything right. Obviously I need to study the district's audits and financial reporting more closely.

I have also never claimed to stay true to a "progressive" agenda. That is one reason I left the Democratic Party. My policy positions do not line up closely with either party (at least as those parties are presently constituted), and I am uncomfortable being accountable to either party's platform.

A well-functioning audit committee can greatly help the board to keep abreast of budget and financial issues and potential problems, but the current majority has eroded or eliminated the audit committee's independence, which I think is a major loss.

Yes, the lurching around in the budget, from which the magnet schools for example have greatly suffered, is absurd. I would like to reform the entire budget process, and that is one reason that I have voted against the budget for years. Reforming that process will take at least one more vote on the board. I think Betts would be a good choice.

Yes, there are many issues where I would like to be reporting more to the public, your point is well taken, but the prolix letters are a lot of work. I should probably write more letters and shorter ones -- many persons have given this advice.

3 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Mark Stegeman on 10/15/2016 at 1:09 PM

Re: “Danehy

And lousy presidents.

4 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 10/15/2016 at 9:39 AM

Re: “Creative Community


When Wrong, Again mentions that Tucson is the 6th poorest city, he, much like the rest of his trolling ilk, is only mentioning part of the facts.

The whole truth is that Tucson is currently rated as the 6th for U.S cities with populations over 500,000. He always fails to include that part.

Although I do understand why he does this. What he has to say doesn't hold as much weight when you reveal the whole truth. This is also typical of his trolling ilk.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by AZ/DC! on 10/15/2016 at 7:49 AM

Re: “My Picks for the TUSD School Board: Cam Juarez, Kristel Foster, Betts Putnam-Hidalgo

No, TUSD Parent #101, it's people who excuse the conspicuously malfeasant Board majority and CEO who are destroying our kids's schools, and the community is very well aware of it, thanks to the "political IEC" you mention and other persistent members of the community who are working hard to get this district cleaned up.

It's typical of your crowd to disparage and insult anyone who speaks the truth about what is going on in this district. "TUSD Parent #101" is a good screen name: it seems you have mastered TUSD-politics 101: justify and excuse the ongoing malfeasance in the district by blaming and deriding the messenger, as both "Disappointed Parent" and "Another Disappointed Parent" pointed out.

Are you perhaps one of the people who has been given a TUSD job you didn't qualify for by the Grijalva network? Or someone whose company has been awarded a bid because of a relationship you have or in exchange for donations or kick-backs of some sort? (Cf. The hiring of Grijalva's mother-in-law as a principal over candidates ranked more highly by the selection committee; the awarding of the strategic plan consulting contract to friends of Sanchez's; or the large donations from ESI, the company with a $21 million contract for managing outsourced subs, to the campaigns of the two incumbent candidates who had voted for the contract, Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez.) Or are you a parent with a kid enrolled in University High School, Fruchthendler or Sam Hughes, one of the TUSD schools which benefits from the current Superintendent's patronage while schools on the south and west sides go begging? Or a friend of Ann-Eve Pedersen's? There are plenty of explanations for people taking the kind of positions you take -- none of them worthy of respect.

There are problems with the Arizona legislature and governor, but those of us who are HONEST admit that there are problems with TUSD Board and Administration as well. Underfunding does not excuse malfeasance, nor does it mean that constituents do not have a right to expect honesty and proper management from those running our public institutions. All of our public school districts in Arizona are underfunded and there are many that do much, much better than TUSD does. It's well past time for TUSD to accept responsibility and clean up its act, and it starts with the Board and CEO.

12 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Let's be HONEST, shall we? on 10/15/2016 at 7:22 AM

Re: “Creative Community

10 Poorest Cities in America of 2015
5. Tucson

Take your pick. More socialism/communism/liberalism isn't going to fix it.

1 like, 7 dislikes
Posted by What, Again on 10/15/2016 at 6:49 AM

Re: “Creative Community

Census: Tucson sixth-poorest large city

1 like, 7 dislikes
Posted by What, Again on 10/15/2016 at 4:38 AM

Re: “Creative Community

According to 24/7 Wall St., these are the 25 poorest towns in America. There isn't a single mention of Arizona anywhere on the list.

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Ex-Arizonan on 10/15/2016 at 2:26 AM

Re: “ACLU: "Widespread Problems" With Health Care Inside Arizona Prison

I am very happy today because i never thought i would be able to leave up till this day.i am Benson Tanaka from Zimbabwe i was infected with h i v by my wife who later died of it and this disease has been with me for the past 6 years now i have gone to several hospitals to seek for cures but all they give to me are some drugs which has taking almost all my savings i had,i was on Facebook on Saturday morning then there was an health group which i was asked to join by a friend immediately after i joined it i saw some post of people giving tanks to this doctor that he has cured them of their hiv disease i was so surprised about this i collected the doctors contact and i thought of it for about 5 good days then i concluded in giving him a try because there was no harm in trying.when i contacted doctor prince he tolled me he was going to prepare an herbal medicine for me which i was going to take for 2 weeks and after that i should go for a test at any of the hospital,after i did every thing which he asked me to do i received the medicine the next two days from a courier company which i started taking immediately after about a week plus i felt some strange moves in me,i felt like i was getting better when i completed the medicine i went for a test at the Bulawayo Central Hospital were i was tested (-)negative i thought i was dreaming i went for another test at the St anne's hospital it was still the same then i believed i was really free from this disease today i have got-in a new job and i am also married to a beautiful wife all tanks to doctor prince here is his contact details for any one who is passing true any kind of sickness or disease he will be willing to help you you can also call or whatsapp him on +2348163241499

Posted by BENSON TANAKA on 10/15/2016 at 1:46 AM

Re: “My Picks for the TUSD School Board: Cam Juarez, Kristel Foster, Betts Putnam-Hidalgo

I just wanted to say what a lovely well thought out piece this is David and I agree with so many of your sentiments.

As a TUSD parent I am horrified daily by what I read and hear being said by these 24-7 TUSD rock throwers about our kids' school district and especially about those working hard every single day to make our schools better, AND amidst the most egregious circumstances imaginable given how our state legislature and GOVERNOR sets the table for them! (Throw your rocks at them, rather than HT Sanchez or the school board!)

It's as if the district is being stalked by some pretty crazy dysfunctional people, (well evidenced by the comments above I might add). However, what is truely scary to me is that we have a current sitting board member who engages in this same destructive rock throwing behavior. I too find his incessant attacks to be all for not. I can't imagine what on earth motivates him, but ultimately he just exacerbates the situation and further harms our school district. Every day. Every single day.

If anyone thinks they can actually improve anything - an organization, an educational environment, a society, TUSD ...whatever, by engaging in these kinds of lizard-brain accusations and constant high drama criticisms....or the best one yet - by starting a political IEC (to supposedly solve bullying in your kid's school?!!)... Well I don't even know where to begin other than to say you are SO sadly mistaken and just making the situation worse by your behanvior. I wish you all would just stop and go focus your time, money and energy on something positive and productive. It's so troubling to watch. These are our kids schools you are destroying.

5 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by TUSD Parent #101 on 10/14/2016 at 10:26 PM

Re: “Song of the Day: 'See Saw' by Don Covay

Love Covay, have looked at youtube forever hoping to find footage of live shows. Never anything to see. :(

Posted by Kip Dean on 10/14/2016 at 6:51 PM

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