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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch

Re: “Streets of This Town: Kick Back

Is that the new convention center downtown?

5 likes, 29 dislikes
Posted by I Don't Get It on 03/10/2017 at 4:01 PM

Re: “Streets of This Town: Skeletons

How about renaming this feature Watering Hole for Dicks?

31 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Peabo on 03/10/2017 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Streets of This Town: Skeletons

Can you hire an actually good photographer for this feature

1 like, 32 dislikes
Posted by Palisades on 03/10/2017 at 1:24 PM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

Two questions for jhuppent@hotmail.com:

If there were over 400 teachers leaving per year (something that is unprecedented in the district's history) and if the district found itself unable every year since Sanchez arrived to fill all the newly created vacancies with qualified teachers rather than with outsourced, uncertified substitutes (the dearth of fully qualified teachers in TUSD has been of an entirely different scale than what other districts with similar wage rates have been experiencing) do we need an annual teacher satisfaction survey to tell us whether teacher job satisfaction deteriorated?

In a climate that has frequently been described as retaliatory, would the teachers who did fill out a "survey" circulated by administration feel confident that they could be honest about their feelings of "satisfaction" with the district without suffering blowback?

The answer most who live in this region and know the district's schools would give to both of those questions would be "No."

It remains curious that a privatizer keeps weighing in to support Sanchez. Why would that be, Jhuppent? Because he was willing to cooperate with outsourcing & reducing teacher credentialing & Basis-style misuse of AP testing & inflated and unstransparent administrative compensation packages & disparaging of desegregation judges, experts and plaintiffs & lowering deseg taxes & phasing down deseg levies after unitary status was achieved & recruiting private donations to supplement insufficient PUBLIC funding for PUBLIC schools, etc. ad nauseam?

Too bad, so sad the privatizers lost their BFF administrator of a massive PUBLIC (?) institution in Tucson. It will be interesting to see what kind of administrative behaviors the Superintendent recruited by the SUPPOSEDLY "anti-progressive" REPUTEDLY "white supremicist" Board majority comes up with. Will they be more favorable to the privatization agenda than what Sanchez came up with? It seems scarcely possible.

20 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by Phoenix privatizers are mourning the loss of Sanchez. on 03/10/2017 at 1:15 PM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

Did teacher job satisfaction deteriorate under Sanchez? Was that deterioration more severe than the national decline which saw the percent of teachers rating themselves "Very Satisfied" fall from 62% to 39%?

TUSD was doing an annual survey so the data should be readily available.

1 like, 38 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 03/10/2017 at 12:35 PM

Re: “Latin It Up Sandwich Shop Is Now Open on Fourth Avenue, Go Get a Cuban Sandwich

It seems they've closed now.

Posted by Firsttimecaller on 03/10/2017 at 10:47 AM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

gcb1,

Thanks for the heads up! I am always looking to grow and read new sources of information! If we don't try to learn about things from a new perspective or if we are not willing to change in light of new facts, what the hell is the point?

Why is this all coming from the comment sections? It seems like the Weekly has outsourced the leg work to the comment section. Dangerous. Step it up Weekly!

19 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by HumanBean on 03/10/2017 at 10:14 AM

Re: “Tucson Book Fest: A Conversation with Evan Thomas, author of "Being Nixon: A Man Divided"

I have nothing more to add Your Honour.

Even the Orange Emperor himself denounced the whole birth certificate BS.

Everybody with enough intelligence to spot fake news rests their case.

Expect an appeal from Russians Again though.

24 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by AZ/DC! on 03/10/2017 at 9:26 AM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

Danyelle Khmara, please take some time to read "Bridging Three Centuries" on the TUSD website under Information/History. Especially focus on the chapters involving the 1960s forward, for the purpose of learning the roots of much of today's TUSD stories. Human Bean, the same source will inform you that Tucson Mayor Jim Corbett (a colorful figure) appeared at Board meetings to speak on issues critical of the district. The district didn't just start in 2000.

17 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by gcb1 on 03/10/2017 at 8:33 AM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

"Kindness", please do not accept Varney's words as any indication that he or his organization care about how the STUDENTS fare....they indicated that he cares only about how the SUPERINTENDENT fares. His words followed the veiled threat from Varney's right hand woman at a recent Board meeting that important collaborative programs could be cancelled now that Sanchez is gone. At a following meeting, during a discussion about the possibility of going out for a Bond in the future, a minority Board member who continues to champion Sanchez claimed that TUSD has lost the support of the political and business establishment by "what has happened here to Sanchez". Just who is the Board supposed to try to satisfy?

In this case, they had spent four long years satisfying the Superintendent to the detriment of the students and their teachers. If the political and business community are so committed to backing a continual liar (see citations elsewhere in this comment string) they should be replaced by people who know the value of honest transactions. 200,000 votes were cast in the recent election by people who know that our students and teachers deserve better than a string of lies and cover-ups, and a completely airtight bloc was broken.

Those who really care about TUSDs students should now be looking for ways that that Board can work together instead of hurling threats accompanied by name-calling, entrapment and badgering of the new member that can only make that harder.

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 03/10/2017 at 7:49 AM

Re: “Streets of This Town: Skeletons

This is Tucson. Ugly power lines that destroy the vista and a skeleton of a strong, thriving saguaro. Just like Tucson, dead.

6th poorest in the country and liberals are DAMN proud of it.

1 like, 38 dislikes
Posted by What, Again on 03/10/2017 at 7:39 AM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

It's good that "Kindness Counts" provided a link to Varney's letter. I had heard that he had composed a letter and had looked for it as an editorial on the Star website, but did not find it there. Once I read Varney's two letters on the Chamber website it became clear that they were not something a reputable newspaper could have published.

I'm not going to take time to put my finger on every false claim or unverifiable, unsubstantiated assertion. It would take too much time. Here's one example of a completely false statement: the vote to hire Sanchez was NOT unanimous.

The vote to advance Sanchez as the sole finalist for the Superintendent position was split 3-2, with Hicks and Stegeman dissenting. In a public district of this size it is unheard of for only one candidate to be advanced to the final stage and put forward for public review in candidate forums.
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/sole-finalist-named-for-tusd-top-post/article_d968e803-f845-5fa9-8ab7-e6c4473d837b.html

In the vote to hire Sanchez, Stegeman dissented, remarking that he was not certain that ""I voted 'no' because I felt that his record did not support his elevation to a job as difficult as this at this point in his career," Stegeman said. "I'm concerned about whether his experience preparation is adequate to come into this job. "
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/tusd-hires-sanchez-as-superintendent/article_fefa25c3-c515-5e22-b201-da035bdaf5a4.html

Other interesting facts about the Sanchez hiring process, which was mismanaged, are available in these pieces:
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/search-firm-that-botched-texas-schools-chief-hiring-now-looking/article_b1c0a248-fd05-5dea-ab92-643522a18a9c.html
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/star-sues-tusd-for-names-of-other-superintendent-finalists/article_6587ca92-e8c5-5759-94b3-cd2c64166f70.html

As for the glowing record of stellar leadership Varney attributes to Sanchez, it doesn't take much digging to find a LOT of reporting locally about problems that would be recognized as grave ones to anyone who understands standards for the administration of PUBLIC institutions. Perhaps Mr. Varney is one of the many in private enterprise who do not understand those standards:
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/tusd-s-strategic-planning-consultant-got-prior-insight-into-district/article_2295b396-2caa-5c85-ac91-e460819bc40e.html
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/new-details-emerge-in-grijalva-kin-hiring/article_674695dc-d25c-5912-936a-c6bd531d1bbb.html

Bottom line? Tucson Weekly does an ABYSMAL job of reporting on TUSD. They are a propaganda organ of the establishment candidates (Grijalva, Foster, etc.) and provide little more than slanted stories to back up the political machine's self-serving talking points. Sedgwick is being set up for smear jobs in bars and coffee shops by people with loyalties to the establishment candidates and she is then being pilloried and stories about her that have little more than rumor-mill value are being aggressively circulated and promoted by people in the community who should know better.

What has really happened in the district is not that a good administrator has been dismissed because of political scheming and infighting. What has happened in the district is that the democratic process has been at work: in spite of certain influential parties' concerted efforts to BLOCK information about actual conditions in the district from getting to the public, voters in November 2016 heard the outcry of teachers and parents and voted in candidates who would not continue to rubber stamp the decisions of irresponsible leadership. These three candidates are now being punished by the propaganda machine for have achieved the # of Board positions necessary to start getting the right things done in the district.

How many people locally who don't know much about education or about conditions in the schools will be misled, like Varney, by this propaganda? It remains to be seen.

24 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by Try to distinguish between propaganda and journalism. on 03/10/2017 at 6:20 AM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

Thank you, Lillian Fox, for providing information on teacher vacancies and unpaid teacher bonuses. Whether or not a district is able to retain a fully qualified, effective teaching force is the single most important variable in whether it is able to deliver quality services to students. As you point out, there has been a significant deterioration of teacher morale and teacher retention under the Sanchez administration, and that's something the community should be discussing, together with the opinions of the head of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, who is not, to my knowledge, a professional educator or a researcher who studies teaching and learning conditions in the schools. You might want to add the numerous examples during the Sanchez administration of public funds being allocated to pad central administrative contracts without proper, public Board approval, a serious process and transparency problem in a PUBLIC school district. The copious additions of central administrative positions and inflations of central administrative salaries that kept being revealed after public records requests were done to "out" them was another factor that contributed to low morale and transfers out of district for teachers tired of struggling to get by on shockingly low wages in inadequately supplied classrooms in a district where central administrators were multiplying quickly and many of them were compensated at levels 3, 4, and 5 times what a classroom teacher makes per annum -- and receiving $10K bonuses on the QT.
http://threesonorans.com/2014/07/23/ht-sanchez-gets-caught-multiple-lies-tape-breaks-elders-hearts-video/

As the most recent TUSD audit report shows, TUSD has an administrative to classrooms spending ratio much worse than other districts of the same size. The outsourcing of substitute teachers was another blow to professionalism and morale in the teaching community:
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/tusd-moves-to-outsource-its-substitute-teachers/article_a6cf8196-558b-5d26-a5bc-0e45a54345cc.html

24 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Teaching conditions, teacher morale deteriorated under Sanchez. on 03/10/2017 at 6:09 AM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

This is POOR reporting or maybe it's not reporting at all. Ms. Sedgwick did NOT add a "last minute agenda item two weeks prior that threatened to terminate his contract." She wanted performance objectives for the superintendent. That was reasonable given TUSD's unacceptable performance under Sanchez.

Despite Superintendent Sanchez and his supporters claims, TUSD's performance has been poor under Sanchez. If you have any doubt, look at the Auditor General's March 1, 2017 report on TUSD.

During his tenure teachers have been fleeing TUSD at something over 400 teachers per year. The lion share of the separations have been resignations, not retirements.

TUSD has had an ever increasing number of vacant teaching positions filled by a rotating series of subs. It is impossible to fill 400+ vacancies year after year in Tucson. It's critically important to hold onto teachers, not drive them out of the district.

And, Sanchez publically endorsed and supported the Pueblo principal's illegal grade changes. They both claimed the teacher was a sub and gave completely different reasons to justify the grade changes! She was not a sub. She had 30 years of teaching experience and a contract as a teacher, not as a sub. As Sanchez and the principal knew very well, under Arizona State Statute only the teacher or the school board can legally change grades.

Neither Sanchez's public support for illegal grade changing, the discipline issues brought on by Sanchez, nor TUSD's hoarding of 301 performance money have been morale boosters for teachers. If you know TUSD teachers or meet one, be sure to thank them for their hard work. They deserve praise and support from the public. Sanchez does not.

Under Sanchez, TUSD built up a $14.9 MILLION surplus of unpaid 301 teacher performance money! That's the equivalent of 2 years of 301 teacher performance money, he held back. Teachers who retired during his tenure, not only lost income, they will have smaller retirement benefits for the rest of their lives. There is no way to go pay the money they should have gotten to teachers who retired or who resigned from TUSD. The CAFR, prepared by TUSD's outside accounting firm shows that Sanchez used the unpaid 301 money to cover shortfalls in other funds instead of paying it to teachers.

I wish the Tucson Weekly would put more effort into reporting on TUSD. It's a huge part of life in Tucson.

There are complaints from teachers all over TUSD about the failure to follow TUSD's discipline policies. TPD sent Sanchez two letters complaining about two schools failure

24 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by Lillian Fox on 03/09/2017 at 10:21 PM

Re: “Tucson Book Fest: A Conversation with Evan Thomas, author of "Being Nixon: A Man Divided"

You are a real piece of work. Did you not hear the admission by the Hillary campaign that they were in fact getting their info from Trump's bugged phones? Just wait until you see the Kenyan birth certificate.

My name is a play on the fraudulent democrats. Believe it sister.

5 likes, 26 dislikes
Posted by The Russians Hacked My Email Again on 03/09/2017 at 10:10 PM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

Kindness,

You make some very valid points and I was way off base and incorrect about Varney! Thank you for the link. I would have to be an idiot to stay stuck in my opinions as I get new information and what you provided was better than the blog post. Thanks. I was open minded about Ms. Sedgwick but it's hard to be after reading that, that was damning.

1 like, 38 dislikes
Posted by HumanBean on 03/09/2017 at 9:38 PM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

PS: We've lived a lot of places. Chambers of Commerce, regional business groups and mayors usually work to support school leaders because they know how vital the schools are to the economic, civic, and social vitality of their hometown.

What's striking in Tucson is not that these groups are trying to support the 48,000+ kids in the local schools by supporting the school district's leadership.

What DOES stand out: that a Chamber of Commerce has become so alarmed at how the school board is handling this situation that they released this statement:
http://tucsonchamber.org/one-to-one-from-mike-varney/a-dark-day-in-tucson-ii/

It's no small thing for a business group of varying interests & political inclinations to speak so plainly about a politically-charged situation. I appreciate that they did - it's too important for the city to ignore.

29 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by Kindness Counts on 03/09/2017 at 9:18 PM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

The author of this article doesn't have to "claim" the mayor and Tucson Chamber of Commerce president supported the TUSD superintendent. They did support the superintendent. Why spin it to imply there is editorializing in reporting this factual statement?

27 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by Kindness Counts on 03/09/2017 at 9:08 PM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

Kindness Counts,

Try reading the last three 'paragraphs'. The author of this blog is attempting to undermine or de-legitimize the new board member by claiming that our mayor and the president of the local Tucson Chamber of Commerce supported Sanchez. She wrote the exact same sequence in her previous two blog posts, so this is not a one off.

I dare the blog author to find a mayor or president of the Chamber of Commerce who have ever publicly opposed any school superintendent in Tucson. Can you find one example in the entire history of Tucson?

Varney and Mayor Rothschild are politicians and they will publicly support the next superintendent as well, because baring some major controversies, this is a part of their job. Either Ms. Khmara knows this and is digging deep to take Ms. Sedgwick down a notch or two OR Ms. Khmara is incompetent and cannot connect the dots. Either way that sentence doesn't add any important information and only reveals the authors bias and/or poor journalistic instincts.

Add this to her previous blog posts and you will get even more context and you can see the first posters point pretty clearly. The TW has a big bias on this issue and many other regarding TUSD. I personally believe that if Sanchez's last name were Smith, the TW would've called for his removal long ago based on his performance and some of the scandals that took place during his short tenure.

28 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by HumanBean on 03/09/2017 at 8:44 PM

Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

Maybe you should read the other FIVE posts on the district published by the same author recently. And then read the comments on them.

In a democracy the media is the "fourth estate." They have a critically important role to play in making sure the electorate is informed about what is going on in public institutions and how elected officials are doing in the roles with which the voters have entrusted them.

This publication has done a miserable job with TUSD for the entirety of the three and a half years I have been following what they write on the district. Now they are publishing a slew of heavily slanted, tendentious articles and blog posts about the change in the composition of the TUSD Board and the resignation of the TUSD Superintendent. These are both events for which they, in their conspicuously biased and MIA-on-many-crucial-issues "coverage" of the district, are partially responsible.

And now, with the district in this difficult, sad, and complicated situation , they "help" the Tucson community by publishing multiple barely-edited perhaps-not-even-reviewed-before publication posts by a completely new blogger?

Enough already. Competence counts. Accuracy counts. It's ultimately Herreras who is responsible for the quality of coverage. So let's see her accept the blame and correct the problem.

28 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by In Journalism, Competence & Accuracy Count on 03/09/2017 at 8:44 PM

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