Three Sonorans, you're correct that I donated to Kristel Foster's campaign and would have donated to Cam Juarez's campaign as well except that his website wasn't working properly. I didn't put that information in the post because it is a fact-based post rather than one that expresses an opinion on the TUSD race. However, I probably should have disclosed my support of the two candidates anyway.
gcb1, let me refer you to two posts I wrote three weeks before the Prop 123 election. If you just read the first few paragraphs of each post, I think you'll understand where I'm coming from and realize that your "I told you so" is unnecessary. I knew what Ducey's Next Step meant back then. If you read further, you'll see why I still voted for Prop 123 (I know we disagree on that, but it states why I thought a Yes vote was the better of two bad options), and you'll find out exactly how much I trust Doug Ducey.
"Translating Prop 123 Ducey-Speak: "It's a First Step"" http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archi…
"Prop 123 is a "First Step"? Let's Pretend "First Step" Means What Ducey Wants Us to Think It Means." http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archi…
A few comments about the numbers in my post.
Mark Stegeman, you commented that according to the Auditor General, the decline from 2103-14 to 2014-15 was 857, not 826. That's less than a 4% difference, which is important statistically, but in terms of the analysis I was doing , it isn't that high. And remember, I made it clear I consistently used the 175th day for my calculations. I don't know what day or what compilation of days the Auditor General uses for its enrollment numbers. The different ways of coming up with totals could be the cause of the 4% discrepancy between the figures.
JD, you commented that I used the term "significant" incorrectly from a statistical standpoint when I said over the last school year, the K-8 numbers had a "significant net gain" from the 20th day to the 175th day. Guilty as charged. I hope I didn't make it sound like I was performing a rigorous statistical analysis. I went back and computed the actual numbers. In the 2015-16 school year, in grades K-8, the district had a total 169 more students on the 175th day than the 20th day. That's what I was trying to convey when I called the change "significant," that it wasn't just a 20 or 30 student change. I hope that clears up what I was trying to say.
gcb1, I disagree with your analysis. If you think I was too convoluted and took too many words to explain what happened, let me try and make it simpler.
TUSD said to its teachers, "We're going to give you a $1,300 raise, guaranteed, even if Prop 123 fails. If it passes, we'll add another $700, bringing the total to $2,000."
Other Tucson-area districts said to their teachers, "We're not guaranteeing any salary raises. We'll wait to see if Prop 123 passes before we commit to anything."
That's what happened in a nutshell. What surprises me is that TUSD did such a lousy job of communicating what happened and allowed it to look like it cheated its teachers, when in fact, it was looking out for its teachers, no matter what happened in the Prop 123 election.
Lillian, a few responses to your comments. First, my statement that 86 percent of the Prop 123 funds was a continuation of the earlier part of the paragraph, "If the district waited like other districts and took the entire $2,000 out of its Prop 123 funds, it would have amounted to 75 percent of the total." I was talking about the total salary increases, both from the May 10 board meeting and the Prop 123 funds. If I didn't make that clear, that's my fault for not phrasing it better. That goes for your statement about CFO Soto's presentation as well. She was referring to the amount of salary that was added after Prop 123 passed, while my point was to look at the total raise received by TUSD teachers and other employees. The employees don't really care if their 2016-17 raises were given in two parts or they received them all after Prop 123 passed. All that matters is the amount in their paychecks.
You say I accused other districts of shorting their employees by giving them bonuses. I said no such thing. Here's my point. The bonuses added to the raises put more money in teachers' pockets right now, which is good. But if the actual raise is lower, after a few years, teachers will find that they're getting less year by year than if they received bigger raises, and there will come a point where their total pay over the years will be less than teachers who got a larger raise at the beginning but no bonus. So it's a toss-up which is better for teachers, to get more money in the short run with the bonuses or more in the long run with the larger salary raise.
I'm pretty sure you're correct about other large districts paying higher salaries than TUSD. I believe the Tucson area districts in general pay less than districts in most other areas of Arizona. But that wasn't the subject of my post. I was writing to refute the Star articles which left the impression that TUSD raises were lower than what other Tucson area districts gave their teachers. That assertion is incorrect.
To RE Safier's articles on Douglas and Testing. Your comments about the language I used about Douglas' "antics" are reasonable. But I think it makes sense to look at the entire paragraph they came from.
"Ed Supe Diane Douglas' antics, mainly directed at the state school board, have been the main source of jibes and jokes in the media. She's a novice who says and does silly stuff in her pursuit of her education agenda, throwing tantrums, suing the board and seeing if she can win by taking her marbles, or her websites, and going home. That all makes for easy, eye-rolling commentary. It also makes people forget that, since she took office, Douglas has made some of the most sensible statements about education coming from a Republican in a long time, including a school funding plan that's head-and-shoulders above any other AZ Republican proposal I've heard, maybe ever. Much as people like to say she's harming our schools, so far as I can tell, she isn't. Maybe she will in the future, it's certainly possible, but not yet. She's gumming up the privatization works a bit and giving the state board fits, but I haven't seen how it has hurt kids in a way that's comparable to, say, the legislative cuts to education which have been going on for years or Huppenthal's vendetta against TUSD's Mexican American Studies program."
After looking at the whole paragraph, if readers think my overall tone is misogynistic, that's fine. I just wanted to put the earlier passage in context. Here's the link to the entire post. http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archi…
A note to On the left? Really? I'd be interested in seeing what you find misogynist in what I've written about Douglas since she was elected. I think you'll find I have been pleasantly surprised, as I said in this post, at how much I agree with what she has said and done. My surprise hasn't been because she's a woman but because of her right wing beliefs which I feared would be detrimental to Arizona education.
Likewise, you might check back to see what I've written about standardized testing. You can look, for example, at the week I devoted to writing about the opt out movement across the country. I've written a number of posts about problems with high stakes, standardized testing.
The Range has a reasonably robust search engine. Type in a few search terms along with my name and see what you find.
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