Thursday, February 12, 2015

Board Member Michael Hicks Wants to Cut TUSD Funding by $64 Million

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 11:30 AM

That would have made for a headline-grabbing slogan if TUSD Board member Michael Hicks used it during the 2014 campaign. "If elected, I promise to cut $64 million from the TUSD budget." I'm guessing he knew it would have hurt his election chances, which is probably why he saved it for later.

SB1371, discussed by the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday, would phase out school district desegregation funding from a number of districts in Arizona including TUSD. Superintendent H.T. Sanchez spoke at the hearing, stating that TUSD needs the funding to comply with the court-ordered deseg plan, and Debbie Lesko, the bill's sponsor, may add an amendment that exempts the district so long as it is under court order.

Meanwhile, Hicks sent a statement to the committee supporting the bill regardless of whether it is amended.
"I urge the Finance Committee to consider passing Senate Bill 1371 based on what the plaintiff representatives' belief that it is the money that caused TUSD to not actively secure Unitary Status. Michael Hicks TUSD Board Member."
Usually, written comments aren't read during committee meetings, but according to Senator Steve Farley, who sits on the committee, "Chair Lesko, in a highly unusual move, read [Hicks'] written comments from the RTS [Request to Speak] system anyway, not once, but twice, because they backed her position and undercut TUSD's credibility for those who did not know him."

In a Facebook post, Farley wrote, 
"This move on Hicks' part amounts to a direct attack on his own superintendent, 49,000 TUSD students, 3,000 teachers, and our entire community and economy. It amounts to dereliction of duty. He must be held accountable for his destructive actions."
Farley hopes to speak out about Hicks' action during the Call to the Audience at a TUSD Board meeting if his legislative schedule allows it. Of course, anyone who objects to Hicks' position can speak out during the Call to the Audience.

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