TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez is giving a total of $17,000 to two schools. A couple of thoughts on the gesture.
First. I don't know if Sanchez timed the gift to lessen the impact of the complaints about his overly generous new contract, but if he did, it won't do much good. His gift is close to what the two previous superintendents gave back to the district—their yearly bonuses—so the gesture just puts him in line with his predecessors. He's still taking a big compensation bump over the next few years which has been greeted with nearly universal criticism (with me taking longer to get there than it should have. Mea culpa). I'm guessing nothing short of a reopening of the contract to lower the pay increase will help much.
Second. Sanchez chose two schools to give the money to: Davis Bilingual Elementary and University High. They're probably worthy choices, but I'm sure there were a few among many, many schools and projects he had to choose from. No matter where he decided to give money, and no matter how much he decided to give, it's small potatoes compared to the overwhelming need. If he brought his salary down to the previous level or took a small raise, it would be a clear statement that he doesn't put his needs above those of others in the district, but it wouldn't make a dent in the programs that need to be funded, and at most it would mean pennies in salary increases spread across the district.
The big issue, the one that we shouldn't take our eyes off of no matter what other legitimate concerns people have, is the state is starving the schools of funds. TUSD can work to save money however and wherever it can. Superintendent Douglas can try to reduce the bureaucratic mandates to schools which are currently built into state law. But so long as Arizona is sitting in 49th place, thousands of dollars per student below the national average, we're cheating our children out of the educations they deserve.