Wednesday, February 15, 2017

TUSD Superintendent Firing Update: Nothing To See Here, Folks (For Now).

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 1:14 PM

The agenda for TUSD's Tuesday board meeting included an action item to look at firing Superintendent H.T. Sanchez and General Counsel Todd Jaeger. The item was pulled from the agenda. No action. Nothing to see here folks. But this isn't the last time we'll witness an attempt to oust Sanchez. It was a preview of coming events.

I'm only going to indulge in a general discussion of the situation. There's so much heat and so little light on both sides of this battle, it's impossible for me to sort out fact from fiction or determine the difference between cause-and-effect and random incidents. The fighting is fierce, filled with leaks, rumors, accusations and strange bedfellows.

So, just a few comments.

I think Sanchez should stay. [Open The Comments Floodgates!] He's done a decent job as superintendent—admirable in some instances, less admirable in others. Based on my 30 year-plus career as a public school teacher and a student of education around the country, I have no reason to think another superintendent will do a significantly better job steering this difficult district filled with the kinds of problems facing most large, ethnically diverse urban areas. More likely, the district's loss of continuity would do more harm than good.

I don't know the state of the alliance between new board member Rachael Sedgwick and her potential majority partners, Michael Hicks and Mark Stegeman, but I'm guessing it's a bit shaky. Though the three are likely to agree on a number of issues, Sedgwick looks like a tough person to get along with. She's shown herself to be impulsive and quick tempered, which might not sit well with the other two more seasoned, more deliberative board members.

Sedgwick put her action item in just under the deadline, which gave people on both sides of the issue little time to reflect or react before the meeting. It must have caught at least one of her potential allies by surprise since, if I understand correctly, three members of the board aren't allowed to confer together about board business. It's very possible she went for this on her own. The bare-bones nature of the item makes that a strong possibility. As was pointed out in a Star article before the meeting, the item didn't include plans for appointing an interim superintendent or beginning a search for a permanent replacement, so a Yes vote could have thrown the district into chaos. But the problems with this first shot across the bow of the TUSD administration can be corrected next time—and there will be a next time—so the board battle over the fate of H.T. Sanchez will happen sooner or later.

Board watchers, stay tuned.

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