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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Currents Feature

Re: “So Long Sánchez

What we've heard from those doing public records requests is that there were BOTH bonuses awarded AND salaries increased without proper approval / disclosure, and it happened throughout Sanchez's tenure. It appears that it was a consistent practice: it wasn't a case of a mistake at the beginning which he chose to learn from so he could subsequently improve his administrative practice.

The work of explaining what has happened here needs to stop taking place in the comment streams. Constituents who are concerned should watch videos of Board meetings of the past three and 1/2 years, read the coverage of Sanchez's record provided in the Arizona Daily Star, and review the Latino plaintiffs' advocate's periodic reports. If those who have made a reasonable effort to review these readily accessible materials cannot see plainly that there were serious and recurring problems with the way Sanchez administered this public institution, the only conclusion to draw is that those people don't understand basic professional standards for public institution administration.

But in Arizona that is not at all surprising. Not only the population at large, but state level leaders have shown repeatedly and in a number of different ways that they don't understand public institution protocols with their framing of legislation to allow blocks to financial transparency in charter institutions using public funds and their belief that in this "war" they are fighting it is fine for people like Yarbrough to disregard conflict of interest and, after participating in getting tax credit legislation passed, to set themselves up as salaried employees of STOs dispensing public funds to private institutions. Phoenix privatizers loved Sanchez, and this is why: where public district schools should properly provide a contrast to untransparent charters and privates applying public funds, Sanchez began bringing a desperate, starved and malfunctioning public school district down to the level of the charters and privates, with his inability to understand and apply proper bidding and hiring practices, his courting of donations from the business community, his dispensing of his own personal donations to schools in the system he administered, his application of federal Title 1 dollars in ways that did not achieve the effects intended by "war on poverty" policy / funding, his outsourcing of subs, his disrespect for desegregation judges and plaintiffs, etc., ad nauseam. The list is long and extremely distasteful to those who have experience with standards maintained in properly run public school districts in other states. Perhaps, now that Sanchez is available, he can be hired to run an STO or charter network. He'd fit right in there, but he does NOT belong at the helm of a public school district serving a primarily low-SES, high minority population of more than 40,000. The administrative decisions he made did not benefit the vulnerable students in the district or the teachers struggling to serve them under increasingly difficult conditions. Those who've followed informed commentary about implementation of the USP and changes in the use of desegregation funds for the past 3 and 1/2 years (including drastically escalating legal costs which sucked money out of poverty-stricken schools and applied it in unnecessary litigation) know it.

Perhaps, Mr. Huppenthal, you would consider showing us some mercy and no longer inserting your opinions about the administration of public education institutions into these comment streams? You showed by your promotion of exit from the public district system while you were state superintendent of PUBLIC education that you don't believe in the public district system and don't support it. These days Southern Arizona's few supporters of what public schools have been and are in other parts of the U.S. are struggling enough in their efforts to combat locally-sourced BS. We really don't need more BS imported and dropped into these comment streams by Phoenix privatizers.

17 likes, 69 dislikes
Posted by Learn proper standards for public institutions. on 03/11/2017 at 12:06 PM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

A bonus is not a pay increase and it is literally a lie to say that it is unless the bonus structure was not in place the previous year.

Prop 301 explicitly allows and encourages a bonus structure - tying pay to performance. Without that system, you simply can't improve public education performance.

A healthy compensation structure has significant pay tied to results.

You are arguing that because Sanchez was doing competent policy, it was right to fire him.

1 like, 38 dislikes
Posted by on 03/11/2017 at 10:14 AM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

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 Board watcher and retired TUSD teacher Lillian Fox has pointed out in another comment stream, there was a significant increase in teacher resignations and teacher vacancies 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. Fox and other Board watchers have noted that there were 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.

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:

27 likes, 69 dislikes
Posted by Teaching conditions, teacher morale deteriorated under Sanchez. on 03/10/2017 at 6:42 AM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

It's good that "Kindness Counts" (whose comments read a lot like they are coming from Sanchez PR hire Stephanie Boe)) provided a link to Varney's letter. I had heard that Varney 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.

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. "

Other interesting facts about the Sanchez hiring process, which was mismanaged, are available in these pieces:

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:

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.

26 likes, 62 dislikes
Posted by When it comes to reporting, ACCURACY counts more. on 03/10/2017 at 6:36 AM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

I posted this update from the Tucson Chamber of Commerce CEO on another page.

It's a must-read. -->

42 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Kindness Counts on 03/09/2017 at 9:30 PM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

I would like TUSD's board to get a handle together on what has to be done; maybe figure out areas for each board member to report to the others - something! Lots of wasted time, effort and money due to the board's continual changing of the superintendent over the years as well as bad behavior acting as a group. We need to HELP someone get good at the job and then support them. Politics should be the least thing.

69 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by MaryE2 on 03/09/2017 at 7:31 PM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

Anyone who has watched even a single Board meeting during the last 4 years knows how unprofessionally the Board was managed by the previous majority and how unbelievably bitchy and rude Kristel Foster is. If you want the main source of SNARK and discord she is IT, in spades. Also, she lies. Lying is her modus operandi, her raisin d'etre. That and loudly applauding every gaffe of HT Sanchez's to drown out the sound of the entire district groaning in agony under his incredibly inept mismanagement of the schools. I half expected her to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West when he resigned. She was so relentlessly focused on cleaning up HT's shit for him and dousing it with perfume to make it smell like roses that it made one wonder if she would be able to find a new purpose in life once she didn't have to occupy herself 24/7 with that project.

It is laughable that anyone could be predicting -- or wanting -- a future return of the prior majority after what has just happened: they brought Dr. Disaster into town, kissed Dr. Disaster's ass constantly for 3 and 1/2 years instead of SUPERVISING him, which was their JOB, and applauded while he damaged the schools. What happened in November 2016 was the natural consequence of their bad choices and they should have expected that their employee (who, strangely, always seemed to act more like their boss) would have a short shelf life after the majority changed.

Now? They should stop throwing temper tantrums and slinging mud and act like the adults this community needs for governing board members in a district serving almost 50,000 students.

34 likes, 43 dislikes
Posted by Yes. DO go watch a Board meeting. on 03/09/2017 at 5:51 PM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

You want to see dysfunction? Attend a TUSD board meeting sometime. The fact is, Hicks and Stegeman are to the main instigators of backbiting, bureaucratic games and general get-nothing-done attitude that has effected the boards ability to function as a meaningful instrument of change. I expect things will only get worse now that Sanchez has been forced out.

This is PURE partisan politics and nothing more. TUSD just took a serious loss. Unfortunately the kids in TUSD schools will have to wait out this period of conservative back-slapping for the pendulum to swing back the other way, where if we're lucky (and people actually WATCH what is really happening on the board before they form an opinion) it will smack Stegeman straight in the face.

69 likes, 33 dislikes
Posted by Go to a Board meeting on 03/09/2017 at 4:43 PM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

They aren't the problem, unless you are a Grijalva supporter.

32 likes, 69 dislikes
Posted by TUSD should be ashamed on 03/09/2017 at 3:23 PM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

The Board will be in a far better place once Hicks and Stegeman are removed.

63 likes, 36 dislikes
Posted by Robert Rowley on 03/09/2017 at 2:21 PM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

So who paid for the party that was thrown for Sanchez? It was attended by well over 100 people, possible even more. Where did it take place? Was it at a TUSD facility? I think we deserve to know who paid for the party. It is a non partisan ethics based question and one any competent reporter should ask in light of the numerous corruption and special treatment allegations.

32 likes, 69 dislikes
Posted by HumanBean on 03/09/2017 at 11:34 AM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

" the faith-based community," with a left leaning town that believes there is a separation clause in the USC? That would be futile.

3 likes, 33 dislikes
Posted by What Happened To Common Sense? on 03/09/2017 at 9:30 AM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

What doesn't inspire the community's confidence and doesn't help the kids in TUSD schools is keeping a leader who is damaging the institution in place just because there has been too much turnover in the Superintendent position. Lack of relevant experience is lack of relevant experience. Incompetence is incompetence. Dishonesty is dishonesty. By any valid measure -- ratio of top admin compensation to teacher compensation, # of employees outsourced, percent of classrooms filled with qualified instructors, academic achievement, percent of $$$ spent in classrooms versus admin, percent of 301 and 123 money actually making it to teachers, etc. -- the district suffered damage under Sanchez. He needed to go, and those who want to help Tucson and TUSD will acknowledge it and stop criticizing the the Board for doing its job. Whether Foster and Grijalva wanted the Board to do its job is irrelevant. Their perspective on how the district should be managed lost in the last election, and it's the electorate that calls the shots in democratically controlled public institutions.

The community should be focusing its attention on asking for a properly managed, thoroughly transparent Superintendent process and participating constructively in it. The Superintendent selection process that brought Sanchez to town was cloaked in secrecy and had the result of ramming a conspicuously underqualified candidate down the community's throat with no alternatives presented for public inspection. That was wrong and it had very bad results for the district.

If you want to help TUSD, attend the upcoming Superintendent candidate forums and ask intelligent questions (like, for example, "Do you have more than 4 months experience as an interim Superintendent in a much smaller district?")

36 likes, 69 dislikes
Posted by Help TUSD by asking for a sound Sup selection process. on 03/09/2017 at 6:51 AM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

"...which she clarified to mean raising student enrollment..."

Good luck with that one.

Illegal border crossings decrease by 40 percent in Trump's first month, report says

3 likes, 69 dislikes
Posted by What, Again on 03/09/2017 at 6:36 AM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

This is embarrassing for Tucson, and bad news (again) for Tucson kids.

I wish voters would dig in next time there is a school board election. Look at actual data - short and long term - and take a look at how other cities have turned school districts around. [Hint: Not this way.]

Voters who think that they're not impacted by this just because they don't have a kid in school should think again. Dogma-driven decisions and nasty local political in-fighting isn't the way to run anything. It doesn't inspire confidence in potential investors, the current business community, or parents who might want to move to the area.

Grandstanding and puffery isn't leadership.

69 likes, 31 dislikes
Posted by Parent X on 03/09/2017 at 6:22 AM

Re: “So Long Sánchez

Oh look, it's the same article that was originally posted in the Range on March 6 under this title, "Removing TUSD Superintendent Prioritized Over Finding Replacement."

The community's comments on this piece of "reporting" can be found in the comment stream here:

Here's one of the comments on that article, from community advocate and Board watcher Betts Putnam-Hidalgo:
" leave out the one thing that should instantly disqualify Sanchez for the job, and should immediately undermine every single one of his very well-known political supporters. He lies. He lied about 301 money, he lied about bonuses and pay packages, he lied about 123 money--IF you actually knew what was going on in the District AND you listened to what he said, you could see the lies, and they were plentiful."

42 likes, 69 dislikes
Posted by Link to comment stream on this re-posted article on 03/09/2017 at 5:04 AM

Re: “Political Acts

In Wrong Again's world silly = stupid.

Heck, everything he posts = stupid.

Stupid is as stupid does.

The stupidity never stops when Wrong, Again is posting.

Disappear you fool.

Intelligent people will appreciate it.

44 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by AZ/DC! on 03/03/2017 at 7:44 AM

Re: “Political Acts

Sara - thanks for the lineup for all the fun.

How about activities for kids? Oops, how silly of me.

4 likes, 44 dislikes
Posted by What, Again on 03/02/2017 at 9:10 PM

Re: “Political Acts

We have a really amazing lineup with over 80 performers! Comedy, dancing, singing, mariachi, circus acts, Taiko drumming... It'll be a show that is all Tucson talent and lots of fun. :)

56 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Sara Micromatis on 03/02/2017 at 11:21 AM

Re: “Political Acts

Is it your small and barely used heart?

Oh, sorry. I should have figured it wasn't your small blackened heart when you described it as beautiful and perfect.

There's no way you could actually have a heart that is beautiful and perfect...because your heart has always been infected by evil.

You stinky POS you.

55 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by AZ/DC! on 03/02/2017 at 7:45 AM

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