Lillian Fox 
Member since Jul 18, 2016


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Re: “TUSD Still Needs a New Boss

This is POOR reporting or maybe it's not reporting at all. Ms. Sedgwick did NOT add a "last minute agenda item two weeks prior that threatened to terminate his contract." She wanted performance objectives for the superintendent. That was reasonable given TUSD's unacceptable performance under Sanchez.

Despite Superintendent Sanchez and his supporters claims, TUSD's performance has been poor under Sanchez. If you have any doubt, look at the Auditor General's March 1, 2017 report on TUSD.

During his tenure teachers have been fleeing TUSD at something over 400 teachers per year. The lion share of the separations have been resignations, not retirements.

TUSD has had an ever increasing number of vacant teaching positions filled by a rotating series of subs. It is impossible to fill 400+ vacancies year after year in Tucson. It's critically important to hold onto teachers, not drive them out of the district.

And, Sanchez publically endorsed and supported the Pueblo principal's illegal grade changes. They both claimed the teacher was a sub and gave completely different reasons to justify the grade changes! She was not a sub. She had 30 years of teaching experience and a contract as a teacher, not as a sub. As Sanchez and the principal knew very well, under Arizona State Statute only the teacher or the school board can legally change grades.

Neither Sanchez's public support for illegal grade changing, the discipline issues brought on by Sanchez, nor TUSD's hoarding of 301 performance money have been morale boosters for teachers. If you know TUSD teachers or meet one, be sure to thank them for their hard work. They deserve praise and support from the public. Sanchez does not.

Under Sanchez, TUSD built up a $14.9 MILLION surplus of unpaid 301 teacher performance money! That's the equivalent of 2 years of 301 teacher performance money, he held back. Teachers who retired during his tenure, not only lost income, they will have smaller retirement benefits for the rest of their lives. There is no way to go pay the money they should have gotten to teachers who retired or who resigned from TUSD. The CAFR, prepared by TUSD's outside accounting firm shows that Sanchez used the unpaid 301 money to cover shortfalls in other funds instead of paying it to teachers.

I wish the Tucson Weekly would put more effort into reporting on TUSD. It's a huge part of life in Tucson.

There are complaints from teachers all over TUSD about the failure to follow TUSD's discipline policies. TPD sent Sanchez two letters complaining about two schools failure

24 likes, 42 dislikes
Posted by Lillian Fox on 03/09/2017 at 10:21 PM

Re: “Editors Note

I admired Judy Burns for years. I collected signatures for her, because she was the best TUSD Board member I had ever seen. I believe Judy Burns would have been happy to serve on a Board with Rachel Sedgwick. Rachel is picking up where Judy Burns, unfortunately for us and her family, left off. Rachel is doing her homework and asking questions. She is challenging the status quo, big time!

Go Rachel!

22 likes, 64 dislikes
Posted by Lillian Fox on 03/09/2017 at 9:46 PM

Re: “Removing TUSD Superintendent Prioritized Over Finding Replacement

One of several good reasons to replace Sanchez was the ongoing battle over implementing the deseg plans for TUSD. Sanchez had TUSD paying for a $1million/year, 4 year contract with an outside deseg legal firm.. That far surpasses anything TUSD spent on outside deseg attorneys in the four prior years.

Every time TUSD goes to court, the plaintiffs' attorneys and the Special Master have to respond. In addition to paying for TUSD's outside attorneys, TUSD also has to pay the legal costs of the plaintiffs and Special Master. All those legal costs including the $1 million per year are paid for with the Deseg money, the money that is supposed to help TUSD's kids.

Sanchez's litigiousness has been burning up TUSD's money with no results. With Sanchez gone, perhaps TUSD can implement the USP plan negotiated under Dr. Pedicone and quit paying a fortune to the outside attorneys!

Another good reason to replace Sanchez was so TUSD's teachers would finally get their 301 performance money! Sanchez and his staff have continued to play games about the amount of unspent 301 performance money and the size of the 301 performance payout for 2016-17.

Tuesday night, 301 Amendment #2, instigated under Sanchez, is on the Board's agenda. Amendment #2, claims to require paying all the 301 money to teachers, but it applies only to the 301 money TUSD got this year, exempting the unspent 301 money carried over from prior years! It also allows TUSD to keep 5% of the money. Furthermore, the amount of 301 money this amendment will pay out has been left blank. TUSD agenda descriptions are required to state the amount of money and source of funds for each agenda item. Unbelievable, that CFO Soto won't provide the cost of what the Board is being asked to approve.

32 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Lillian Fox on 03/06/2017 at 5:37 PM

Re: “Thoughts on the Sanchez Resignation and the Next Steps for TUSD

If Mr. Safier had followed what was happening in TUSD and in Board meetings under Dr. Sanchez, he would have a very good idea why Dr. Sanchez had to go.
The dishonesty was blatant. The parents' complaints were ignored.

The day Dr. Sanchez resigned a parent complained in the call to the audience that she was never able to get a 504 for her daughter, who has very dangerous allergies. She called the principal; she even called Dr. Sanchez and got no response and never did get a 504 for her daughter. Her daughter is now in a different school and has the 504 she needed, but never got in her TUSD school.

On March 1st, the Auditor General released their 2 page reports for each Arizona school district. If there is any question about what happened to TUSD under Sanchez, all anyone needs to do is look at the report on TUSD. The 1st page has a variety of full color, easy to understand graphics that compare TUSD to its peer districts. Red is bad.

The second page is a series of graphs showing TUSD's performance in various areas over 5 years or over 10 years. It's very clear from the graphs, the direction TUSD was headed in under Dr. Sanchez and the prior Board majority. Thank goodness for Rachel Sedgwick, Michael Hicks and Mark Stegeman!

29 likes, 69 dislikes
Posted by Lillian Fox on 03/03/2017 at 8:14 PM

Re: “TUSD Sideshow

First, the reporter counted wrong. There were more than 3 people who spoke in opposition to Sanchez. Furthermore at least 3 senior TUSD administrators broadcast emails trying to get people to come out in support of Sanchez. The TUSD email system was used! Ms. Foster also put an effort into getting people to turn out to support Sanchez. If after all that effort only 20 people showed up to support Sanchez, that's not much of an endorsement for keeping him.

There was no effort at all to get people to speak in opposition to Sanchez.

The November TUSD Board election was a strong vote to bring serious change to the district. Continuity lost; positive change won. And that is what Ms. Sedgwick is doing. She has exhibited courage in the face of multiple despicable attempts to smear her and damage her reputation. To understand what is going on in TUSD, my advice is to watch a few Board meetings and skip reading the Tucson Weekly for a while

34 likes, 43 dislikes
Posted by Lillian Fox on 02/17/2017 at 11:46 PM

Re: “Hell Yes! The 2016 Tucson Weekly Endorsements

You must be insane endorsing Foster and Juarez for re-election to the TUSD Board. They need to be thrown out, if only for their complete indifference to the needs of the students, teachers and employees of TUSD. I don't know how TUSD can survive another 4 years of their destructive indifference. On the last three years of their watch TUSD has lost over 400 teachers a year. That's over 1200 teachers out of 2,500 TUSD teachers. Since the start of school this year, 17 TUSD teachers have already resigned.

The chief HR officer doesn't do exit surveys, because she "knows" why teachers leave. None of the surrounding districts have anything like TUSD's rate of teacher vacancies, Adjusted for the relative size of the districts, neither the other local school districts, nor any of Arizona's other 9 large school districts have anything like TUSD's number of teacher vacancies! TUSD currently has 151 teacher vacancies. For each vacancy listed, its necessary to read to the end of the job description. Something listed as "elementary school teacher" may actually be for 4 elementary school teachers at the same school--1 1st grade, 2 2nd grade, 1 3rd grade. These positions are unlikely to be filled this year.

Talk to the Utterback parents--no textbooks for kids to take home, 8 unfilled teaching positions, discipline and bullying problems, gates left unlocked during school hours allowing free access to the campus by anyone and allowing students to leave campus any time they please. Some of the teachers Utterback does have aren't even certified! Once upon a time, Utterback was an award winning, outstanding school, recognized for performing arts. Today, few of those classes are offered. No dance classes, because there's no dance teacher and TUSD isn't even advertising for a dance teacher.

Oh, at Utterback and nearly all TUSD schools, if parents want textbooks for their students to use at home, the parents better plan on buying them. Students at University High and students in the IB program, but only the students in the IB program, at Cholla do have textbooks to take home. The TUSD school libraries haven't been funded in years--no new books no periodicals. Superintendent Sanchez has a $3,000 allowance to buy periodicals for his office. That's in addition to the $480,000 compensation package that Foster and Juarez approved, making him the highest paid superintendent in Arizona and one of the highest paid superintendents in the United States..

TUSD carried over from last year, two years of 301 teacher performance money that was not paid out to teachers. It turns out TUSD is using millions of dollars of the teachers' performance money to cover up the enormous deficit Superintendent Sanchez has run up during his tenure in TUSD. In FY 2013, 2014, 2015, TUSD used $6 million, $10 million and $12.2 million, respectively, of unspent 301 money to cover TUSD's increasing deficit. We won't know until December when the external auditors annual report is published, just how much more money Sanchez has borrowed from teachers' 301 money. Sanchez says he has been a CFO and has taught finance, so he can't claim he didn't know he was running up these huge deficits. The increasing size of the surplus of 301 money not paid to teachers is well documented in the annual AFR reports, Sanchez and CFO Soto have had the Board approve every October. The annual CAFR reports prepared by the external auditor documents the use of the surplus 301 money to cover overspending of the rest of the budget.

The CAFR and AFR reports are all on TUSD's website under Information, Financial. In the reports just look for Classroom Site Fund. That's the official name for 301 money. The CAFR's balance sheets document the loaning of 301 money. The CAFR's footnotes have the details about the 301 money being used to cover deficits in other accounts. The AFR reports show the amount of unspent 301 money rolled over each year. Last year, TUSD only paid out 25% of the total 301 teacher performance money it had.

Under the current Board majority, TUSD is run solely for the benefit of the Superintendent and his senior administrators. The Superintendent will make about $480,000. For last year, he collected $32,634 for his unused vacation days. Last year, his cabinet collected $80,000 for their unused vacation days. They get 25 vacation days a year, 5 sick days, 6 personal days and 22 holidays every year. The cabinet automatically is paid for their unused vacation days every year! The cabinet members do such outstanding work that every one of them collected 100% of their $10,000 performance bonuses. TUSD has no details of exactly what goals each of them accomplished.

On the other hand, a TUSD teacher is not getting a dime for her unused sick days after 30 years. She didn't notify TUSD by February that she would be retiring at the end of the school year! And, remember, TUSD only paid out 25% of the $21.1 million in teacher performance money it had last year.

And, TUSD has moved all its nurses, counselors, and social workers to a new pay scale that will pay them $800 less per year than their current pay scale. Even with its 151 teacher vacancies, TUSD is only paying its returning retired teachers 70% of what other teachers make. And, TUSD has reneged on the benefits Sanchez told the Board and what HR told the retired teachers in writing. They're getting docked for taking the personal days they were told they had. When confronted about the discrepancy, Chief HR Officer Maiden told the retired teachers, they weren't entitled to the days. When shown the document that defined their benefits, her response was to dismiss it as a "mistake."

Finally, lets not forget the $5,000 donations both Foster and Juarez took from ESI's Vice President of Marketing. They each gave different explanations for how they happened to get their largest donations from a woman in Phoenix. This summer they both voted to approve a $21 million contract with ESI. Foster returned hers only after she was caught. Juarez said he would return his $5,000 donation, but he has not.

Really, you think these two should be re-elected and they've only made a few little mistakes!

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Lillian Fox on 10/22/2016 at 8:11 PM

Re: “My Picks for the TUSD School Board: Cam Juarez, Kristel Foster, Betts Putnam-Hidalgo

I would imagine, Betts' idea of hell is to be on a Board controlled by the current block voting majority.

I can't imagine what would become of TUSD with the continuation of the current incompetence. The Board majority and Superintendent Sanchez respond to problems within the district, first with denials and then with attacks on the messengers.

I'm my experience, competent people don't deny and don't lie. When there's a problem, instead of denials. they talk about what is being done to correct the problem. Competent people are all about solutions and working to make things better.

32 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Lillian Fox on 10/12/2016 at 5:34 PM

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