Date: April 1, 2015
To: Open Letter to TUSD Community Members- 6th Letter
From: Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators; Teachers and Parents
TUSD Supporters (Please distribute to others who are interested in the welfare of TUSD; teachers- please pass onto peers and parents pass on to other parents)
Subject: TUSD internet down for a day to facilitate the continued witch hunt!
What the Fruch-thendler!
Something terribly FISHY about the actions of Fisher agent- Gloria Copeland!
There is No SUBSTITUTE for direct communication.
The wrong Belle rings against a budget/financial auditor!
HT’s bragging is so over the top!
Steve Holmes has found a new home?
Interim administrators; HT sabotaging EEO and favoring only those he favors.
Our last letter of March 5th set off a rippling effect of TUSD re-action; a kind of land slide that further erodes the institution. Some Governing Board Members had to explain why they “had spoken out of school” and had shared that HT was constantly informing them about being offered jobs. How misbehaving, under HT’s rule, for these particular Board members not to keep his manipulative head-games a secret. Mostly, however, what was heard in every corner covered by the Board majority was, “You just do not know how difficult it is to have to deal with Mike Hicks and Mark Stegeman! The conflict cannot help but boil over during Board meetings.” The rationale, we guess works on a few, as three Board members paint themselves and their Supt. as victims. But, from our vantage point, most have or are catching on to the fact that the pack-rat of 4 (Sanchez, Grijalva, Foster and Juarez; “the SGFJ”) is repeatedly showing their ineptness.
Since so much was “divulged” in the 5th letter about the magnet schools meeting that was held by Steve Holmes, immediate suspicion was cast on administrators who were in attendance. Many were asking, ‘Could one or more of them be part of the “letter group?” Some who attended were actually asked directly if they were part of the group, as well as with whom they had shared the details of the meeting. Since when, in the history of TUSD, has it been a problem for administrators to speak about meetings they attend? Answer: Since HT arrived. The “S” in TUSD stands for School; not Salem!
The SGFJ is good at one thing – pointing in every direction but their own when it comes to every problem that is created (by them) and then exposed. They blame those who expose any problem and right now we rank highest on their culpability list.
The SGFJ is rearing for retaliation. We know that they are guessing, guessing, guessing and dropping names of people they suspect are behind letters- faster than they can spend TUSD reserve funding!
The internet goes down for a whole day to facilitate the continued witch hunt!
The BIG rumor began rolling out only days after our last letter. It was said that TUSD was once again attempting to find traces of our identities through the hundreds of emails that reached those of you within TUSD. Their investigation required that the internet go down for several hours through most or all of TUSD (on March 9th). If the rumor is true; we sure must be mighty. If it is not true, having the internet down for almost a full school day, is symptomatic of how the largest school district in Tucson is eroding before our very eyes.
Didn’t HT claim that his friend Daman Jackson had fixed everything in Technology? Any way you look at it – it is a bad situation. And the fact that the SGFJ is still on some clumsy witch-hunt continues to be a big concern. They should be most concerned about the problems we report to them and not who we are!
Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez were especially upset with the 5th letter. Kristel went on a full scale emotional roller coaster- with her poor-me martyr complex on full ramp….‘I work so hard for this District; I am here for the kids…and this is what I get; how could they do this to me? ’ And because she actually believes that she is Mexican, you could almost hear her talking to herself, ‘Casi soy Mexicana- ¿Cómo pueden hacer esto a mí.’ Her paranoia and retaliatory anger were part of the roller coaster ride, as she demanded to know ‘who is this person or people….we have to find out who is behind these letters, and stop them, now!!!!’ (All she left out was …’and burn them at the stake.’)
Cam arrogantly attempted to minimize us and our letters in his sloppy response to our last letter that appeared in the Tucson Weekly. He said that he does not deal with shadow agendas. By the Tucson Weekly reader comments to his response, it does not seem as though his retort was taken seriously or had any success. It had NO effect on us, except to have him affirm that whistle-blowers are in no way valued by him.
One of our favorite reader comments pertaining to Cam saying that the reason he went against hiring an external auditor was, “It is so extremely offensive for him to use the lack of money as an excuse for blocking the hire when the three of them have voted so freely on expenditures far beyond what this one position would cost. HT does not want any kind of oversight and Juárez should be asking himself (not HT) what the “shadow agenda” is in so obstinately opposing the hiring of an internal auditor. Instead, he simplistically casts culpability in the wrong direction. An appreciated comment stated, “Its a shame that TUSD isn’t taking this more seriously. These people are real, they are the real TUSD, ignoring them will only bring TUSD down further.” Yes, we are real and we have more invested in TUSD than any of the SGFJ. We thank those who came out in support of our purpose. Read more at:
Grijalva actually whispered to some that she was relieved not to be the one under attack- for a change. That’s the team spirit Adelita!
What the Fruch-thendler! This ain’t research based.
We have got to bring up Fruchthendler again. The idea of adding sixth grade to Fruchthendler, if seen from an isolationist point of view, and NOT a unified school district point of view, might appear to be a good one. (For all of 5 minutes.) HT’s biased support for the Fruchthendler/Sabino Plan sent a resounding message throughout TUSD- ‘each school is it in it for themselves.’ Not very unifying! When it is made clear that other elementary schools have also requested the addition of a 6th grade and have been denied, the factor of HT’s favoritism is blatant.
Add to the factors that HT’s daughter is a 1st grade student at the school and that Mary Ann Sanchez is a constant presence at the school- it does not take a lot to solve the favoritism equation that has been shown by HT’s preferential support that Fruchthendler. Bad enough, but the idea to expand the reconfiguration to Sabino High School from 9th-12th grades to 7th-12th grades is nonsensicle.
We are astounded that it has gotten as far as it has to this point. The idea was hatched out of Fruchthendler; it was taken to HT and he ran with it all the way to the Board, at which point he received his standard slam-dunk Board approval. The only Board member who voted nay was the only Board member who lives east of Craycroft and the only one who listened to the concerns of Sabino parents.
While Fruchthendler parents were informed about the the Fruchthendler plan, especially one very special and influential parent -Mary Ann Sanchez, Sabino parents were left out in the cold Sabino Creek, without a clue about the plan that went to the Board. Before they knew it, the plan had been approved. Parents were not given any opportunity to address the plan, except during call to the audience, which provides for three short minutes to respond to a plan that has been in the works for months. This is no way to treat any group of parents.
Sabino High School parents have numerous concerns about the reconfiguration. What will the total cost of the reconfiguration be and wouldn’t this funding be better invested in addressing current problems instead of creating new ones? The parents do not believe that the Board or HT have addressed any of the issues which have surfaced since the Sabino parents read about this scheme in the paper. Yeah, that is how they learned about it!
In our own research to find out more about 7th-12 grade configurations, we discovered that public schools that had somehow been forced to have a 7th to 12th grade setting at the same site , due to budgetary reasons, worked hard to move the 7th and 8th graders back into a middle school environment. A headline in the Florida Times Union of May 10, 2010 by Gordon Jackson, pretty much says it all: “New School Eases the Way for Charlton’s Younger Set; There Will Be No More Mixing 7th-Graders with 19-Year-Olds.” The article explains, “Since the 1980s, seventh- and eighth-graders have shared the same campus with students as old as 19 years old, causing some parents to express concerns about the wide difference in physical and psychological maturity.” In our own Arizona Daily Star, a January 25, 2015 article- “TUSD plan would put middle-schoolers at Sabino”- had several comments opposing the idea. One comment stated, “This is a terrible idea. When Tanque Verde High and Emily Grey shared a campus there were juniors dating seventh graders, despite all assurances that they were going to be kept apart. Years later those middle schoolers will tell you they heard and saw plenty that was not appropriate for them.”
Sanchez, along with the Sabino and Fruchthendler administrators say that this is a sure plan to retain and capture white students being lost to other school districts, along with charter and private schools. But they cannot be all that sure since the projected numbers are not based on any hard facts. In our national review of schools that have the 7th to 12th grade configurations, the majority are found in private religious schools and the underlying reason for the configuration is cost savings; not academic achievement or social benefit.
There is something FISHY about the desegregation Fisher agent- Gloria Copeland!
The stench is worse than 10 day old rotten fish!!! Whatever her questionable title, Gloria Copeland is part of the Fisher group or committee in the desegregation law suit. Doesn’t this mean that she and others in her group should be involved in holding on to the TUSD desegregation funding (64 million dollars) to implement the desegregation plan they build with TUSD instead of working with legislators in ripping the money away from TUSD? Through media exposure, we have learned that she has been working with legislatures who have actively promoted legislation to eliminate desegregation funding or to withhold the funding without allowing any expenditures, while an audit is conducted. Shouldn’t she and the entire Fisher group, be opposed to this type of legislation? Copeland’s hypocritical lobbying efforts were finally exposed in a recent article that stated that the bill sponsor- Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, used information/statements provided by Gloria Copeland as justification for his bill. http://tucson.com/news/local/
Gloria Copeland’s conduct is nefarious and unconscionable. Her lobbying efforts are counter-intuitive to any form of support for African American students. Those of us within our group who are African American believe that this is the final straw! Her actions do NOT reflect the opinions of the TUSD African American community.
It seems that Copeland was also lobbying in support of the recent bill that proposed the phased out elimination of desegregation funding. Either piece of legislation would have hurt all students in TUSD, including African American students. To make our point even further, another plaintiffs group in the case, the Mendoza group, formally opposed the initial bill directly to the legislative committee reviewing the bill and affirmed their support in having TUSD maintain desegregation funding. It has been suspected for a long time that Gloria Copeland was lobbying to rid the District of desegregation funds and that she has worked directly with the Arizona Department of Education in keeping a strong-hold on the District regarding ethnic studies. It is now all very believable!
There is No SUBSTITUTE for Direct Communication
Anna Maiden and HT have cooked up yet another HR fiasco. Teachers who are going to be absent now call in for a substitute directly to the sub-line, without the need to contact their principal. The principal finds out about a teacher’s absence only when the substitute shows up at the school. This shows such disregard for school administrators, AGAIN.
The wrong Belle rings against a budget/financial auditor!
Mary Belle McCorkle, who served on the Board for years was asked by some current Board members to provide her free consultation on the internal financial/budget auditor that has been recommended by the Efficiency Audit.
(Article continued below)
Remember, this is a Board member who served during the time period which resulted in the Department of Justice and the Arizona Attorney General investigating TUSD on the E-Rate procurement scandal pertaining to several procurement violations. The whole thing was set in motion by employee whistle-blowers contacting federal authorities. (Hear that TUSD? WHISTLE-BLOWERS!) The Attorney General found several violations. Several employees were terminated and sued by the Attorney General. Tens of millions of dollars were lost by TUSD in E-Rate funding. A settlement agreement was reached between TUSD and the Arizona Attorney General which tightened up procurement controls, at least until HT arrived in Tucson, when he almost immediately essentially handed a contract over to a friend who he worked with in Texas.
Mary Belle McCorkle was also on the Board during the time period for which the Curriculum Audit reported that District was absent curriculum, and that the Efficiency Audit also reported the absence of checks and balances within its financial systems.
The recommendation to hire a financial/budget auditor was made by the officially contracted expert consultants, along with many other experts. Ah, but the expert advice did not go over well with HT, and therefore with his three foils, so the free and very un-expert consultation of Mary Belle McCorkle was solicited with the known awareness that she would provide political rationale against hiring an auditor. And of course, she, as a non-expert, advised not to hire an independent financial/budget auditor because, in her viewpoint, when she was a Board member and they had an auditor- the dynamics set up a power struggle between the superintendent and the auditor, which, according to her, split the Board. In the business world- having an auditor is recognized as checks and balances but for Mary Belle, it was seen as a detriment and her free, very un-expert and very political consultation has ruled over that of the experts. That is how HT and his three marionettes roll. Why listen to the real experts whose findings and recommendations have been paid for by hard working tax payers when, golly-geez wheez, you can get Mary Belle McCorkle, a former Board member who served during very troubled times tell you what she thinks for nothing? You get what you pay for in this case!
Shame on the SGFJ for asking Mary Belle McCorkle for free and un-expert advice! Shame on Mary Belle for giving it. Belles should have gone off in all directions telling folks this was a stupid thing all the way around.
Jim Lovelace, a CPA and the current chair of the TUSD audit committee wrote a guest editorial that appeared in the Arizona Daily Star on March 9th. It argues for the hiring of an internal auditor. http://tucson.com/news/
HT, Grijalva, Foster and Jaurez are now focused in collapsing the Audit Committee. What is it that has to remain hidden?
HT’s bragging is so over the top!
Imagine if each principal and teacher were to send out, oh, let’s say a press release, public relations videos, and 5-8 emails to employees for any single accomplishment, that is actually part of doing their job. Of course no principal or teacher has ever done anything of the sorts but HT does it anytime he Once the Arizona Department of Education decided that TUSD would continue to be under their ethnic studies surveillance until the end of the school year, but would not lose state funding, HT went on all-self-important campaign to brag about “his” accomplishment. One email would have been sufficient.
We have to ask: Why is HT so hush-hush about mistakes or non-compliance areas, of which we know there are plenty. Give us balanced information and stop the self-ingratiating, chest-beating, narcissistic one-person public relations campaign. It is nauseating.
HT’s most recent Superintendent’s Brag Sheet (Report) has a quote from him at the top which says, “I have to say I didn’t expect to see so much legislative activity that is aimed directly at TUSD. I will continue to advocate for our district as best I can, but I hope that we won’t have any more battles to fight this session.” ~HT Sanchez
We have to say, why didn’t this guy do his homework before he decided to step into the supt. position? TUSD has ALWAYS had to do a great deal of lobbying. We can’t think of a single superintendent who has whined so much about doing his job. And if he understood how important the lobbying function is in TUSD, why did HT decide to hire an inexperienced lobbying outfit (NO experience in public education issues) to take over the task of lobbying? Oh, yeah, it was a recommendation from one of his new found business buds in Tucson. HT really needs to think and act more like a CEO, instead of an inexperienced politician, and stop all the whining!
Steve Holmes has found a new HOME- Sunnyside School District
This makes the third TOP level administrator to leave TUSD since August: Yousef Awaad, Daman Jackson and Steve Holmes. It has got to be extremely challenging, and even compromising for someone with values, to work closely with someone who believes he is right all of time, does not tolerate any level of disagreement, is greatly deficient in scruples, acts out his anger in retaliatory ways, and treats all decisions like car deals (wheeling and dealing).
It is rumored that Steve Holmes will take Clarice Clash with him to Sunnyside, which will be great for TUSD but terrible for Sunnyside.
Interim administrators; HT sabotaging EEO and favoring only those he favors.
The game of placing favored individuals into a permanent position without requiring them to compete for the position has become a practice in TUSD that contradicts its EEO policies. All the superintendent does is place people into a position on an “interim” basis- giving them an advantage no one else has at the time the position does become open- if it ever does. This was one of John Pedicone’s quickest methods in getting around providing equal opportunity. It is quite remarkable that Adelita Grijalva never dealt with his preferential treatment but it is even more amazing that the current Board has condoned the continued unequal opportunity practices.
It is ironic that both HT and Pedicone have placed interim, preselected people in the top desegregation position in the District. First it was Sam Brown who sat in the position for about a year or more as an interim desegregation director. Pedicone snatched him out of the legal department, waved his preselection wand and- magic- Sam became the Interim Director. HT then appointed him into the permanent position without opening the position to see if there might be more qualified candidates interested in the position. (Of course, HT is probably not the guy who models any type of fair or equal hiring practices since he is the guy who strong-armed the current Board into hiring him in the final round- without considering any other candidates. We are still paying for this fiasco!) We all know that Sam lost points with HT and was punished through an isolation process. The desegregation department was collapsed and Sam was “re-assigned” to the legal department (holding on to his director title).
HT then plucked Martha Taylor from her position, as the Advanced Learning Experiences Director, and anointed her Interim Senior Desegregation Director. This had a domino effect, so someone else was appointed into her position on an interim basis.
HT’s preselected guy for Chief Technology Officer (his friend from Texas) left after less than a year and in his place, on an interim basis, is another pre-selected guy- Scott Morrison (many say he is the second most powerful person in the District).
Adelita’s broken campaign pledge for stability is so grossly obvious. Still she will shallowly argue that they (she and her 2 buddies) must retain Sanchez in the name of stability.
Along with many other directives to correct his behavior, the Board should direct HT to stop his preselection practices.
We have said it before: We are dealing with the highest degree of inefficiency and incompetency under this Board and under this inexperienced-know-it-all superintendent. We have no confidence in the Board or Superintendent.
It is April Fool’s Day and while there are still some who have been fooled by HT and his 3 pawns, there are more and more who recognize that the only fools are HT, A. Grijalva, K. Foster, and C. Juarez. Our work continues! We hold Hicks and Stegeman less accountable because they are not part of the majority making all of the foolish mistakes and allowing the HTail to wag the dog.
No matter how many times we say it- we say it with genuine gratitude. We appreciate you taking the time to read this. We recognize how widely circulated our letters have been and appreciate each of you passing on the letters on to your peers, friends, and family. As we have said previously, our group has grown, inclusive of site administrators, teachers and parents. We also now have 2 valuable volunteers. We thank Three Sonorans, the Arizona Daily Independent and the Tucson Weekly for posting our letters and will continue to send our letters to several members of the media. Media and bloggers have our permission to publish our letters. If you did not receive our previous letters, you can find them at: