Whistleblowers: The TUSD Tunnel Gets Darker and Bleaker

To: Ninth Open Letter to the Community
From:  Whistleblowers- Comprised of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, and Parents
Subject: The TUSD Tunnel Gets Darker and Bleaker

Thought we had gone away? Wrong. We just took a short hiatus to allow for some reflection and perspective. In agreement with and response to some criticism that was cast  our way; we will work diligently not to become tedious in what we are attempting to accomplish, which is to bring attention to some of the most egregious actions taken and behaviors demonstrated by H.T. Sanchez and his Board majority- Adelita Grijalva, Cam Juarez and Kristel Foster.  We believe that the more people become aware of what is taking place at TUSD-  the more Sanchez,  Grijalva, Foster and Juarez will be watched. The more they are watched, the more likely they are to get caught in doing things such are as described in our letters- or worse- until the point that it just will not be tolerated.

Our group of site administrators, teachers, and parents has once again grown.

Over the last year, as we have watched behaviors from Sanchez’ central administration and the Board turn meaner and meaner, as well as increasingly incompetent, we have made effort to report these actions. Indeed, we have fought back with some degree of meanness, but unlike the malice shown by Sanchez, Grijalva, Juarez and Foster- ours is simply reciprocal, while their cruelty is aimed at innocent individuals, including children, parents, teachers, site administrators, those involved in the desegregation battle and members of the public.

We cover several topics in this letter. If it is too long for one sit; please read it in sections.  PLEASE read it and share it. We thank you for doing both.

Sanchez’ Aloofness with Site Administrators & His Need to Become More Political

Until the Board meeting of June 9th, Dr. Sanchez’ aloofness during meetings with principals just did not make sense. He has gone from being politically friendly to becoming more and more aloof. Principals have always been treated as the superintendent’s essential partners in bringing about success for their school district. Sanchez treats most of us as though we are bothersome; a burden.

Several site administrators have commented on the immense superiority complex that has developed during Sanchez’ two years as the TUSD Tsar. It once again hit us- this Superintendent Sanchez-Frankenstein has been created. The June 9th  three to two vote on the best kept secret of the month- Sanchez’ employment contract- revealed what is behind the Sanchez aloofness and the ballooning of his superiority complex. He has three solid- no questions asked- blindly-loyal-to-the-death board members and now he is here to stay until 2018 at about $400,000 per year. He coerced his three to renew his contract now; less than two years into a three year contract- or he would get snapped up by another school district. This seems like a form of extortion. It worked. (We suspect that any school board that would do just a little research would not employ Sanchez.)

During the discussion on the contract, Juarez appeared to have broken his truce of silence by admitting that he had received a draft of the Sanchez-contract some weeks ago, via email, while Mark Stegeman and Michael Hicks complained that they had not seen the contract until they walked into executive session earlier in the day. Juarez took to scolding them for not reading their email with the drafted contract. As Juarez realized his stupidity in disclosing the receipt of the drafted contract, he awkwardly insisted that he had not said what he had just said. Realizing, of course, that what he said is recorded, he then said that what he meant to say was that all Board members were made aware that the contract would be presented but that he had not received a drafted copy via email.  The back peddling was pathetic and the foot in his mouth just could not be extracted. Is it possible for one person to be dumb and dumber?

The Board had been counseled by their attorneys not to discuss the contract until after the vote on the contract took place and the contract was signed.

Sanchez received three solid votes for his near $400,000 contract; pretty good for a rookie superintendent! (Remember, he had served as an Interim Superintendent at Ector County Independent School District from March 13, 2013 until he was appointed TUSD’s Superintendent in July of 2013 from a finalist pool of one.) He had 4 limited months of interim status superintendent experience when he was hired. Now, that is a rookie; and an interim rookie at that!

Once Grijalva, Foster and Juarez rationalized their support for the contract renewal- they voted yes. Neither Stegeman nor Hicks voted in favor of the exorbitant contract. Sanchez has lost one vote during his less than two years with TUSD.

Sanchez received a gargantuan raise and incredible benefits

Sanchez’ base salary for 2013-14 was $210,000. His newly approved 5 year colossal base salary for 2015-16 = $260,000; 2016-17 = $270,000; 2017-18 = $280,000. These amounts are just the base salary. He gets a guaranteed raise every year he remains employed by TUSD along with incentive pay of $25,000 each year for the next two years he remains. He will receive a bonus of $152,500 for remaining with TUSD the third year of his contract. Sanchez also gets 44 vacation days that he can turn in for cash at the end of each year and a raise every year he stays and incentive pay of $25,000 for each of the next two years he stays.   He will get a bonus of $152,500 for staying the 3rd year. He continues to get $3,000 to join organizations of his choice and received a $25,000/year stipend to with as he pleases. (Many times he buys tables at events such as the LULAC Awards Luncheon and “invites” Board members to sit at his table.”) Additionally, he gets a 6% performance bonus every year. The contract is arrogant; the action taken by the Board was arrogant and commits tax dollars until 2018. Foster’s and Juarez’ terms end December of 2016. They have committed funding to Sanchez beyond their term. It is enormously presumptuous of them. We assume that they assume that they will be automatically re-elected.

After the vote, at Grijalva’s insistence, Sanchez went through what the central administrator-clan calls, “the love tunnel.” The clan holds their arms in the air in two lines, facing one another- arching their arms together while the appointee walks through the tunnel- “feeling the love.”  It is nothing short of pretentious and ridiculous during a professional Board meeting.  A more applicable induction process would be to form the tunnel, turn off all of the lights and see if the appointee can find their way through the dark tunnel as they attempt to catch a glimmer of light to follow in heading towards the end of the tunnel. Right now, there is no light and most appointees would find themselves falling; true to form because most site administrators receive little support from this administration. Most administrators would say that the current TUSD management style is to rule through fear and intimidation. Most are fearful of saying anything at all for fear of the repercussions. Once the news of Sanchez’ new contract spreads, morale will drop even lower than the current rock bottom.

At a recent meeting with principals, Sanchez proclaimed that he has to become more political. He said he is planning to ask the voters to pass a facilities bond. Sanchez could not be any more political than he is. He was and is a politician; he is not a leader. He politicked his way into his job and his new contract and has never stopped his salacious thirst for more attention and glory (which he gets from his 3). Meanwhile, students continue to leave TUSD; administrators are fleeing TUSD as fast as they are able to find and be offered positions elsewhere; and the TUSD image is one of corruption and lies. At an administrative meeting in April, Steve Holmes acknowledged the departure of Ignacio Ruiz and stated that with his and Ruiz’ exodus from TUSD, the District would be void of any institutional memory to support sound decisions.

During the Board meeting, Krystal’s rationale for supporting Sanchez’ contract was the fact that so many central administrators have left the District, suggesting that they have been wooed away. Those who have left TUSD, actually pursued positions elsewhere to get away from this regime; specifically Sanchez. They may not admit it because no one likes burning bridges. A review of the list of those who have left for other positions; shows that most were administrators who had worked in TUSD for years and were totally committed to TUSD. But like Yousef Awwad, they could not compromise their integrity and their professionalism to work for a person absent of any integrity and professionalism. Sanchez is in it for himself and he has three enablers. The Sanchez-Frankenstein monster that the majority of the Board has created is not one most of us want to work with or be around. His new contract will serve as another jolt energy to continue his monstrous ways.

Outsourcing is Outsourcing & a Lay Off is a Lay Off; Do NOT Play Semantics

With a TUSD Board that is comprised of majority Democrats, we thought that they would keep to the foundational principles that reflect the values of progressive Democrats. We were wrong. We watched the June 2, 2015 Board meeting with absolute disgust at how easily it has become to treat employees as expendable commodities- and by the mere high-pitched utterance of a “Sanchez recommendation”- and obvious blessing by Grijalva, Juarez and Foster- change the status from that of “employee” to one who is “leased” or “outsourced” to perform exactly the same services. TUSD has moved in the direction of contracting retired administrators (but only those who have remained in the good graces of the superintendent by bowing to his will; such as Abel Morado) hearing officers, and security guards.

Security guards have grown in number since TUSD militarized its public board meetings during the era of dismantling of Mexican American Studies.  To date, the security guard army that was built, has remained visible at Board meetings, without a whisper from our so called “progressives” on the Board to cut back on the militia. FYI- those assigned to cover Board meetings carry loaded guns.

The newest group of throw-away employees are substitute teachers; substitutes are only second in line to teachers, of those who provide the most DIRECT instructional contact with students during the school year. TUSD’s actions to relegate them to “leased” commodities is disgraceful. Sanchez claims that this is all due to the Affordable Health Care Act, because, after all, now TUSD has to actually pay for the health insurance of employees who work 20 hours or more per week. Why would TUSD take the high road in showing any humanity in providing employees with health care insurance? Were any of you aware that Grijalva, Juarez and Foster were actually against the Affordable Health Care Act and opposed to paying for employee benefits? Now, it is all out in the open. They can try to smear lipstick on this pig- but at the end of the TUSD work day- it is still a pig.

 At the June 2nd Board meeting, as Soto and Sanchez spoke about the plan to move to “employee leasing” (much like one leases a vehicle; we suppose) and the cost savings of between $1.6 million and __?__; one thing was clear- they could not pin point the cost savings during their back and forth on numbers. It just became more and more confusing. We believe the confusion that is interjected into all budget discussions is intentional.

During the meeting, for a split second- Foster attempted to clarify whether the Sanchez proposal was actually “outsourcing” since the term “employee leasing” was being used and since the topic of “outsourcing” is one which draws controversy. It was obvious that Foster irritated Grijalva immensely by posing the question. Grijalva jumped all over Foster with both feet, cutting her statement off and seemingly chastising her for even questioning the recommendation- stating that it was all semantics. Kristel was silenced and reminded to stay in “her place;” a place of ingratiation and indebtedness to Grijalva for life. In the end, Foster’s questions do not matter because even when Foster asks good questions- her vote ends up in Sanchez’ pocket either out of her devotion to him or her “giving” her vote to Grijalva out of sheer fear and intimidation.

The articles below goes into the details of rationale provided by Sanchez and Karla Soto on their proposed “employee leasing.”

http://tucson.com/news/local/education/plan-to-outsource-substitute-teachers-dominates-tusd-budget-meeting/article_72931c97-d9b8-567e-a683-9b8c1150c5bc.html

http://threesonorans.com/2015/06/02/tusd-dems-blame-obamacare-for-privatizing-substitute-teachers-admits-fault-in-23-million-lawsuit/

http://tucson.com/news/state-and-regional/tucson-school-district-may-outsource-substitute-teachers/article_48b14e50-872d-550d-b7f2-e4bd4fd1fcf0.html

From the above article:

“ “Our obligation is really to get classroom teachers fulltime into our schools,”  Sanchez told the Governing Board. He said the outsourcing option enables TUSD to maintain teacher raises and a class-size initiative without closing schools or conducting layoffs. That appealed to Board Member Cam Juarez.”  All of the utterances are more smeared lipstick on the walking pork. Maybe Sanchez and his company of 3 should have waited to see what would be allocated from the state before issuing raises (out of the reserve fund) and maybe Sanchez should have held off on his 27:1 student/teacher ratio until there were sufficient teachers available to cover all classes. Maybe he could have phased in his plan by elementary- then middle school and then high school.  As for layoffs- here is a reality check: Eliminating substitutes as TUSD employees is a layoff and it is a substantial one.  They will no longer be employees if the “go-along with anything Sanchez utters” Board members vote in favor of his proposal. Perhaps Sanchez should not have given the salary increases to his cabinet members, both last year and this year, inclusive of $20,000 to Julie Tolleson (in 2014), who allegedly reports to the Board but who actually takes direction from Sanchez. Perhaps Sanchez should not have accepted his undeserved bonuses.

The above noted article also states: “Despite having a pool of more than 800 substitutes, only 414 were active in TUSD last school year. The district identified more than 4,100 instances in which classes were not covered.” These numbers show the INSANITY for Sanchez to have implemented a 27:1 student/teacher ratio. The ratio created more teaching positions, all of which were not filled. Overall there was a greater need for substitutes, which were clearly not readily available. Duh! But Sanchez went on with his plan- despite advice against it. He continues to brag about this as a so called accomplishment, as he does many of his actions which have turned out to be failures or nothing more than smoke and mirror shams. The lack of substitutes created havoc at many of our schools this last year; more than years prior. We know firsthand that the responsibility for finding coverage for absent teachers when substitutes were not available fell mostly on the site administrator. This will continue to be the case.

At the Board meeting of June 9th Sanchez announced that they are creating an interim substitute pool comprised of TUSD employees. He spoke of the plan but did not present an actual plan. He and his HR Director Maiden came up with this idea as a result of the negative feedback they received on “outsourcing.” Sanchez is reactionary in his planning; not strategic. It still appears that the plan to outsource the majority of the substitutes is on the table.

As an aside, the PR person, Bonnie Boes spends much more time boosting Sanchez’ image than she does the image of the schools, which is the only place good things are happening in TUSD. How are we expected to increase enrollment when all she is doing is hyping Sanchez. She has failed to visit the schools, unless members of the media have already planned to be at a school. The lipstick public relations campaign on Sanchez is amazingly dishonest.

Sanchez’ Shenanigans with the Budget; the Audit Committee; and Freezing Positions


(Article continued below)

We each have suffered minor cases of whiplash from the Board’s flip-flop on the Audit Committee and the Financial Auditor position; whichever direction the Sanchez winds have blown have resulted in the Board majority going in the same direction. First they decided that the auditor should report to Sanchez and when this raised more controversy than anticipated, the argument became that there just was not enough money in the TUSD coffer to hire an auditor (this was Juarez’ justification for breaching his agreement with Mark Stegeman to hire the auditor); Adelita was worried about creating a watchdog (What part of independent auditor does she not understand?); then popular opinion and editorial opinion seemed to have convinced Sanchez that he had better do what was popular (since we know that doing what is right is not of concern to him); he then mysteriously found the money to fund the position but not before dislodging long-time members from the Audit Committee (for living outside of the District boundaries which came about in corruptly changing policy) and inserting Karla Soto and Adelita Grijalva as members.

http://tucson.com/news/local/education/tusd-boots-non-resident-audit-committee-members/article_14e62e23-267a-5875-87e1-5b20780ddc5a.html

Now, thanks to Sanchez, the word “independence” cannot honestly be applied to the Committee.

At the Committee level, Grijalva has recused herself from being involved in the hiring process for the Auditor but when she votes on the position at the Board

level, she is sure to look for someone who is not the “watch dog” type. With all of the trickeries that have taken place with the Audit Committee and with the Auditor position we have little faith that much of anything credible will result. It is Krystal clear that Sanchez and his three devotees do not want us to know what has taken place with the budget. With the transition from PeopleSoft to the Lawson system, who knows what data Sanchez and Soto have dropped or moved. One cannot follow the money when the money trail is covered-up.

Since last August many school budgets have been “swept” (which means that some of our budgets were cut) but since we have not had access to our budgets we do not know what exactly has been cut or “swept away”, as this administration has referred to it. Many positions in the schools have been frozen but the administration has layered more lipstick on the reality of this activity, as well. They tell us that there is “a hold” on the positions. Really, exactly where are the positions being held? And, what has happened to the funding associated with the “held” positions?  The outcome is that we have not been allowed to hire allocated positions. Thus, our allocations were stripped. Again, because of the iron curtain that Sanchez has thrown on the budget- in general- and at the schools specifically, we do not know how many positions were frozen throughout the District during the school year. We do know that the imposed position freeze hurt our schools; hurt our teachers; hurt our students and hurt our communities.

Anyone who caught the June 2nd Board meeting learned that in addition to laying off over 800 substitutes, of which 414 were active substitutes during the 2014-15 SY, there are a number of proposed cuts in the budget for 2015-16. But since Sanchez and his minions reported general cuts within each broad budget category, the public is left without knowing what specifically is proposed to be cut from each category. How is the public expected to comment during the public comment portion of the budget approval process, if they have no idea on what is being done?

Note to Yousef Awaad: We commend you on your departure from TUSD and understand fully why you did not want to be any part of the shifty Sanchez shenanigans in his manipulation of tax dollars and Board members.

The Fruchthendler/Sabino Proposal; Technically a Fiasco

The court’s decision to deny TUSD’s proposed addition of 6th grade to Fruchthendler and 7th and 8th grade to Sabino went far beyond any type of technical error on behalf of TUSD, as Sanchez played during his media moments on this topic. We have reviewed the document and even had an attorney take a look at it. The court points out a number of failures in TUSD’s Notice and Request for Approval and the Request was denied in total. Had there been a slight technical error, the court would have said so and accepted the request in part, while directing the District to correct its technical error. The District is free to resubmit its request, however, the District will have to address each and every failure that was pointed out in the court order. Bottom line: Sanchez did not “technically” tell the truth about the court order; he lied. Many within TUSD say that if his lips are moving- he is lying, which seems to be a good truth to rely on when he is speaking.

More Fishy Stinge from the Fisher Agent- Gloria Copeland

We have made effort to report what we believe to be conflicts (legal and/or perceived) in both the working relationships and familial relationships that the Fisher agents have in being contracted by TUSD and representing the Fisher Plaintiffs- who are nowhere to be found- and have been absent from the case since the late 1970’s. We reported that one of the Fisher agents has family ties to a member of the Desegregation Implementation Committee that is headed up by the Special Master. The Court responded by basically informing Rubin Salter, attorney for the non-existing Fisher Plaintiffs, about the real prospect of making needed changes (and report those changes back to the court). As far as we know, Salter has not made any changes and the powerful nudge from the court has been ignored. The details of our concerns can be found at:

http://threesonorans.com/2015/04/25/tusd-desegregation-court-update-where-are-the-fisher-plaintiffs/

Meanwhile, with no resolution on the referenced issues to this point, Gloria Copeland and, to a lesser degree, Lorraine Richardson continue to get into the thick of TUSD administrative actions. Copeland specifically lobbies members of the administration to change or overturn disciplinary action.  She has immersed herself in a number of discipline cases at Sabino High School, claiming that the recommended suspensions for several students were discriminatory but offering no evidence of discrimination. In some cases, some of the students did not self-identify as African American and some were unhappy with her involvement in their case. These type of facts are not relevant to her.

Most recently, Copeland engrossed herself in a suspension matter at Safford. After the suspension was upheld through the appeal process, Copeland made a couple of calls to 1010 and the suspension was capsized. We question why her lobbying efforts with central administrators has any impact at all on any issues, but particularly in the discipline area. She should have NO credibility on student issues. Two of her sons are felons; one is in prison for murder.

http://tucson.com/news/local/crime/tucson-man-given-years-in-strip-club-killing/article_49b83c60-1604-11e1-89c1-001cc4c002e0.html

We once again question her role as a Fisher agent in grossly overstretching her involvement in individual student suspensions. More than this concern, however, we challenge those on Sanchez Leadership Team who are persuaded by her lopsided lobbying.

Cam Juarez’ Racist Comment During the June 2nd Board Meeting and Chuck McCullum’s Hypocritical & Insensitive Comment During Administrator Training

During the Board meeting of June 2nd, Juarez repeatedly had difficulty in clearly articulating words around statements that included the word “substitute.” He was stumbling over his words and could not find a way to self-correct because the mistake re-occurred several times. This happens to everyone on occasion and it’s not a big deal. However, after one such word-tangling episode he basically attributed his problem in articulating his words correctly to being Mexican American. At this point- it became a big deal. When we heard his comment, we all gasped. His negative stereo-typing is racist and if the same statement had been made by Stegeman or Hicks in reference to someone not being able to clearly articulate words based on being Mexican American, they would have never heard the end of it. But Grijalva just ignored the demeaning stereo-typing by Juarez.  His statement and the Board President’s reaction signify how deep the problems are at the Board level. One Board member is ignorant enough to make a racist statement and the Board President selectively ignores the racist comment. Both Juarez and Grijalva have lost their right to proclaim themselves as advocates on Hispanic/Latino issues. They are a disgrace. This is incredibly unprofessional conduct and poor modeling for our youth. It portrays the worst of what a Governing Board can become or actually, has become!

During the week of June 1st some of us were subjected to another racially charged statement during training for administrators. In part, the training was to raise racial awareness and sensitivity. In one of his comments, Chuck McCullum, part of Secondary School Leadership, stated, ‘…I didn’t just get off the banana boat,’ which is a racist expression typically used to express that while “they (immigrants of color) are stupid; I am not.” The irony and overflowing hypocrisy of his statement was jolting.

Not one single administrator spoke up. We all know that if one goes up against leadership- they will be covertly penalized. Prior to the Sanchez regime, McCullum would have been confronted and corrected.

The Employment of an Assistant Principal Without a Hiring Process

During the last several months African American community leaders have been meeting with the administration and conveying their concerns while also offering solutions. One large area of concern is the lack of African American representation at the administrative level. On May 19th, several African American community leaders spoke during call to the audience at the Board meeting- once again reminding the administration of their responsibilities to serve African American students.

We have been told that in the days leading up to the Board meeting, Sanchez was growing restless as to why members of the African American community were going to be addressing the Board on May 19th.   Since not a single of the administrative appointments had yet included an African American, in order to quickly squelch concerns, he added an appointment of an individual who is African American to the list of administrative appointments scheduled for action at the May 19thmeeting. It was added as item number 15th on the agenda. Sanchez, however, had no time to go through a credible hiring process. Despite the lack of a process, he made the recommendation to appoint Tyrone Cephers as an added assistant principal to Sahuaro High School. Sanchez justified the hire by saying that enrollment has increased at Sahuaro and an added assistant principal was needed. We do not believe enrollment has increased; nor do any of the high school principals who have commented on this hire. Sahuaro lost over 100 students from the 2013-14 school year to the 2014-15 school year in comparing 40th day enrollment; at the 100th day- the loss was 75 students. Stegeman and Hicks voted against the appointment for lack of a process.

Those who have criticized the District for its failure in hiring African American professionals into administrative positions are correct. But token or quota-hiring is dishonest on many levels and ultimately insulting to the African American community. It goes against EEO practices. It is insulting to the entire community to have different standards of hiring for various groups (family; African American, etc.) and it perpetuates terrible habits for TUSD.

Hours of Direct Services to Children in the Title I Program of PACE

Nothing shows understanding of child development and demonstrates compassion for children and parents, who are in greater need than most, than a full day per week cut in services for the population. (Forgive our sarcasm.)

Sanchez is proposing to cut one full day of services to children enrolled in the PACE program. No matter how TUSD pitches this deal, how much lipstick is slapped on the pig, or how this backward proposal makes it sound as though inclusion of special needs children is at focus- the fact is, services will be reduced for four year olds in the PACE program by one day (each day of service is 4 hours). Inclusion of special needs children is important to everyone but not at the expense of cutting back on services for another population. What TUSD has done here is pitted the needs of a special needs population against those of the children in the PACE program. This type of programmatic mutilation is unsound.

Certainly, there are early childhood education experts who can lend a hand to TUSD to figure out a service model that is of benefit to the populations under consideration and not a detriment to either. Some of them spoke at the May 19th board meeting.

TUSD’s PACE Program is nationally recognized. It is a model. Children and parents thrive from the Program’s offerings.

If TUSD is so very interested in an inclusion model, why hasn’t it addressed this issue District-wide and formulated policy which ensures the inclusion of special needs students in general education settings at every school? Why is it that special needs children suffer the most from the lack of hiring highly qualified teachers? Why is it that the lack of exceptional education substitutes and long-term substitutes consistently deprives special needs children of the required legal coverage?  If Exceptional Education is so very important why did TUSD have one interim director after another in the position of director?  Based on the answers to each of these questions, we know that TUSD cares little about inclusion and is using inclusion as a reason to move forward with a very poor plan. More funding will be funneled to TUSD through this mutilated model-We also know that many of the early childhood education experts have been fooled by this foolishness.

The Extreme Pettiness of a Former TUSD Administrator, Dr. Edith Isquierdo-Macklin

Manual Esquierdo and Edith Isquierdo-Macklin’s daughter just graduated from Tucson High Magnet School. She spoke during the ceremony, which was an honor and demonstration of her high school success. However, she was not the valedictorian. Because she spoke, her parents have aggressively campaigned to have her diploma reprinted to indicate that she was co-valedictorian. However, the actual valedictorian’s GPA is higher than the Isquierdo-Macklin student. Their aggressive manner is moving them closer and closer to having them get their way, which is unfair and unjust to the actual valedictorian and all future valedictorians. The sleazy maneuvering that these two adults have been involved in relative to their own employment (one at Sunnyside and the other at TUSD) is bad enough but to continue their antics on behalf of their child is disgraceful. It would be even more disgraceful if Sanchez caves in. Tucson High administration and faculty are watching carefully to see if 1010 will respond to sleaze with equal sleaze.

The Extreme Rudeness and Sarcasm Demonstrated by Grijalva, Foster and Juarez

Sanchez, Juarez, and Foster sit to the right of Board President Grijalva on the dais, while Stegeman and Hicks sit to her left. At the slightest gesture to ask to speak, those to her right are called upon immediately by Grijalva during Board meetings. Hicks and Stegeman are ignored. Adelita’s peripheral vision must be impaired on her left side. During the meeting of June 9th Hicks took the opportunity to explain the rationale behind his vote on an item, as it was time for him to vote. Grijalva cut him off. She told him to call her name, when he is not called uopon by a show of his hand. Really? Have we reached such a point of rudeness that she has minimized Board members to playing “mother may I?”   Sanchez’ sarcasm in addressing Hicks continues to be humiliating. It is an insult to Hicks and to the position that Sanchez holds.

Thank You

Our previous letters are easily found in Three Sonorans. We thank Three Sonorans for including each and every letter that we have written in their blog.

We also thank the Arizona Daily Independent and the Tucson Weekly for including some of our letters and/or referencing our letters in their blogs/articles.



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29 comments on “Whistleblowers: The TUSD Tunnel Gets Darker and Bleaker
  1. Why is it that NONE of your articles ever mirror what teachers at TUSD are actually talking about? Why is there no mention of single mothers destroying school districts and absent parents?

    This web site is written by some disgruntled workers at 1010 who were maybe passed over for a promotion.

    Do you really believe, even for a millisecond, that teachers are more affected by Sanchez’s salary or an unwed mother who couldn’t be bothered to go have a conference with her troubled son’s or daughter’s teachers and staff?

    This web site is getting more and more silly. Please, let’s talk about all problematic issues in the district, not just gossip at 1010.

    • Hey Ugly,

      I am a teacher and what you are saying is disgraceful.

      This group of individuals seem to have eyes and ears in every school; they see and hear much of what is reported directly because their accounts are very accurate of things I have witnessed. My principal says that their accounts are accurate as do most of my peers. It sounds like you are totally into blaming the kids and their “mothers.” Much of what is wrong with TUSD are individuals like you who permeate your hate and bigotry at every turn and are not held accountable. Sanchez should be working around the clock to rid the District of people like you. Instead, he is focusing on his image, his politics, and his three board members. Yes, we need to work to have parents show up and be engaged but whether they do or do not show up, we must do the best by the children in our schools. Get out of TUSD, if you hate it so much and stop reading TS posts if you think they are silly.

      I love the group of brave people who write the letters. They capture the sentiments of most of the people I talk with in the District.

      • And you’re acting as an enabler. Bad children don’t become bad by accident. They become whatever example their parents set (or more importantly don’t set) for them. A single mother with three kids, by three men, with three last names throws her kids at TUSD basically telling us to babysit her kids. And then when you call her about her child’s behavior she acts as if she’s doing YOU the favor for coming in and talking about why Susie keeps interrupting the class.

        Childish articles about HT’s salary accomplish nothing. You need a community to rise against what’s happening at TUSD. But you don’t get that. Too many “parents” couldn’t be bothered with such trivial matters as public education.

        And lastly, you sound like a Chatty Patty, talking with your principal about some gossip web site. Maybe there is too much gossiping and not enough teaching?

        You’d fit right in at HR with all the lazy women that work there that find creative ways to not do their jobs.

        • Wow Ugly Truth you totally missed everything, while there is a problem with some children’s behaviors , the fact that Sanchez has not allowed sites to do anything makes the problem worse, and that has nothing to do with this subject. You sound like you are rambling , like to blame the problem on everyone , but where the problem actually lays. I have many friends that teachers and administrator , and all say the same things about Sanchez and the board majority. Everyone is afraid to tell the truth, and will only do it if they trust you, or as in many cases leave the district. There is no gossip happening here, but if you close your eyes to it , as you’ve done , you’ve just become part of the problem. I found your response that of an uninformed, mean spirited person, frankly it was insulting to me and every parent , teacher, and staff member that is begging for help.

  2. So glad to hear from you again, what is happening in TUSD is appalling, and TUSD will not survive long. This contract and pay raise for Sanchez and his cabinet is a slap in the face to all students , teachers and parents. I am tired of this , Juarez comment about getting the contract earlier and Foster and Grijalva reviewing it before Stegeman and Hicks has incriminated them , they have broken open meeting laws. Grijalva not submitting her campaign finance reports is criminal . It is time to stop this everyone needs to call the county attorney and submit a complaint about Grijalva not submitting these reports, she can not make big financial decisions in TUSD when she breaking finance laws. Foster , Grijalva and Juarez havibg and discussing these contract without Hicks and Stegeman is a violation of open meeting laws, again everyone needs to call the Attorney Generals office and file a complaint. I find it even more suspicious that TUSD’s attorney Julie Tollesen would not know about Hicks and Stegeman not getting the contract, and with this information out there now , she should have advised the board that I vote was not possible, the state bar might need to look into this. I have heard so many people talk about RECALL now , I am ready and have the paper work and information ready to go , please join me and help

  3. TUSD’s district administrators are funny,
    They are not hiring outside of their leadership academy because they are aware of their inadequacies as educational leaders. They are intimidated by the administrators that have more experience and knowledge of effective education and leadership principles. Mr. Cepher’s may very well be an effective and capable leader, unfortunately for him he will be viewed as someone who was just hired for his ethnic affiliation due to Sanchez’s shenanigans.

  4. Raul Grijalva,
    Please speak to your daughter regarding her obligation and responsibility to the students of TUSD! Please help her understand that educational leaders transform school cultures and climate to one of academic success and harmony, they don’t cause turmoil through threat and intimidation. I beg you!!!

    • Raul will not help, I have a horror story about what TUSD has done to me , and Grijalva has supported it. After being threatened by her , I tried to reach out to Raul, he never replied and the situation got much worse

  5. This letter has re-energized me. As a TUSD administrator and former teacher I have lost faith in our Board. I never had faith in our rookie superintendent. I am glad that Cam Juarez’ and Krystal Foster’s behaviors are being recorded and reported. There are so many good and dedicated people in the District. Many are discouraged. We feel abandoned. But with the truth being exposed by the Whistleblowers over and over again- there is a chance that new board members will be elected, that the Attorney General’s Office, the Office for Civil Rights, the Department of Justice…..or other such agencies will intervene. Keep the letters rolling out. We so desperately need the truth to be exposed. And, thank you!

    • Thank you for being so brave in writing this comment. I have many friends in TUSD , administrators, teachers and support staff. I worked for TUSD for twenty one years . I know it might be difficult for you , but I am starting a recall effort against the board majority, and I invite you to join in that effort, Contact me at bsauber8@hotmail.com

  6. I have re-posted a comment from the Tucson Weekly which was in response to David Safier’s post. I did not write the comment- but have borrowed it because it is so damn good. Safier’s post is idiotic but you have to read it to understand this great comment by “TW should do better than this.”

    “TW Readers- take great caution when reading about TUSD through Safier’s perspective.
    What specific outcome criteria is used by Safier for him to give Sanchez “a pass” on both his salary and his renewed contract through 2018? He minimizes any mistakes that Sanchez has made and glamorizes the fact that Sanchez will remain with TUSD until 2018. We really need more than a warm body to lead the District. I just read the Three Sonorans’ post from the anonymous administrators, teachers and parents and it is actually on target in reflecting what most are thinking in TUSD. I admire their courage and their perseverance. The word “stability” has been distorted by Adelita Grijalva, and now by Safier. She has used it since her campaign to justify the hiring and retention of someone who had 4 months of interim superintendent experience at the time of his hire as TUSD superintendent. Safier has bought her line of “stability”- believing that retaining “the same” is somehow better than getting someone more competent. (After reading the post on Three Sonorans, I verified that Sanchez was interim superintendent for 4 short months by researching Sanchez’ work history.)

    Competent stability within TUSD would be great but it is nowhere to be found. What we have is a superintendent who still needs training wheels. It is “on the job training” at its most inferior because there is NO training. Sanchez has no one to learn from within TUSD because when administrators have advised him not to do what he is about to do, he has taken great exception to their advice. He has punished them in various covert ways for their attempts to assist him. In all cases, they were right and Sanchez was wrong. Going to his good ol’ buds through his Texan connections has only proven to be tragic. So to whom does he turn? Most on his staff are at the same rookie level as he is and those on the Board to whom he speaks are have no public school administration background whatsoever. But Safier sees only the superficial Sanchez and hears only the cheering from the Sanchez pep-squad.

    What Sanchez does know is how to manipulate people, how to turn on his charm to exploit them for what he needs, to lie, lie and then lie some more. He is a consummate politician; the very worst kind. There is no depth below the Sanchez hype and spin and at some point, his incompetence will result in real catastrophe for TUSD. We are well on our way.

    Some of the best, brightest, competent and committed administrators have left TUSD simply because they could not deal with the current repressive environment. Sanchez’ spin on this is that “his” administrators are gold and being sought after by several school districts. He is dead wrong. All of the individuals who have left- wanted to leave and they sought the opportunity to get away from the stifling administration that is now in place.

    I am a site administrator and have many, many years of teaching experience. In speaking with a top level central administrator only three weeks ago, the person described the current TUSD environment as one filled with fear, favoritism and fraud (meaning both pretentious and unethical; perhaps illegal). We agreed that, as a whole, both central and site administrators are fearful of speaking up during meetings. In some cases, doing so has exiled and/or “frozen out” some administrators. Site administrators have literally been told to pack up their belongings and leave their school, without respectful notice and sound justification. Essentially, they were paid to go home. Rather than suffer further humiliation, they resigned from TUSD. (These are people who have been most successful as site administrators and have continued to do so in other school districts after their departure from TUSD.) What kind of messages do you think these actions convey? But do we hear about any of this in Safier’s posts? No.

    Sanchez’ favoritism drips off of him. He particularly likes the principal at Fruchthendler, for example. She was allocated an additional kindergarten teacher, while other schools with the same number of kindergarten students were ignored. Did it make any difference that Sanchez’ daughter was a kindergarten student at the school and that his wife practically lives at the school? What do you, the reader, think? And when it came time to support the cockeyed idea of the Fruchthendler/Sabino grade shifting; dreamt up by the Fruchthendler principal- of course, Sanchez was right there with her, willing to take it all the way to federal court (literally).

    Take a look at the Sanchez “leadership” crew:

    Adrian Vega was a high school principal in Sanchez’ former school district. Sanchez elevated his Texan friend to Deputy Superintendent. They are very close friends, having intentionally moved to rental homes within the same Fruchthendler neighborhood. Vega is best known for screaming at people and generally mistreating them. Allegations of sexual harassment resulted in warning him to cease any such inappropriate sexual conduct. In the two years as Deputy not one single notable accomplishment can be pointed in his direction- except having Sanchez’ back. Other than that, he is known for nothing. He is a rookie.

    Ana Gallegos was promoted from a Title I Director to an Assistant Superintendent right at the same time Sanchez swept the Title I money from direct Title I services to haphazardly lowering class size. Fast climb. She is a rookie.

    Eugene Butler was promoted from a director position at the middle school level by Sanchez to an interim position and then promoted again to Assistant Superintendent by Sanchez. Fast climb. He is best known for screaming, cussing, using vulgarities and bragging that he is looking to get another job in Florida. He is a rookie.

    Karla Soto was promoted from Finance Director to CFO, on the heels of the former CFO leaving- Yousef Awaad. She is best known for saying yes to Sanchez; a dangerous word in her line of business; especially with his propensity to spend money. She is in over her head.

    Stuart Duncan was hired by Sanchez. The verdict is still out on him. He is a rookie to TUSD.

    Anna Maiden may be the very worst HR person TUSD has ever experienced. She is responsible for massive mistakes with the compression pay. It is a massive mess which has harmed several teachers. Sanchez hired her. She is the former HR Director at Sunnyside. Krystal Foster voted against her hiring. Foster is employed by Sunnyside and knew something the other Board members did not know. Maiden is not a rookie. She is a lousy HR director.

    Scott Morrison was hired from the private sector by Sanchez. His experience base is in project management, client relationship management, technology implementation with positive ROI results, risk management and reengineering of system processes, in the private sector. He was hired by Sanchez to “project manage” anything and everything having to do with desegregation. He knows nothing about desegregation or public education. From that position he was promoted to Chief Technology Officer. Fast climb. He is a rookie.

    Abel Morado is a recycled administrator. He is not a TUSD employee but rather a contracted employee. He is known as a get-along-go-along “company man.” He has the most TUSD experience of anyone remaining on the Sanchez central team which is alarming as hell. Does anything else need to be said? Oh, and he is the only person on the Sanchez team who was on the team when Sanchez arrived from Texas. All others were hired by Sanchez.

    NOT a lot of depth. Not a lot of experience. Lots of lacking expertise and leadership. Lots of rookies. Lots of fast and furious promotions. TUSD has a so called leadership team that is comprised mostly of rookies, with serious smatterings of incompetence. Does Safier expose any of this? No!

    Steve Holmes’ departure from TUSD is a loss. He contributed more to the District through his work, direction and leadership than the whole group of people above combined.

    Steve Holmes recently commented that with his departure as well as that of Ignacio Ruiz, TUSD historical memory would vanish.

    Reality check: Morale has hit rock bottom in TUSD. Parent and student programs have been cut by Sanchez, with no posts by TW on such topics. School budgets have been “swept,” leaving schools without the support for school improvement, which would go far in keeping students in TUSD schools. Has Safier posted on any of these things that impact students first hand? NO! (Safier will probably ask for the specifics and herein lies the problem. Safier writes what he is fed by Sanchez, Foster and Grijalva- in that order. He has no reliable contacts or sources to provide him with the facts about TUSD. Safier has done no investigative journalism with regard to Sanchez. He is seen as having been won over by Sanchez. No wonder!

    TW Readers (and I am a loyal one) do yourselves a favor on this one; read Three Sonorans at http://threesonorans.com/2015/06/11/whistleblowers-the-tusd-tunnel-gets-darker-and-bleaker/#comment-94589.”

  7. Ugly Truth,

    Really? What is wrong with you? The problems of TUSD have nothing to do with single parents. I have been an educator or over 20yrs. and have seen enough misbehaved kids in education to know they come from single parent households, two-parent households, grandparent households, Euro-American households, African-American households, Hispanic households, Native American households, Asian households and any other ethnicity group I have missed!

    The problem is with ineffective administrators!!!!!

    The above letter is not gossip, everything can be substantiated. There is a paper trail and eventually Sanchez will be caught.

  8. It amazes me that people critize TS for posting these letters and for telling the truth about TUSD. The information is out there , do your research and you will find its all true. The whistle blowers are very brave people and I hope to meet them all some day. There are people in other agencies watching however people need to act, I call on everyone that has commented here to call the Pima county elections board, they will verify that Grijalva has not submitted her reports and is in violation of the law. I have done this, but don’t take my word for it , do it yourself, then call the county attornies of and demand that they uphold the law. Grijalva , Foster, and Juarez all admiied violating open meeting laws in the last board meeting, its recorded, public record, everyone contact the Attorney generals office and file a complaint about violating open meeting laws, complain about the bonus given to Abel Morado, he is not even a TUSD employee and its illegal to gift state funds, Grijalva hasadmitted involvement in this also. Any of you that work for TUDD may remember when classified employees were told they couldn’t leave early before a holiday that would be a gift of state funding, don’t let them get away with this . A recall is in the works but help is needed anyone willing contact me, and it is scary to do this , but here is my e-mail address bsauber8@hotmail.com. I have many good friends in TUSD, and I’m glad to see teachers and administrators coming out about TUSD, you will always have my support

  9. Reading through all of the letters it is apparent that a change at the board level is needed. Change the board balance to a 3-2 against HT and you will see changes in behavior or a sudden urge to go back to Tejas.

    BTW – what is HT’s buyout language in this new contract? Did he just get the Isquierdo contract that guarantees him lots of $$ when he leaves? But I digress….

    Who is going to run for school board in the next election? Foster and Juarez for sure, but what new candidates will emerge. The same old candidates just are not going to do. Jen Darland, too white/eastside, Betts Pullman-Hidalgo, too out there. What is needed is a candidate who can appeal to a broad range of voters, who has experience in K-12 education, and who is willing to call out BS when he/she sees it.

    The letter writers should consider recruiting one or more former administrators to run for the board. The best way for the disaffected to initiate change will be by running for the board. Financial resources can be targeted at just one of the incumbents, he who is most vulnerable. Yes, I think Juarez is the most vulnerable. Get him off the board and you will start to see some balance to things.

  10. Hey “concerned TUSD administrators” did you really devote an entire paragraph of your already epically long letter to discuss specific THMS students? Was this a necessary topic of discussion? This paragraph seems really out of place. Is this where you are headed…discussing students and their annoying parents? Your letters are already long enough! What do Isquierdo & Macklin have to do with any of the current issues you are trying to bring attention to? Isquierdo was SUSD and Macklin was long gone before Sanchez started. More importantly, what does their daughter have to do with your issues? Very unprofessional and really out of left field to put this paragraph in your letter. I used to find your letters amusing to read however, I am now questioning how concerned about students you really are.

  11. Hey- back at you Rent 444, I think you missed the point. No mention was made of the kid’s name. The focus in the letter is on the politicking being done by the parents- making their way through TUSD channels to get their kid a status the kid did not deserve. By bringing such notable attention to themselves and lobbying for something un-deserved, of course, they took the chance of having the information go public. It is unfortunate for the kid but obnoxious behaviors such as these should be exposed. Really, who do these parents think they are? They both were booted out of their school districts in Tucson for good reason.

    As for the length of the letter- o one forced you to read it and they did make the suggestion to read it in sections. Are you just looking for things to complain about? The letters have exposed a great deal and I think it is important for this type of information to get out. If you do not want to read it, then don’t.

    • It is impossible to miss the point of this paragraph….to embarrass and mock the family of a high achieving TUSD student. As educators, don’t we all want exceptional students to attend our schools? Don’t we all want parents to be involved in their children’s education? No reputable school administrator would risk a possible FERPA violation to mock and embarrass one of their highest ranked students, no matter who their parents are. The pettiness of this paragraph belongs to the THMS administrator and/or office staffer that included it in this letter.

  12. Before you all pat one another on the backs…look at how few comments, positive or negative this blog gets. It’s just a few who banter to and fro.

    I periodically read this blog out of curiosity, and here’s my feedback for, oh lets’ not lie, for worse.

    First and foremost, the structure and language immediately of your blogs, set off alarms in my mind that while the three Sonorans profess to be principally comprised of administrators and teachers, I really find myself focused on that claim and the apparent disparity with the context and structure of these blogs. Frankly I find it difficult to follow your message due to the vociferous nature of the posts. If this group does indeed consist of professional educators, I must say I find that rather frightening.

    Secondarily, whether your letters are factual or not, there is far to much name calling and, shall we say flagrant personal fouls interlaced to make me take this as more that a few pissed off people venting and out for some form of revenge for a personal slight. Again, it makes it difficult for me to take you seriously.

    Next, I take umbrage with your attacks impugning the integrity of everyone at district level. How dare you. There are countless personnel who toil daily under difficult conditions for the best of the children and receive nothing in return but your abuse. I find that repugnant. No matter what you believe, those people take care of site personnel and the children. You cannot operate without them.

    Finally, stop defining what conclusion the reader should draw from your blogs, we are intelligent people and can make decisions and conclusions without your assistance. The facts should speak for themselves. This isn’t entertainment…

    In conclusion, you want the public to pay attention, start acting like the professional educators you profess to be…Just my opinion. Have a nice day

    • You sound like a thriving board member who wants everyone to be quiet. Anyone working for the district knows how true the letters are and if anyone takes time out of their busy schedule to watch the board meetings then they will know how simple minded the three democrats really are (and I say this as a sitting democrat).

      So, if you are a board member, you should go back and watch the videos and see how crazy you all sound when voting on initiatives that are lip service. Ask for the evidence before voting on initiatives.

      • Well I assume you’re referring to me. All I can do is laugh and shake my head in disbelief. “a thriving board member” ha ha ha ha ha your detective skills are seriously lacking. And what exactly is a “Thriving Board Member”?

        Sadly you miss the point.

        It’s not to still your voices, it’s to highlight to you the approach this blog and respondents take hurts any serious effort to effect positive change. You sound more like children than adults when you call names and paint anyone who doesn’t jump on your wagon as an enemy. How very sad that you just don’t get what it would take to accomplish your goals…then again maybe it’s too much to expect you to understand the principals of debate. Diatribes, name calling, and lack of focus don’t cut it.

  13. I think the letter writers are doing just fine. In the last few days they have found ink in the Three Sonorans, the Arizona Daily Independent and the Tucson Weekly and are being referenced all over town.

    Their letters are long. It takes awhile to read them. And?

    Lots of great articles and posts in our community have few and the same commenters. And?

    FERPA would not apply to the situation at hand since the parents have made their demands obnoxiously public. Hum? Interesting that you would hone in on this single issue more than anything else and then unleash a high level vocabulary attack. Could the two possibly be related; as in related; as in relatives; as in connected?

    Those who work on behalf of the students within TUSD have never been criticized in the letters. It is Sanchez, his “yes” team, and his three Board members who have been criticized. Have you even read the letters?

    Please just get out of the way. Stay off this blog if you hate it. Or do you have to check to see if you have been mentioned again.

    • Well said , I believe that the public is finally coming around and this letters are helping. I believe the recall will happen and everyone should attend the board meeting on the 23rd and demand Sanchez and the majorities resignation

  14. Well I must admit, I deserved that. Anyone dumb enough to believe they could have a reasonable discussion with you deserves to get dirt kicked in their face by the bullies who reside here. I leave with this thought…bad mouth those you disagree with all you want here, but remember they’re kicking your behinds

  15. Anonymous- You deserved a response to your comments; that is correct. Some of your comments were insulting and dead wrong. You were not and are not getting bullied. You simply had someone respond to you. Many, many, many do not agree with Sanchez and his three majority board members and from my vantage point, things are not looking so rosy right now for them and they are surely not kicking any behinds. Sounds like you are a believer of the Sanchez gospel. Better do some fact-checking in the future. There about 50 comments in the Arizona Daily Star in response to the 400 thousand $ contract; the comments are critical of the board and Sanchez. I do not reside “here” as you have pegged those who comment in this blog. Get over yourself. The thing that is irritating about people like you is that you distract from the core of the real conversation. Back to the core; Sanchez and his three board members have TUSD in an incredible mess. He is in over his head; the three let him do whatever he pleases without providing board initiated direction or accountability. He tells them what to direct him to do and they do as they are directed. The tail wags the dog.

    Sanchez is not a leader. He is absolutely not an instructional leader.

    He rules through intimidation.

    His extended contract and raise are disgraceful.

What do you think?

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