- From Democracy to Demagoguery- Under HT (Hypnotic Trance) Sanchez
- TUSD Teacher Vacancies Indicate that the Schools are a Low Priority
- Eliminate the Noise from Board Members (literally and figuratively)
- HT Sanchez’ Quid Pro Quo – Bribery for Loyalty
- Inconsistencies Pertaining to Guidelines for Student Rights and Responsibilities, Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) and In-house Suspension ISS Training
- $800,000 DEFICIT In one of HT Sanchez’ Pet Projects- TUSD Day Cares (the Infant and Early Learning Centers)
- Technical Difficulties with Technology
- Lacking Support Coordinators (or as TUSD refers to them- Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs)
- TUSD’s Perpetual False Advertisement
From Democracy to Demagoguery- Under HT (Hypnotic Trance) Sanchez
Elected officials are expected to show decorum and good sense as they execute their duties. They are expected to resist from using their influence for personal favors or gain; even if such favors seem small. One knows that if improper lines are crossed once, they have probably been crossed before and will likely be crossed in the future. It is also true that behaviors seem to escalate once a perpetrator gets away with doing something they should have done. This is the case with TUSD Governing Board President Adelita Grijalva, whose integrity line seems to have vanished, modeling her behavior much after the arrogance of H.T. Sanchez, her heroic superintendent.
Adelita Grijalva was rightfully hammered for her secretive and suspicious silence on her obvious conflict of interest, while her mother-in-law was appointed as the Myers-Ganoung principal. She has been chastised for not submitting her final campaign finance report, seemingly shrugging it off for an extended period of seven months. She contends that there was a typo in her report and that an in-kind contribution that she had reported at $3,549, an amount significantly over the legal limit of $2,500, needed to be corrected. (“Corrected” is an Adelita euphemism, which means “covered-up.” A little white-out and a big white-lie is all it takes.) Why would it take her 7 months to correct a typo- while she is being fined on a daily basis? Because, the original figure was correct and because she wanted time, as a buffer, to make the issue “go way”- as if we will all dismiss it as she stalled for time. It is duplicitous dishonesty which should not be overlooked or accepted.
Of course, none of us will ever forget the valiant manner in which Adelita garnered three votes, for her hero, Sanchez’ contract extension and 24% salary increase- amounting to over $300,000 a year. Most believe that she and her hero (a villain to the rest of us) wheeled a deal far away from the Arizona sunshine law. The AG’s office is looking into it and it is hoped that the AG will find enough evidence to determine that Grijalva, Krystal (not-so-clear) Foster and Cam (grand-slam-insert-foot-in-mouth) Juarez are all implicitly GUILTY, as we all know is the case.
Some may think that the following report of unethical conduct is trivial but in the context of the entire situation, it is actually very revealing in showing Grijalva’ s pattern of unprincipled behavior. In the following case, it is exploitive, unethical conduct. During the board meeting of August 25, 2015 Grijalva called for a short break, the purpose of which was revealed as she whipped out raffle tickets and proceeded to peddle them to her TUSD subordinates. (Meanwhile members of the public were put on hold as they waited for the board meeting to resume.) She gleefully smiled as she approached one person after another, giggling about her duty to sell. The exploitation of her position over those who work in TUSD is immoral and the epitome of hypocrisy. If a principal were reported for vending goods to their teachers and staff, it would be seen for what it is- exploitive misuse of power.
Since HT- the narcissistic, power-hungry, controlling and arrogant person who he has revealed himself to be- arrived on the scene, Adelita and her board majority members (Krystal-not-so clear and Cam- foot-in-mouth) have promoted board policy that, on the surface, is said by them to improve Board conduct. It has done the exact opposite. The motivation driving the proposed policies has been to silence the board minority and to hamper their engagement during board meetings, minimize their receipt of information and eradicate their involvement with school administration, teachers and staff. In other words they do not want Stegeman and Hicks to be provided with any factual information.
During board meetings, Adelita has stifled input from Stegeman and Hicks (obviously, solely on the grounds that they do not agree with HT). She has rudely ignored them, as they each attempt to speak during board meetings and when they finally get the opportunity to speak, she interrupts them and tells them that they have had enough time to speak. (She has never shut-down Foster or Juarez when they go on about the greatness of the person whose Hypnotic Trance they are under). Cam has been primed to “call for the question” only when Michael Hicks or Mark Stegeman are speaking. The corrupt collaboration is obvious.
Policy change (by HT’s board majority) has disallowed comments to flow from board members, as has occurred for at least the previous three decades. Former board members fought and won battles to create a democratic process by the TUSD governing board. Adelita has undone much of their work; including that of her father’s, who at one time was in the exact same position as Mike Hicks and Mark Stegeman- part of the board minority. As the current board majority has gone along with the demagoguery that HT and his legal hired gun, Julie Tolleson, have constructed, there has been a notable muzzling of the board minority, which flies in the face of a democracy.
By silencing the board minority, HT and his minions prevent critical comments and questions from surfacing. It also prevents the board minority from bringing information forward that the public should be aware of as it pertains to District, its policies and operation.
Our message is not about supporting Stegeman and Hicks but rather about democratic policies and practices, which are being chiseled away via one corrupt policy after another, as promoted by HT and his board majority: Grijalva, Foster and Juarez. Who would have thought that a board comprised of alleged progressive democrats would support a system that, these days, looks and feels more like a dictatorship. The power in TUSD begins and ends with H.T. Sanchez and everyone knows this to be the reality. HT fuels his power with fear and intimidation. HT has three unquestionable votes. They do as HE dictates.
The board majority and HT were salivating-at-the-mouth during the August 25, 2015 board meeting, ready to promote a policy, currently utilized by the Cave Creek Unified School District, which would support H.T. Sanchez’ sinister attempts to further castrate board members as policy makers, in particular, Mark Stegeman and Mike Hicks. HT wants puppets. (He already has his board majority under his Hypnotic Trance but has not quite been able to reel in those who continue to think on their own. How dare them!)
As the time approached for the agenda item to be discussed at the 8/25 meeting, the 10:00 PM hour hit and Mike Hicks had just had enough for one night; packed up his belongings and made it clear that he was leaving. HT, of course, immediately instructed the direction that HE believed needed to be taken by having the agenda moved to the next board meeting (or one in the future). By public appearance, he has to make it seem that he is inclusive, while all along his scheme is to exclude members of the board who question his policy recommendations or his implementation of policy. Adelita essentially stated that all 5 board members need to be present while HT attempts to captivate them with his Texan ranch manure. In reference to Hick’s leaving the meeting, Adelita mumbled under her breath, “That is one way of making your point known!” News flash Adelita! It is the only way that he had to get his point across and good for him. The item will likely appear on a future agenda.
It was suggested that we take a look at Cave Creek to see why HT and his three minions want to model TUSD after it; at least in keeping board members away from the schools. We found that Cave Creek has nothing in common with TUSD except for the repressive, restrictive policies that hamper board member involvement. Cave Creek sits in a conservative, affluent community and TUSD does not. TUSD has 9 times more students than Cave Creek, a school district with 5,400 students and 7 schools. The school district is comprised of a white student population (87%) and the percentage of white teachers and administrators is higher. Because the District and community are so small, we learned that, in part, the intention behind the policy was to protect the District against FERPA violations, since board members know many of the students who attend the schools and might witness students attending exceptional education classes or other such services and might then share with community members (this is the official story line that we heard a few times). Evidently, some Cave Creek board members have attempted to direct site administrators or deal with teacher issues directly and instead of dealing with the particular board member(s); they have created a policy that now hampers all board members. The policy basically disallows board members from visiting schools or at least makes it very difficult for board members to visit schools. The policy gives community members and parents more access to the schools than it does to its own policy makers. TUSD is not small and the rationale for HT promoting the Cave Creek policy is insidious. HT and his hired gun- Julie Tolleson- need to stop their efforts to politically strangle the board minority. She should be reminded that she reports to the entire governing board.
We are hearing that HT and his minions have already received negative feedback on the Cave Creek policy adoption. We doubt that feedback of any sort would stop them, since it hasn’t before. The Cave Creek policy push may show up again. Regardless of what happens, it is good to let them know that we know.
Anyone reading this letter who agrees with our stance should consider voicing their opinion directly to the Governing Board Office- (520) 225-6070. (If you do not want to give your name because you are a TUSD employee or parent- say so and tell the board office staff that you are voicing your opinion as an employee or parent but do not want to give your name for fear of retaliation.) See links below pertaining to Cave Creek Unified School District policies and the referenced TUSD board agenda (see # 8).
TUSD Teacher Vacancies Indicate that the Schools are a Low Priority
Any principal can attest to the fact that starting the school year with vacancies sends a message to students and parents that the school is poorly prepared. Substitutes, no matter how wonderful they are, are substitutes. This year’s problems were as bad as or worse than last year’s. Some schools began the school year with approximately half of their faculty positions not filled and if the geographic location of these schools is examined, it is clear that west and south side schools remain to have little importance to the TUSD administration. HT reported that there were less positions open this year than last but there are significant discrepancies in what he has reported. We believe that HR held back on posting some vacancies in order to make it appear as though there were less vacancies.
Additionally, HT’s reported class size decrease is another sham. One single example is Sewell’s Kindergarten, with 30 students, however, there are over-sized classes throughout the District. The board should request a school by school report that includes total enrollment by grade and by subject (for middle school and high school) total number of teaching positions; total number of vacancies; and total number of substitutes by grade and subject.
Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” applies to the crazed way TUSD is managed. Every year the District begins their recruitment efforts during the summer, which is too late. The District has never learned from its habitual failures. It is things like this that HT has failed to fix, because he is too busy hyping himself and rubbing shoulders with the Mayor and others who have swallowed his magic potion. The filling of predictable vacancies must begin mid-year. HT and his status quo HR staff have to service the schools as their primary job. He is awfully quick to fill positions at central administration. The highest priority should be staffing the schools.
Eliminate the Noise from Board Members (literally and figuratively)
We have noticed that the whispering during board meetings between HT and Cam & Krystal, and Adelita is picked up on the audio system in the new board facilities. The whispering has always been rude, no question, but now it is rude and even more distracting. The board meeting is a public meeting and should be conducted without all the side-bar sneers and whispering.
HT Sanchez’ Quid Pro Quo – Bribery for Loyalty
In our 10th letter we discussed HT and his “family” donation of $17,000 to Davis Elementary Magnet School and University High School. The money came from his bonus pay, which was allocated on June 9, 2015 along with all the other compensation.
$7,000 went to Davis to an all-male PE program, at least as it appeared from a picture included in the June 19th Superintendent Newsletter. (And what of the girls?) $10,000 went to University High School. Neither of these schools are listed on the TUSD web site as the schools where students need the most help, which revealed yet another insincere gesture by Sanchez. He does not put his own money where the District’s mouth is. http://www.tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/aztaxcredit/needs.asp
HT contributed the entirety of his pay for performance bonus of more than $12,600 (before taxes) to Camp Cooper.
As we said in our 10th letter, we believe that the publicity he worked so hard to get on his contributions during the summer were to offset the fury over the salary scandal. The fury has not been placated. This year’s shallow actions convince us that he made ZERO contributions last year, since there was not a single word spoken by him last year about where his bonus and pay for performance money contributions. We believe that his bonus and performance pay all went is his pocket. This is a narcissist who takes every opportunity to be in the limelight and when he doesn’t have the light on himself, there is a reason.
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HT has set up a patronage system by favoring certain schools and ignoring others. It is cronyism at its worst. The owed loyalty from the site administrators who received HT’s “charity” is unquestionable. Schools that were left out of his gifting might feel off the hook since they owe him nothing. Nonetheless, it is in poor form for HT to play the overt favoritism games that we constantly see.
Had Sanchez quietly placed his pocketed tax-based dollars into a fund and established a FAIR system to allocate the dollars, administrators and teachers would feel as though it were charity. Right now it is a brag campaign and quid pro quo.
Sadly, after bestowing his bribe contribution, Oyama’s playground equipment was destroyed due to a fire. HT immediately asked the community to provide funding to rebuild the playground equipment. Had there been a charity fund from which to deal with
these type of tragedies, his bonus and pay for performance could have actually been used in a favorable and just way; untainted by his games.
Inconsistencies Pertaining to Guidelines for Student Rights and Responsibilities, Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) and In-house Suspension ISS Training
Going on three years now, principals and teachers have been asking for clarification on the Guidelines for Student Rights and Responsibilities (GSRR). The first year was terrible, with little other than electronic-check-the-box compliance training. If principals inquired about discipline during meetings with Sanchez, he would begin his litany of attacks on the special master and plaintiffs. We stopped asking. Essentially, there was NO training and there was no clarification. Schools were told to stop suspending students and to avoid involving the police, without specific guidance on how to accomplish these dictates. Onto the second and current (third) year we have been provided with contradictive information during trainings provided by Sam Brown, Eugene Butler, Abel Morado, Chuck McCollum, Julie Tolleson, and others. The learning support coordinators who have been through training have received different messages from different people. There is lack of consistency in the messaging, which has resulted in great confusion.
On top of GSRR confusion, the District has decided to add DAEP (a Texan Vague-a/Sanchez program from their former school district) as well as “restructure” ISS. The training provided on these topics has been as confusing as described above with no hand-outs and plenty of contradictions. If this is HT thinking that he is going to outsmart the court, the special master and plaintiffs in the USP chess game, (as he has referred to it) by slopping last minute programs together that are destined for failure, he as wrong as he has been on numerous other desegregation efforts as the court has pointed out. The facts will bear out that this is being done only as a shallow effort to show “good faith.” He must think everyone is as stupid as his minions. All central administrators are using the same language when it comes to desegregation- “good faith effort” and “collaboration.” We in the schools know it is all Texan bull manure. (Many desegregation magnet school plans which were developed at the schools were re-written by “1010.” We only wish the Special Master knew as much.)
HT does not understand TUSD discipline policy, yet he is at the helm addressing it and recommending it. We found the following incredibly impressive and truthful: http://threesonorans.com/2015/08/20/ht-sanchez-caught-in-contradiction-in-az-daily-star-is-tusd-promoting-a-public-school-prison-with-hts-texas-plan/
$800,000 DEFICIT In one of HT Sanchez’ Pet Projects- TUSD Day Cares (the Infant and Early Learning Centers)
TUSD is a public school district. It is not a day care provider. That is, it wasn’t until HT got it in his Texan narcissist head to open two day care centers, with the promise that they would be filled and operating on their own revenue. He was wrong (as he is often- it is just that some mistakes are more public). They have run at a deficit of $800,000 which
has placed a drain on TUSD’s own revenue, which should be used for no other reasons than its public education of students and NOT day care costs.
It is important to point out that HT’s son attends the Shumaker Day Care, saving the Sanchez’ family day care tuition when comparing what they would have to pay elsewhere. It is not beyond the narcissistic mentality of Sanchez to do something based on the fact that it serves him. This also applies to his stubborn insistence that Fruchthendler should be converted to a K-6 school, the school his daughter attends. The world, according to HT revolves around HT.
Technical Difficulties with Technology
We know of no other recent time in TUSD’s history that has given us so many problems with technology related problems. The internet has gone down for full days at least twice in the last year which means that we have NO access to the TUSD intranet or worldwide internet. This impacts work and instruction. There have been problems with payroll and over the last many months the TUSD website’s information section does not work as well as it did last year at this time. It functions inconsistently and whole sections have now been eliminated, such as surveys, assessment data and other valuable data. These became unavailable since the site went down months ago, while they were previously publicly accessible, which is just one more shield which has made the District less and less transparent.
All of these problems have happened under Sanchez’ restrictive watch and after he brought in his hot-shot good ol’ boy Daman Jackson from his former school district in Texas to fix all the IT problems. After Damon escaped to return to Texas as a Sr. IT Manager for the City of Ft. Worth (with references provided by his buds Adrian Vague-a and H.T.), There have been multiple problems with the H.T.’s next good ol’ boy appointment. He promoted and appointed Scott Morrison as the Chief Technology Officer. Morrison was originally brought in to “project manage” the USP; because everyone knows that public sector manufacturing and public education are identical and that widgets and children are equal.
The IT problems in TUSD have never been worse and the only thing that tops them are the excuses.
Lacking Support Coordinators (or as TUSD refers to them- Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs)
We are a very cohesive group and have seldom debated over issues which we write about in our letters. One exception is the position of LSCs. The principals in our group want to hold on to their LSCs and the teachers in our group have all determined that the LSCs provided little support to them at their various schools. In deciding how we would address this issue, we decided to leave it to the parents in our group. Only one parent knew
anything about the LSC at her school and it was based on the fact that her child had been disciplined and the parent needed to be contacted; the principal asked that the LSC take over in the communication with the parent. No other parent in the group had any idea of who the LSC was in their building or what they did. LSCs are not supposed to be directly involved in discipline which obviously is not the case. We took it upon ourselves to survey several teachers and parents and their feedback was consistent with what our own teachers and parents had shared. For this reason, we believe that the LSC positions should simply be undone and that those in the positions be assigned to the vacant teaching positions, with the remainder assigned to areas with the most needs.
During our discussion on this topic, it became clear that the principals had been coached on how to respond to the consultants who conducted the LSC evaluation. The $90,000 evaluation is worthless; tainted by central administration interference and bias. Our opinion on this matter was unanimous.
As we watched the board meeting of August 25th we were surprised that the $90,000 consultants did not present the evaluation on the LSCs, instead Richard Foster presented. In our recent memory we cannot recall a case where District staff report on a consultant’s report. It draws a red flag!
TUSD’s Perpetual False Advertisement
With HT’s arrival as TUSD’s head, the institution has been on public relations steroids, hyping HT Sanchez and his minions at every turn, often leaving the schools’ accomplishments in the shadows. We had previously reported that HT had the untasteful gall to direct that a TUSD media crew with cameras travel to Phoenix to capture him testifying in front of a senate committee. All this, at the expense of tax payers.
HT has an administrative assistant who is responsible for Tweeting during board meetings, in addition to running HT’s personal errands. The tweets are all sweet and any tense moments during board meetings are not tweeted. Nicholas Roman is more like HT’s valet and unofficial PR person.
The official public relations person is Stefanie Boe, Communications and Media Relations Director who works constantly on HT-spin- taking anything and everything that is problematic and turning it into something palatable, which often means that the truth is squeezed out of what they present. They do this by lying, omitting pertinent information and/or distorting whatever schemed story they are working on at the moment. An example of this is the District’s lobbied opinion piece in the Arizona Daily Star on the Learning Support Coordinators. The piece left out information- a current trade mark of HT’s lobbying, reporting, speaking, etc.
They also have taken on a campaign of nominating their “in-crowd” members for awards, commendations and otherwise any positive public relations.
This is what has recently taken place with Krystal Not-So-Clear-Foster being recently named a 2015 Flinn-Brown Fellow. HT pulled strings, filled out forms, and recommended until he was Texan-blue in the face. He succeeded in one small pay-back for a board member who, at most meetings, acts as though she is obsessed with the superintendent. In looking at others who accompany the now Cloudy-Krystal, as a Flinn-Brown Fellow, another political hack from U.S. Senator Flake’s office has joined her- Flake’s Director of Hispanic Outreach. It seems that Flake and HT Sanchez have more in common than plain old bad politics. They both scrambled to get their sell-out LOYALists acknowledged. Shame on them.
Thank you for reading our letters. A gigantic thanks to Three Sonorans which has published all of our letters. Thanks to the Arizona Daily Independent for carrying some of our letter and to the Tucson Weekly for doing the same.
We have grown in number and strength, having added some new administrators and one awesome researcher.
All of our previous letters may all be found on Three Sonorans.
Remember TUSD Board Member Terms END
The terms for Krystal Foster and Cam Juarez end in 2016 UNLESS they are re-elected. Justifiably, their terms should end- sooner than later.