To: The Tucson Community – 20th Open Letter
From: Whistleblowers– Comprised of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, and Parents
Subject: More Heads Rolling- HT Sanchez Fires Current Law Firm and Secretly Hires New Phoenix Law Firm; HT Sanchez Unilaterally Decides on Bond Election; More Ridiculous HT Directives; Our 19th Letter “Harshness”; 4 Years of Non-Leadership on the TUSD Board; Frenzied Administrative Assignments Create More Chaos; TEA is a Disgrace
We are growing in number, strength and fortitude with each letter, with contacts in nearly EVERY school. This is despite the fact that HT Sanchez has strenuously come after us and actually attempted to interrogate principals about our identity. He tried to get the Tucson Police Department to investigate us. Krystal Foster is now going full force with her “connections” within TUSD trying to find out who is in our group. She has even spoken to some of us about us, which is hilarious! The joke is on her!
More Heads Roll- Another Legal Firm Working on Desegregation Bites the Dust “A La Sanchez” Style- Third Law Firm in Two Years!
Imagine a client, a guilty one, involved in a pretty intense law suit. The client has had the same law firm for about 40 years. Two years ago, the client dumped the law firm and hired a new firm and now, two years later, the guilty client dumped the one from two years ago and has hired a new firm. This makes for a total of three law firms in two years! Who do you think has the problem; the client or the law firms?
This is the exactly what HT Sanchez has done since he arrived in TUSD.
HT Sanchez dropped the DeConcini Firm that had been in place for 40 years after he had been on the job for 5 months and announced his decision during a Board meeting in mid-December 2013. He pounded his chest and declared that he has gotten rid of the DeConcini Firm and replaced it with the Rusing Lopez & Lizardi Firm because he wanted a firm that would support him in gaining unitary status (while under his rein). He explained, while pounding his chest, that he made the decision because legal counsel at the new firm is familiar with the case and that essentially, the DeConcini firm had not served the District well in the desegregation case.
Two years later, during the January 12, 2016 Board meeting, with just as much audacity, but less chest pounding, HT Sanchez (who had a chest cold), explained that he had gone out to bid for another law firm but that the whole process had to remain totally secret, as legally required.
Ah, but wait, Michael Hicks asked if Sanchez had been directed by the Board to change law firms. Sanchez responded that he had spoken to Board members during his “one on one” meetings. However, Sanchez should not be given directives by individual Board members, which means that HE simply TOLD Board members what he was doing and received NO direction during his “one on one” meetings; he gave it. (In other words, the tail dictated the action of the dog.) Or if HT did receive direction and followed the direction given, it is not how the Board and Superintendent should be making decision in light of that the sunshine law (open meeting law) and what is required under the law. Hicks insisted that these matters should be discussed during public Board meetings exposing the fact that all of what had occurred was done in secret.
Adelita Grijalva tried to rescue her jefe, Sanchez, by telling Hicks that he should have been in executive session where all the details on the selection of the new firm were discussed, as she totally missed the point of Hick’s questions and comments. No, actually she ignored his points and attempted to muffle what he was saying by doing her fast-talking and condescending “trip” on Hicks. She kept asking Hicks if he wanted to go into executive session to discuss the details of the procurement process, to which he kept repeating that he wanted the matter discussed publicly. (Does the Board prez ever listen?)
When Mark Stegaman asked why they could not more openly discuss the process, Julie Tolleson said that it was a legal requirement to keep the names of the bidders confidential and that the first firm, the DeConcini firm, had not been fired; that the attorney who had been working on the case had taken a job at the U of A. (Tolleson is the attorney who sat at the magnet meetings while HT lied to parents and teachers (some of us were there) and the same attorney who received a $20,000 salary increase her first year on the job at the hand of her jefe.) Then why, did her boss pound his chest in December of 2013 and state that HE had made the decision to dump the DeConcini firm and go with a new one, making it very clear that HE was unhappy with the DeConcini firm? It is never good to see legal counsel contradict their client but in the case of TUSD, we love it! And doesn’t Tolleson know that over the 40 year period that the DeConcini firm had the case, a variety of attorneys took over the case?
HT Sanchez explained that the newly selected firm has experience in the federal judicial system, which was nothing more than empty words and a slap to the law firm he dumped. It was just a lot of cheap rhetoric in justifying HIS selection of the new firm. HT repeated what he said in 2013 when he dumped the DeConcini firm which is that the objective is unitary status for TUSD. Isn’t great when he can get away with exactly the same rationale twice? Unless the selected firm has real experience in school desegregation they will be learning while on the job just like their new jefe, HT Sanchez. Nothing we have been able to learn about the firm suggests that they have every worked on school desegregation. Guess who will be footing the bill for the on-the-job training for the new legal counsel? By “real experience” we mean that the experience is actual and not made up like HT’s fabricated experience in a desegregation case which he said he had and which has been disputed by many of his former colleagues Board members from his former District.
As Cam Juarez attempted to scold Stegeman and Hicks about their concerns it became clear that Cam is miles out of the loop on this issue as he stated that the Board was not taking action on the item but simply reviewing the information. Grijalva and Sanchez immediately rescued him from further embarrassment and informed him that they would be voting on the item. (You would think that Cam would at the very least read the Board agenda which clearly stated that the item was for study and action.) Later, when it was time to vote on the item, he said that he felt very comfortable going forward and taking action on the item. One minute he thinks it is a study item and is attempting to “inform” Hicks and Stegeman, while being totally wrong. Then he is corrected and all of the sudden, his rubber stamp is inked and ready to go. Cam Flip-Flop- Juarez comes through once again.
The vote on the HT Sanchez-recommended contract was split, the way most votes are split. 3:2 with, Hicks and Stegeman voting against the selection of the slam-dunk-recommended firm. The name of the firm was never stated during the course of the entire meeting. Not even after the vote. So much for transparency!
After a few calls to various District offices on Wednesday morning, we learned that the new firm is Steptoe & Johnson, LLC, Phoenix. We were given the information “off the record” because the last person we spoke with did not want to get into trouble for giving us the information, which shows how bad things are within TUSD. Everyone is afraid. The action taken by the Board should be public knowledge and is considered public information. It should be provided freely but people are scared to death to say anything.
The newly approved procurement contract with Steptoe & Johnson raises many, many questions since HT Sanchez has often criticized the fact that the attorneys for the Latino plaintiffs reside in LA. HT’s double-standard and “both- sides-of-his-mouth-rhetoric” is straight-out hypocrisy, once again. It is an insult to Tucson law firms to give a Phoenix firm a $5,000,000 contract.
If legal counsel jointly reports to the Superintendent and the Board, why wasn’t the Board involved until the end of the process which was simply to rubber stamp the decision? Why was the public kept in the dark throughout the entire process on a five million dollar contract (one million per year)? And why are the actual practitioners (principals and teachers) at the schools never involved in these critical decisions?
We are tired of hearing about HT’s one-on-one meetings with Board members, where deals are struck and decisions seem to be made all in tight-lipped secret until it is time for the three puppets to vote.
What is up with a revolving door of attorneys handling the desegregation case? What is behind the termination of Rusing Lopez & Lizardi Firm? Could it be, as we have heard, that HT and the main counsel from Rusing, Bill Brammer, had a major falling out? No one, we repeat, no one is allowed to question HT Sanchez. No one.
Until the Board takes it upon themselves to direct HT Sanchez, they are going to be cleaning one mess up after another. HT is volatile. HT is retaliatory. HT is egocentric. HT is a liar. He takes direction from no one. Yet, he was given the highest salary increase in the history of superintendents in TUSD.
TUSD has become a reactionary institution, never quite getting out in front of anything and it is based on a do-nothing Board majority and a maniacal administrator at the helm.
Three Sonorans did a great write-up on this topic. Check it out.
Who Approved Going Out for a TUSD Bond Election?
The runaway TUSD Superintendent has also UNILATERALLY decided to go out for a bond election. He is pretending to go through the same “public” process that he used in putting his self-serving strategic plan together. Most participants were TUSD employees; many of community participants did not attend most of the meetings and many dropped out. It was a sham process.
This coming Saturday he is hosting a meeting from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Palo Verde High School with a group of retreads from the Strategic Planning Committee and another meeting will be held on January 19, 2016 from 6:00 -9:00 at Cholla High School. Included on his invitation list is his wife Mary Ann Sanchez and Cam Juarez’ wife. How cozy and how exposing of the nepotism and cronyism culture that is now in place.
HT Sanchez also surprised some board members with a decision to procure “a Financial Advisor and Investment Banking Services on behalf of the District for a potential bond issue, refinancing of existing bonds and other financial advisory assistance” as stated on the agenda item information. This was done WITHOUT direction from the Board. HT made the decision and then got another rubber stamp vote. When questioned about the process, he sarcastically and begrudgingly responded to Hicks and Stegeman that he was simply gathering information. This run-away-train may never be stopped… until it crashes.
Krystal Foster has few real friends left since she has become what she thinks to be the consummate politician. Her demand for political favors has become a topic of wide-spread whispering and, mostly, people laugh at what a poor politician she is as she attempts to “wheel and deal.” She considers Jason Freed an ally since they accommodate one another’s needs. So, of course, it made perfect “political” sense for her to preach during the Board meeting of January 12 about going out for an override at the same time the voters are asked to approve a bond. She had promised Freed that she would argue that if the District seeks a bond election it must also seek an override that will fund raises for teachers. There is no greater way to have a bond go under than to attach it to an override.
We support teacher raises but understand that our community, which is filled with hard working people who have not received raises for many years, will not support paying for someone else’s raises. We rest our case on how bad- really, really, really bad- a politician Krystal Foster is. Let us rephrase. She is not a good politician. She is a corrupt politician. She obviously will sacrifice winning a bond election by delivering her promise to Freed, which in turn will get her the TEA endorsement.
Our Welcome Back to Our Schools After the Winter Break
School principals were directed by HT to stay out of our schools during the break. His dictate, like so many of his orders, resulted in more loss than gain. We think of all we could have gotten done in the quiet of our schools during the break and do not understand how professionals can be barred from working.
We were welcomed back with 700-1000 emails; very cold schools that had not been warmed up for our students, vandalism, internet problems, broken water pipes, needle syringes and other drug paraphernalia in our playgrounds, dead rodents, and other “messes” that could have been prevented had we been allowed to have some presence at our schools. HT’s directive was ridiculous and everyone knows it!
Behind the Scene in the Writing of Our 19th Letter
Maybe it was the horrendous propaganda used by HT and “his three” during the magnet school community meetings. The lies heaped higher than “A” Mountain
Perhaps the whole, “let’s keep the District segregated” platform that HT and the Board majority have been spewing is what did us in since TUSD has been under a desegregation court order since 1978.
Possibly, it was, once again, seeing one of our peers at Secrist ‘done wrong” that irritated the heck out of us.
What we know is that Krystal Foster’s rant in her recent guest opinion (Arizona Daily Star- December 29, 2015) just pushed us over the edge. She posted her opinion on Facebook and commented back to a comment with the following:
“Kristel Ann Foster TUSD Governing Board Member I have often asked why the region that TUSD covers and all the public schools within, meaning charters, are not subjected to this court order.”
(Article continued below)
· December 30, 2015 at 3:42pm
Krystal Foster’s obliviousness (and/or stupidity) of desegregation really comes through in this clueless comment, since charter schools did not even exist at the time the desegregation law suit was filed (this was immediately pointed out to our entire group by a teacher of four years). To the best of our knowledge, having read piles of TUSD filings, TUSD has also never argued that charter schools have had any kind of impact on TUSD, even though we all know they have extracted thousands of mostly white middle class students from our schools, making it more difficult to integrate our schools (but not impossible)
If elected policy-maker Foster believes her own words, why not make an effort to umbrella charter schools under the desegregation court order now? Well, because it is a political keg of dynamite; that is why! Upon reading Krystal’s rant and her ignorant comment, we jointly decided that it had come time to show the same level of DISrespect toward her, her two majority peers and their jefe, HT Sanchez, that they have shown us, our peers, the Tucson community and mostly the children attending our schools.
We too decided to be emotional and to unleash our own rant and we did so with purpose. This is our 20thletter. Our letters have repeatedly listed items that have required investigation and remedy. However, most of the issues we have surfaced have been ignored. Krystal wrote about adults that want to be right in her guest op. There has been no better display about people who are dead wrong on issues saying and pretending that they are right than Krystal Foster, Cam Juarez, Adelita Grijalva and their leader, HT Sanchez. Her denial or her delusion were too much for us to take. We decided that maybe, just maybe, if they got one good dosage of their level of meanness, they might just learn something, so we held up a mirror to the four of them in our 19th letter.
We understand that it provoked her like none of our other letters. She ran as quickly as she could to HT (texting and telephoning), to TEA, and to anyone who would listen to her melt into total “victim.”
To Be or Not to Be Board President? 4 years of Non-leadership on the Board
It seems that we were not the only ones who were upset with Krystal’s opinion piece. We hear that Adelita and HT were upset that she submitted the guest opinion (a rambling emotional word tantrum) without their review and blessing. We understand that the whole situation may have cost her the position of Board President. Hum? Trouble in the inner sanctum? Krystal is far from the picture of leadership. She tears up at just about anything and cloaks herself as a victim. So the presidency was pulled from her as she became more and more hysterical over our 19th letter.
Krystal slapped a smile on her face for the Board meeting of January 5, 2016 and nominated Adelita Grijalva as the prez, saying that “Grijalva’s consistent leadership has resulted in several achievements, for the District, including a lack of layoffs, pay raises, increasing scores on AP exams and an invitation to the White House on limiting the school to prison pipeline.” Let’s take each of these at a time:
1-? How can there possibly be layoffs when the vacancy rate for teachers is so high and since so many classrooms are staffed by continuous substitutes or long-term substitutes? Duh!
2-? The pay raise issue remains very fresh in our minds. Of course, Krystal was speaking about the teacher salary increase but let’s not forget the salary increase for HT Sanchez, which still burns most of us within the Tucson community. We, as teachers, are still using our out-of-pocket dollars to purchase materials for our classrooms and the increase for HT Sanchez could have been used responsibly.
While on the topic, we have a critical question that we would like everyone who reads our letters to ask. Ask it of TUSD; ask it of TEA; ask it of AEA. Exactly how many teachers are paying members of the Banales/Freed led TEA? (Banales was rewarded for her HT cheerleading by being appointed to a cushy administrator position but she is still very much involved in union matters.) We hear that TEA membership is significantly under 1,000; maybe as low as 750, which means that they are not legitimately qualified as a bargaining union and are vulnerable to decertification. The optimum membership, was over 3,000. It has declined because of horrible leadership and a group comprised of 20-30 tired teachers, all cladding faded red shirts, who care more about TEA than their students. They are a disgrace to professional teachers.
Since TUSD goes through the motions of negotiations they should be forced to disclose themembership number for teachers in TEA, but if they don’t (out of shame), then TEA or AEA should be forced to disclose the information. TUSD needs a real union to represent its teachers; not TEA. Banales and Freed have both told members that HT does not like grievances and have refused to file grievances for this reason. It is outrageous!
One of the ONLY reasons they are kept around is so that the sham of a union can endorse candidates for the school board race. Last time around, there were three seats that opened up. TEA promised to endorse only one; Adelita Grijalva. A hard-core group of TEA “(faded) red-shirts” of about 30 put her signs up; worked at her phone bank and did other campaign work. In return, she led the fight in giving her union a pay raise. The raise was not acknowledgement of TEACHERS; it was political pay back.
3-? Scores on AP exams have improved. This had NOTHING to do with Adelita Grijalva, or with HT. There are more students enrolled in AP classes. Parents at UHS and Sabino pay for private tutoring for their AP enrolled children. Any idiot can do the math.
4-? The invitation to the White House took place only because of the District’s work in the discipline area under the USP; not because they have made any real progress. TUSD has NOT been successful in lowering the numbers, except by cheating. By “cheating”, we mean that HT, Eugene Butler, Abel Morado, and others issue orders to principals, directing them not to suspend; to decrease their discipline (days of suspension); and not to call the police. One example, out of many, is that an assistant principal was assaulted by a student at an east side school and she was told not to call the police, that it would not be good for her career. A teacher was assaulted by a student at another east side school and the student was let off the hook because the teacher is said to have escalated the situation. The teacher was directed not to call the police.
Krystal Foster’s rationale for nominating Adelita for prez is meaningless.
The Arizona Daily Star’s article on the TUSD leadership election stated, “In the 60-plus year history of the board operating with five members, there has never been two people holding the same seats for more than two years in a row.” Our description: more of the failing same; monopoly; dictatorship; political corruption, three HT puppets, the tail wagging the dog, etc.
Other Reactions to Krystal Foster’s Opinion Piece- Must Reads!
An Update on Secrist – HT is Playing Musical Chairs with Administrators!
At our principals’ meeting last week there were whispers about our 19thletter with comments back and forth about its “harshness.” Some said it was “brutal.” It was.
The treatment that our peers have undergone since HT arrived has been harsh. It has been brutal. He used Adrian Vega as his hinge man, now it is Abel Morado and Richard Foster who lower the hammer on those tagged by HT as requiring “follow-through.” All three of them would sell their souls to the devil in order to gain HT’s approval and support. Be careful Abel and Richard or you too could wind up abandoned just like Vega, who finally seems to have learned his painful lesson, having to take a job in Texas in some unknown remote location, just to survive.
The recent removal of the principal at Secrist is just the latest of HT Sanchez’ scape-goat management that results in undignified treatment shown towards administrators. The slap taken by the principal was nothing more that HT covering his incompetent hinny. Someone had to take the hit and it sure was not going to be HT. Middle schools are in trouble throughout the District. It comes from lack of attention and support (Yes, even more than elementary schools and high schools). HT is blaming the issue on poor leadership at the school. It is poor leadership from HT and his round of 1010 do- nothings. We get NO support at the schools (unless you are one of HT darlings) and this is especially true for new site administrators. It is sink or swim out here.
The state of the District is the worse it has ever been since HT took over. Two of HT Sanchez’ top leadership team are “INTERIM” administrators: Richard Foster, Interim Assistant Superintendent and Abel Morado, Interim Deputy Superintendent. It is as though HT got a flat tire and he is driving around on the tiny temporary tire pretending that all is a smooth and safe drive. Not! Each of these guys do not have the “no” word in their vocabulary. They utter “yes” even before the order is issued or the question is asked. It thrills HT not to be questioned and it bloats his ego to be supported without question.
HT Sanchez is an only child who got anything and everything he every asked for from his mom. He was and remains to be one spoiled child. He does not know how to handle rejection so he learned a long time ago how to get around it by cheating and making sure that there is no competition. This is why he sabotaged his superintendent in Texas and then took over his position for a few months as interim supt. This is how he actually landed his job with TUSD. He demanded that he be considered the single candidate and the majority of the TUSD Board went along with the ludicrous proposal. He had done just enough research on each school board member to be able to feed them what they wanted to hear. But it was all lies and here he still is just building more lies on that foundation.
HT’s chaotic management is demonstrated in the Secrist example. Only after media exposure, he transferred both administrators out of the school; sending the principal to Pueblo HS, as an assistant principal and the assistant principal to nomad’s land- as a learning support coordinator (where there is NO coordination for anything). He placed Marcia Volpe- an old Abel Morado crony who worked with him at Tucson High- at Secrist as “interim” principal (more temporary management) and asked Francisco Moraga (another Morado crony) to go to Secrist as an assistant principal. Moraga said no. HT (with Morado’s help) then moved Michael Beck out of Pistor Middle School to Secrist and moved Larry Martinez to Pistor. It is administrator musical chairs in this game no one gets a chair and everyone falls flat on the floor.
Marcia Volpe, the interim principal, stays in her office all day long. She does not visit classrooms. She does not walk the halls. She does not go into the cafeteria. She is not engaged. We are hearing that Michael Becked is now being trained to be the permanent principal. (Preselection?) He will get the support that the former principal did not get. Teachers have stepped up and are rotating campus supervision. The idea originated with a teacher. A Secrist teacher was seen purchasing stolen good from a student. There are no boundaries and there is no supervision. Discipline is still out of bounds and the blame was directed in the wrong direction. Again.
Jason Freed Trashes Board Members and the USP- Again
During HT’s very long and painful two and half years with us in TUSD, many have taken on his behaviors (sarcastic, mean, retaliatory, arrogant, self-serving and plain mean). We believe that Krystal is one of these individuals, along with Adelita Grijalva and Jason Freed. Maybe it is more accurate to say that, at least, they are all meaner and nastier. At the Board meeting on January 12, 2016 Jason Freed stood up before the Board during “call to the audience” and began SARCASTICALLY addressing the board saying that he was not going to criticize specific board members BUT… then he did, in a manner that repeated what he has stated before in insulting SPECIFIC Board members but this time did not mention names. Give us a break. Everyone knew that his put-downs were aimed at two specific Board members.
Jason Freed is the “head teacher” of the teachers’ union. Freed’s behavior was disrespectful and part of an orchestrated attack by HT, his three Board members and HT’s owned union. He and other significantly unimportant men have been given importance by HT, with the explicit understanding that they will use one another. Freed puts on his TEA costume and pretends to wheel and deal power. He has none. HT holds all of the cards and Adelita pretends she’s in charge during Board meetings by silencing Stegeman and Hicks.
We are Genuinely Grateful for Your Support
Thanks to all who have helped us spread our letters: Three Sonorans, Arizona Daily Independent, Tucson Weekly. All of our letters may be found on Three Sonorans @: http://threesonorans.com/tusd-whistleblower-archives/
Faithful readers please forward to your server list.
The election for TUSD Governing Board members is in November of 2016. You know what to do!