Whistleblowers: Exposing HT’s lies, Pueblo Principal’s Perpetual Absence and more

To: The Tucson Community- 21th Open Letter
From:  Whistleblowers– Comprised of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, and Parents

Subject: The LIE About Learning Support Coordinators; Family Ties Cause Unraveling of Ethics; Absence of Diversity; Pueblo Principal MIA; Santa Rita HS Enrollment is Evaporating; State of the District Failures

 

HT Sanchez’ LIEs about the Destiny of the Learning Support Coordinators OR: There is NO Learning; there is NO Support; and Least of all, there is Coordination!

HT Sanchez’ meeting with site leadership last week was as symbolic as it can get in portraying his deception and deflection. He continues to be a pathological liar of the biggest magnitude. HT announced that the Special Master was “pulling” the Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) and attributed total blame to site administrators. He said that all we (school principals) have done is complain about the LSCs which has resulted in losing them. Of course, we know the truth. The LSC is a position that was created during John Pedicone’s era. Principals have little to say about the LSC function. Once the LSCs showed up at our schools, there was no direction provided about what the LSC was to do at the school. We wrongly believed that they, as a group, had been trained and given specific directives about what they were to do. We were wrong and with the added staffing at our schools, each of us used the LSCs in different and, what we believed to be useful ways.

Some of us wound up with some LSC con-artists, who would tell us that they had meetings at 1010, while taking time off for hours each week. For those of us who shared LSCs between two schools some LSCs would say that they were at the other school to each of the school principals and until principals started comparing notes, they got away with it. (Some LSCs were fired for this reason.) Professionals should not need to be monitored as some of these LSCs have demonstrated is the case. Last year we learned that LSCs never received any training and as we talked with one another about the LSCs, we discovered just how poorly planned the creation of the LSC position had been.

Although HT Sanchez was informed about the horrific mess that was in place with the LSCs, once HT boarded the TUSD ship, he just ignored the problems. He was also informed that since the LSCs were being paid out of desegregation funding, they should be performing work which correlated to the USP. He (like always) did not listen to anyone. We learned about the desegregation funding correlation only through incidental channels and right before we were each interviewed by the consultants who were hired last year to determine what the hell the LSCs were doing on a day-to-day basis. We were basically instructed to lie to the consultants; which most of us did NOT do. (Maybe HT was blaming us for not lying to the consultants!) The consultants found that there was “great variation” in what the LSCs were doing across the functions they were performing or supposed to be performing and that, while the LSCs were supposed to be providing training in the discipline area, the problems within discipline had worsened. (Isn’t it interesting that it takes outside consultants to inform the District about what their staff members are doing!)

For those of you interested in reading the full report, you can find it at:

http://www.tusd.k12.az.us/contents/distinfo/deseg/Documents/1763FinalReport.pdf

Here are what we consider to be the most important points from the evaluation:

·       “As currently structured, the LSC role is not set up to be aligned district-wide; additionally, some aspects of this structure may hinder LSC success. The district should enact a comprehensive restructuring of the LSC role as laid out by these recommendations in order to realize the full potential of the role.

·       If the district decides to keep the LSC role and move forward with the changes in structure, central office leadership should make concerted efforts to communicate with principals in order to ensure understanding of the change.

·       The district should closely monitor the LSC role during the structural change and should create a communication channel for LSCs to report concerns or questions about their role to central office, if management is to be moved fully to the district level.”

None of the above recommendations were fulfilled, although we are sure that when HT goes whining to the Board, he will say that they did everything. From the perspective of principals, 1010ers, with HT at the helm, onceagain dropped the ball.

Richard Foster wrote a summary of how the LSC position would be modified:

http://www.tusd1.org/contents/govboard/packet08-25-15/8-25-15-BAI4 LSCRefocusingClimateAndCulture2015.pdf

http://www.tusd.k12.az.us/contents/distinfo/spotlight/082415lsc.asp

The consultants were strong-armed by the Sanchez Administration to report their findings along with the recommendation to allow the District to retain the LSCs based on TUSD’s commitment to provide specific direction to the LSCs and site administrators pertaining to their duties. The District also changed the LSC reporting responsibility from the site administrator to Richard Foster, INTERIM Assistant Superintendent so that he could “better” oversee the work of the LSCs. Richard Foster has never been a site administrator and hasn’t the slightest idea of what takes place at a school, at any level. His best and only visible skill is saying “yes” to HT Sanchez. Richard’s oversight of the LSCs has been a joke. He attempts to bluff his way through the meetings he has with the LSCs and throws the authority of the Court and Special Master into the mix to give him some level of authority. It has been sad to watch Richard pretend that he knows what he is doing, while he bluffs his way through one BS meeting after another. His appointment has caused a great deal of wasted money and time and has had NO positive outcomes.

It is standard practice for the lead consultant of any project procured by TUSD to present their work before the Governing Board. The exception has taken place only under the Sanchez regime. Richard Foster presented the consultant’s LSC study/evaluation to the Governing Board on August 25, 2015. It was an embarrassment, as you can see for yourselves:

http://www.tusd1.org/contents/govboard/gbvideo082515.html

And yet, HT is brash enough to stand in front of us and blame us for HIS mismanagement of the LSCs. We don’t buy it and we know no one else does or will. His ineptness has reached an all-time low! (For now.)

 

While on the Topic of Richard Foster, Let Us Share His Low-Down Maneuvers Involving his Nephew; a TUSD Student

Richard has a very naughty, defiant nephew who attends one of our TUSD middle schools. Brought on only by himself, the kid began a routine of violating classroom and school rules (GSRR violations). He was not singled out by teachers or the school administration. His behavior was just downright unacceptable. His father was called by the schools and asked to support the school’s intervention. This is when Richard Foster got involved, but not to support the school with his nephew but instead to plan how to intervene at the school level so that he could get the school to minimize any discipline. Jointly they decided to get Gloria Copeland involved. Gloria Copeland was asked to “intervene.”  At the bequest of an INTERIM Assistant Superintendent, Gloria Copeland gladly took on the administration with all-out vengeance, threatening them and accusing them of what she ALWAYS accuses everyone of; racism. She demanded that the school’s administration go through diversity training. The middle school administration received no support from central administration and so they backed-off.

Richard Foster’s nephew has learned a  corrupt lesson, which is that he can get away with just about anything and when consequences are threatened he and his advocate, Gloria Copeland, will just scream racism. She has done the same thing all over the District. Her conduct does not support equality and it truly goes against the desegregation court order. We do not understand why Richard Foster has been allowed to serve Gloria Copeland up as his nephew’s advocate (he is the one that connected his brother to Gloria Copeland). We do not understand why Gloria Copeland is allowed to reign terror at our schools without any attempt by HT Sanchez or the Governing Board to stop her. She interferes with the safe operation of a school and through her actions she interferes with educational process every time she shows up at a school.

When Gloria Copeland is at 1010 for any amount of time, she sits in Richard Fosters office, using his desk and phone, eating lunch in his office, calling meetings in his office, and, generally doing whatever she pleases. Why?

 

And speaking of the Desegregation Court Order, We are Appalled at the Lack of African American General Education Teachers, Exceptional Education Teachers, AP Teachers, GATE Teachers, Counselors, Site Administrators.

It is obvious to us that there has been little progress and perhaps even slippage in the hiring of African American professionals within TUSD. One of our goals in establishing the Whistleblower group has, of course been to bring public exposure to the many problems at TUSD. In order to have broad perspectives as we do our work, we have worked very hard to ensure that the group is racially, ethnically, culturally diverse, as well as by age, experience, etc. We have been conscious of this goal from the onset and we have been very successful as we have grown. As a group, we bring a variety of perspectives which we often share with one another. It has made our group stronger and more knowledgeable. We all agree that TUSD is void of any kind of commitment to diversity. The TUSD Governing Board and HT’s Leadership Team are clueless! Eugene Butler and Richard Foster are token appointments, who serve only their own interests and not those of students; including African American students. Every student should have the experience of having teachers from diverse racial/cultural groups. Few students in TUSD will experience teachers or site administrators who are African American.

Valuable dialogue about race, ethnicity, and culture are taboo during our leadership team meetings. At least, such discussions are not planned or facilitated. When the topic is broached, Auggie Romero professes to be the wiz-kid on the topics of race & culture, but his platform comes across as though he is reading out of a text book. There is no authenticity to it at all. His “know-it-all” attitude is offensive to everyone, including, Chican@s and Latin@s. Auggie Romero lost support from all of his Chican@ colleagues when he abandoned his commitment to the foundational principals of culturally relevant pedagogy. He is an opportunist and he sold out, much like he newly adopted mentor, HT.

HT Sanchez’ rhetoric depends on whether his audience is white or brown. He is “more” white when he is whites and he is more brown with browns. The terms convenience and exploitation apply.

 

And Speaking of Auggie Romero, Where the Hell is He When He Regularly Leaves the Pueblo High School Campus?


(Article continued below)

Auggie goes “MIA” more often than is acceptable for a high school principal. Monitors, assistant principals, counselors, teachers, and students wonder where he goes. It is not as though Pueblo can go on automatic pilot. No high school can. Pueblo has some particular challenges that must be met by a principal who is present and actually working. Is he consulting? Is he interviewing for other jobs across the country (California, New Mexico, etc.?) Abel Morado needs to keep better tabs on Auggie than what is currently the situation. Auggie is forever telling everyone about his connection to Adelita Grijalva but even she would not like the lack of attention her friend is paying to her alma mater.

 

And Speaking of High Schools, the Article on Santa Rita in Sunday’s Arizona Daily Star was Yet Another Exposé on HT Sanchez’ Incompetence

http://tucson.com/news/local/education/santa-rita-high-enrollment-down-percent-since—school/article_55ec762d-c440-5a77-bc27-85cc63e04824.html

We (teachers and parents) at Santa Rita know first hand that Santa Rita does not offer its students the comprehensive offerings provided at other TUSD high schools. We know that resources are stretched thinner than at other high schools. We know that HT Sanchez has promised us the moon and has NOT delivered even a grain of sand. For example, HT Sanchez’ promised collaboration with Pima Community College has fallen through the cracks. We know that HT Sanchez does not want the same reputation that Pedicone acquired during his tenure; “a school closing superintendent.” Sanchez says that he wants to build the District, even though his actions are all moving in the direction of destruction. We have news for HT. Denial does not build; it destroys. Currently Santa Rita has 489 students which is smaller than any middle schools except Dodge, however, Dodge has a waiting list and if it had more space it would grow considerably in population. Santa Rita has a lot of space and keeps declining in enrollment. The expense in running a high school goes far beyond schools with 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Secrist is the only middle school feeding into Santa Rita.

It is time to make some very difficult decisions which is something that this administration has avoided doing on all fronts. This is why public school systems have governing boards. We at Santa Rita are committed to the school and we love our students. We don’t want to see the school closed and yet, the signs of closure seem inevitable, since we know that the District just cannot continue sustaining a declining enrollment school that is costing more to run per student than any other school in the District.

 

And While on the Topic of Decisions, We Wonder What Lies HT Sanchez Will Fling at the Community During His State of the District Address. Will it be packed with lies as the one was last year?

Wouldn’t it be great and honest if HT Sanchez stood up before the public and told the truth, admitting his failures, one at a time? He could pretend he is at confession and start the season of lent off to a good start; giving up lying.

Well. We can dream!

Let us point out just a few his of his BIG failures…

…so much for transparency…

HT Sanchez has done more to conceal information than any known superintendent.  He contorts and distorts the facts; he buries the facts; he omits information; he deflects from the topic at hand, he changes his story several times and he lies. He just lies. He lies to the body that is supposed to hold him accountable and even if they know he is lying, those who make up the majority act like the spouse that is being cheated on and knows that they are being cheated on, simply looking the other way. They enable the liar.

…there is no such thing as an independent auditor or compliance officer…

HT came into the District cutting procurement deals with a Texan connection. He basically handed over just slightly under a one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) contract to someone he had named as a reference in his application for superintendent. Prior to doing this he convinced the Board to increase the threshold to $100,000 for contracts that require Board approval. What an outrageous coincidence. He also started picking away at the Audit Committee and drove members out by convincing the Board (and when we say “Board” we mean the majority of the Board) that only TUSD residents should serve on the Audit Committee. The real experts on the Committee were squeezed out. He also succeeded in convincing the Board to change the composition of the Board and loaded it with his staff and his loudest cheerleader on the Board (Grijalva). Through his newly proposed and adopted policies, HT created an Audit Committee which had obvious conflicts such as being married to a TUSD employee or as allowing for a Board member (Grijalva) to have a double vote on financial matters. He very reluctantly has attempted to clean is own mess up. But the mess cannot be cleaned up. There is no credibility at this point. Ricky Hernandez remain on the Committee even though he voted on a policy that allows him to stay on the committee despite the fact that his wife is employed by TUSD. His credibility is being shattered with each vote he takes. 

Who, with any level of integrity and expertise, would apply to be the District’s independent financial auditor?  The answer is in the fact that the position has remained vacant for months and months without being filled. If it is filled during HT’s tenure, we can bet that the selectee will not be worthy of the title.  

http://www.tusd.k12.az.us/contents/news/press1415/04-17-15a.html

Where do employees go if they believe that their employment rights have been violated? The short answer is: there is no place for employees to go to report illegal acts within TUSD and TEA has totally deserted the few members it has left when contract violations are obvious.  There is an EEO person who works for the HR Director, which means that when an employee complains to this person, it may be about the work performed by HR Director. Let’s say, for example that someone believes that they were not selected for a position for illegal reasons. The HR Director essentially signs off on all hires so the complaint made to the subordinate EEP person would be about the HR Director’s decision. It is really pretty corrupt.

… the Desegregation Court Order is nothing more than a shell game for HT

HT’s BIG lie to the community is now well known. He lied and lied and lied to school communities about the magnet school and the requirements which have been required under the court order for the schools for a period of, now, three years. He was caught in the lie and he is now vowing to go to court and change the requirements so that magnet schools not only remain segregated but become MORE segregated. What a progressive guy this Board majority put in place! They are making history in resisting what was put in place by Brown v Board of Education. TUSD’s Board majority is going to have to argue that separate but equal is OK for TUSD, even though TUSD is not near to even having separate but equal within TUSD. Their legal argument will have to be “Separate and Unequal?”  They now have a law firm in Maricopa County that will have to take on this backward fight for them (Adelita, Krystal and Cam).  Great campaign slogans for Foster and Juarez; don’t you think?

… no follow-up on Efficiency Audit

Anyone who has read the Efficiency Audit can determine that most of its recommendations have been ignored.

http://www.tusd1.org/contents/Documents/efficiencyaudit14.pdf

…no follow-up on Curriculum Audit

Anyone who has read the Efficiency Audit can determine that most of its recommendations have been ignored.

http://tusd1.org/contents/Documents/curriculumaudit14.pdf

 

Thank You!

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!

 

 



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3 comments on “Whistleblowers: Exposing HT’s lies, Pueblo Principal’s Perpetual Absence and more
  1. As a former learning supports coordinator in tusd I take great offense to the portrait of lscs painted by the whistleblowers in this letter. Many of us worked very hard in our jobs and were valued by our principals. However, yes, there were problems. Many principals never gave lscs a chance and did everything they could to run them out of their schools year after year. As the years passed lscs were hired that were not as dedicated or talented as the ones who were hired in the first year or two. Lscs who were dead weight were allowed to linger around. When Richard Foster took over the lscs it became worse. He never took the time to try to understand what we did. Instead we wasted our time at monthly meetings where he regurgitated the same information through condescending power points. Yes, we all did different jobs at our schools, but the fact is that different schools have different needs. Discipline did not increase because of the lscs. It increased because year after year Ht’s posse wouldn’t allow us to faithfully implement the Student Rights and Responsibilties Handbook so we were forced to overlook behaviors that our principals should have been able to suspend for. In my last year in TUSD our principals even had to call their directors for permission to call the police no matter what the issue, even in cases of assault. How can you blame the lscs for that? I saw the writing on the wall and left a job and principal that I loved. I was fortunate that I worked at a school where my position was valued.

What do you think?

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