To: The Tucson Community- 28th Open Letter
From: Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, Retired Administrators and Teachers, Parents, Grandparents- Growing with Each and Every Letter
Subject: End of School Year; Failure or Cheating in Implementing USP Discipline Requirements; and Kristel Foster Once Again Whining Over Much Deserved Criticism
End of 2015-16 School Year
The end of the school year always brings mixed emotions. For those of us who are site administrators, both graduation and promotions result in the recognition that we will not be seeing many of the youth who we have served over several years, while at the same time feeling a sense of accomplishment from their individual successes. As parents, we experience this time as another point of transition in raising our children.
As our group reflected on the 2015-16 school year, most of us reported that this has been the most difficult year in our experience. We shared our ideas on what had created the situation and we unanimously agreed that, as principals and teachers, we felt as though we had continuously had the rug pulled from under us by HT Sanchez and his leadership team- with the Board majority sitting back and doing nothing. Teachers reported that they were forced to attend training that was totally irrelevant to their classroom needs. 1010’s flip-flopping on discipline has caused severe problems for schools and individual classrooms. Parents in our group said that both they and their children were confused about the Student Rules and Regulations Guidelines and the erratic changes that have taken place in managing discipline.
During the school year we witnessed explosive discipline situations at Palo Verde, Secrist, and Pueblo but most, if not all schools, were struggling with the double-talk that HT and his team have given us on how to handle discipline. We all have noticed that the directives from 1010 having to do with discipline were usually not in writing but rather issued in person or by phone.
Those of us at Magnet school started off the year with piles of lies thrown at us. Thankfully, those lies were exposed to the public but those within TUSD remain confused and paralyzed by the lack of direction in this area. Confusion has become a constant in TUSD communication.
We have watched many of our peers- site administrators and teachers- leave TUSD due to lack of support, lacking or confusing communication, lack of leadership at the top, and all the problems that come from each of these problems.
HT Sanchez: Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater. Liar Liar Pants on Fire.
As anyone who follows TUSD knows, HT Sanchez is a master at the blame game. It takes the best of liars to deflect as much as he does. As a pathological liar, HT, is much like a used car salesman and is able to talk most people into believing his lies. But those who he has baffled should take a good hard look at any of the important EXPECTED outcomes which have NOT taken place while HT has been at the TUSD helm. Achievement has NOT improved! Student enrollment has NOT improved! (More on this below.) Communication has NOT improved. TUSD’s image has plummeted even lower. The Board is MORE split than ever and HT’s contempt for the two Board Members who are not part of the majority drips off his chin as he salivates whenever he speaks about them or to them. The turnover rate for administrators is the highest it has ever been. Teacher dissatisfaction is at its highest (with the lowest membership in the teacher’s union ever).
Retaliation has become overt at all levels. There have been figurative beheadings for any who have dared to speak out. As a result, a culture of fear has spread throughout the District.
Many teachers are fleeing due to lacking support from 1010. HT has pulled as much money together as possible to try to placate teachers but while we are back at our schools, we know that the few dollars thrown our way do not make-up for the lack of supplies, materials and support. Most of all, if we cannot speak out, all the money that HT may throw our way is not worth giving up the freedom to express ourselves.
Accountably at all levels of the organization is at ground zero, especially in the budget area. Without visible accomplishments in the areas listed above, we question why so many elected officials are enchanted with HT. It boils down to his rhetoric. HT has sold more hypothetical lemons to people than all of the used car lots in Arizona.
His first year with TUSD, he spent much of his time blaming John Pedicone for anything that HT found difficult to manage so that he could create a two year CYA buffer. At the same time, into his second month on the job, he began blaming the desegregation court order, which he was hired to implement. What is obvious is that when HT is in over his head, he deflects and finds fault anywhere and everywhere, except where it belongs, which is with him. His strategy is always to deflect and place the blame away from his incompetency. He did not support the integration requirements and said that he would fight them. On this, he has kept his word. He said he disagreed with many sections of the court order and up to the present, he has fought the court and plaintiffs with vengeance. The court filings from TUSD read like an angry, resentful and resistant entity combatting desegregation with the Court, the Ninth Circuit, the Special Master and the Plaintiffs. HT has burned every bridge possible and should not be trusted by any of those involved in the case. They know this. What is clear is that HT’s tactics have hurt those who he should be serving; TUSD students.
He blamed the administrators he inherited and could not handle any disagreement (even when spoken with respect). He pushed, prodded, demoted and otherwise got rid of everyone at the top level, except those he had personally brought in from Texas, along with good old sold-soul Abel Morado, who has become his most loyal team leader-hatchet man puppet. Morado replaced Adrian Vega, HT’s closest ally at the time he became Superintendent. He lost both of his Texan good old boys (Adrian Vega and Damian Jackson) because, even they, could not stand the lunacy of HT’s lacking leadership and absence of a integrity. He punished, isolated and got rid of anyone who disagreed with him. HT Sanchez is ego driven and he cares only about himself. (According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.)
HT Sanchez has had a complete turnover in his internal and external lead-legal counsel. He is on his third external legal firm who works on the desegregation case since he became Supt. & he is on his second internal chief legal counsel. If this does not raise screaming red flags, nothing will! His disregard for the law and those who attempt to advise him on the law is as obvious as his short-Napoleon-like stature.
He made sure that any financial oversight was cut off at the knees by convincing his Board majority to change the charter and policies pertaining to the Finance Audit Committee.
Those who make up the Board majority have done nothing to confront the many problems which HT has created or made worse. HT and his Board majority vehemently attack anyone who attempts to expose the truth. It is a pattern that has become more and more obvious. The attacks are nasty and personal in nature and seldom actually deal with the facts themselves.
Dishonesty and ego usually catch up with the culprit sooner or later, which takes us to the next topic on what is happening with student discipline in TUSD.
(Article continued below)
Failure or Cheating in Implementing USP Discipline Requirements
Finally, it seems that HT’s twisted ways may have caught up with him. You see, HT and many of his 1010 “yes”-administrators have been caught doing some very suspicious things with student discipline. Basically, discipline data is being under-reported, not reported and/or the discipline data is being cooked on a high boil. This is all in HT’s pursuit to get rid of the “damned” desegregation court order. HT has stripped away the principal’s authority to discipline students. Principals are now forced to “check” in with 1010 administration before they follow-through on higher level discipline matters and 1010 calls the shots on what discipline to administer and what infraction code should be use; if any at all. The principal’s recommendation and particular circumstances do not matter to those whose goal it is to fool the US Federal Court, the Special Master and the Plaintiffs.
A weapons violation was dealt with by the 1010 administration by directing the site administrator to take playground privileges away from the weapon carrier for three days. 1010 would allow for nothing more. Teachers at the school were absolutely horrified with the lack of seriousness in dealing with a student’s weapon possession violation. Word spread very quickly on this incident, which showed total disregard for the Unitary Status Plan, TUSD’s STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Guidelines and State law. The lack of action on behalf of 1010 administrators, under the direction of HT Sanchez, is unconscionable. It creates an unsafe school environment. It minimizes principals to nothing more than followers. Our leadership role has been torn from us as principals and as teachers, we feel completely abandoned. TUSD may profess that it is practicing PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports) and Restorative Discipline, but we (both principals and teachers) know that training has been minimal and inconsistent in both discipline strategies.
Overall discipline infractions have not improved, decreased or disappeared but it sure looks like it on paper. As principals, we are consistently told to decrease the consequences for serious infractions at our schools. This is particularly true if a student is Hispanic or African American.
TUSD may be re-coding, re-naming (which is misnaming), and ignoring discipline infractions or doing other unethical things to show decreases in the number of disciplinary actions taken (especially if they involve Hispanic or African American students) but these actions do not make the real problems go away. This central administration MISMANAGEMENT of discipline sends a message to students that they can get away with just about anything. We (principals and teachers) are left to “manage” a discipline system that is made up on the spot as each incident is called into 1010 . The current discipline “policies” in TUSD are chaotic. There is no consistency.
Of course, we know that the Court, the Special Master and the Plaintiffs do not know the degree of corruption that is in place in the implementation of discipline policy so that the number of discipline violations for Hispanic and African American students are decreased. HT Sanchez will do what he has to get out of the Court Order.
Most school administrators have been directed to bring down their numbers, and if their numbers are particularly high for Latino and African American students, they are told the numbers MUST come down. This is nothing but playing tricks with numbers which ends up hurting students because there is no fairness or equity in HT’s racist scheme. HT is jeopardizing the safety of students, teachers, support staff and administrators so that he can take claim for getting out of the court order, which he has promised his Board majority he would do. Meanwhile, parents know when their schools have turned into chaotic environments and many will leave or have already left TUSD. HT’s trickery is actually a high level form of cheating. It is racist. Period. It is not what the Court or Plaintiffs intended. Not at all. The following news report is alarming on this issue. Valerie Cavazos, a KGUN9 New Reporter, has shown her skills as an investigative reporter and we are thrilled that she has exposed part of the story. There is much, much more and we hope that she will keep exposing the truth.
Several of us within our group have also heard that part of HT’s objective in moving to in-school-suspensions and DAEPDisciplinary Alternative Education Programs) is one of greed. HT does not want to lose any state reimbursement funding. When students are suspended and not in school, the District loses the daily attendance reimbursement (revenue) for that student. We believe that this is true, given HT’s fixation in bringing dollars into the District so that he can do whatever he wants with as many dollars as possible. It fits nicely into the scheme of fooling the Court, the Special Master and the Plaintiffs. It is as corrupt as it can get.
The person overseeing the in-house-suspension program at Secrist literally walked out of the job due to the way that the program was being used (or rather, misused). Students with serious and multiple infractions were recycled through in-house suspension several times. The level of discipline did not escalate along with level or number of violations and students at Secrist learned that no matter what they did, the consequences were all the same.
Most in-house suspension personal are not highly qualified teachers (pertaining to their teaching certification). TUSD implemented DAEP without fully staffing it. If HT (or his Board majority) cared about quality and success, they would not put such shoddy programs in place.
The discipline situation is only one of several areas where HT’s corrupt leanings have manifested. He has been doing strange and inexplicable things with the budget since he arrived. The fact that the District has changed budget tracking systems has provided him the opportunity to play with money without accounting for it, since there is no easy way to compare the year prior to the current year of the system change. All he has to do is say, “We changed the budget code based on the new system,” or something along the same lame excuse. He got rid of the most expert Audit Committee Members by having his Board majority change the policy on what qualifications are required to serve on the Committee. Because of his reputation as an unethical superintendent anyone with any credibility in the area of finance compliance has not applied for the Finance Auditor position. The position has remained open month after month after month.
HT directed magnet principals to lie about the USP to their school communities. Some have fessed up to this fact. He pressured the magnet school director to leave the District by isolating her and stripping her of all authority. This month he promoted a principal to an assistant superintendent over secondary schools. The principal is known to have become a solid devotee of HT’s with a less than admirable reputation at his school. Teachers left their positions mid-year because they felt it was impossible to work with a man who is known as “the Nazi” by those who work at the school. Others who applied for the position were much more qualified but HT disregards substantive qualifications and looks only to whether the person will serve HIM, unconditionally. Matt Munger fits the bill! TUSD administrators recognize that there is rampant favoritism in HT Sanchez’ hiring decisions. It is quite clear that the best way to get promoted in TUSD is to sell your soul to HT.
Kristel Foster Once Again Whining Over Much Deserved Criticism
In the midst of all of the problems, which are becoming more and more public, Kristel Foster has gone on another whining tirade, complaining to her server list “supporters” that..’ there are people on the other side, organized and ready to vote her out!’ “Wah, wah, wah!” She does not understand that many of us who believed her the first time she ran and was elected, now clearly understand that she broke most, if not all, of her campaign promises. She has been nothing but an echo vote for HT Sanchez and Adelita Grijalva. While she has been pretty silent about the discipline fiasco, she will probably end up defending Sanchez as she has on every other issue that has become controversial. She will end up blaming it on the Court and the players in the desegregation case, just as Sanchez directs. She has served only three people: HT Sanchez (remember the 25% raise); Adelita Grijalva; and herself. She turned her back on the issues that she claimed she was the most passionate about. She is NOT a classroom teacher, although that is what she implies in her list of reasons to vote for her. She is a language acquisition specialist at Sunnyside Public School System, which means that she provides resource support to real classroom teachers. She often leaves her tax paid job to do TUSD business and everyone knows it. She adjusts her work schedule to accommodate TUSD events of which we have a long list. It is just more of the dishonesty that has become so prevalent within TUSD.
She says not to take it for granted that she will be re-elected. We don’t take anything for granted and most of us are doing everything we can to make sure that she will NOT be re-elected and the feeling is the same about Cam Juarez. These are two non-leaders who have bowed to Sanchez’ every whim. They are responsible for the horrible mess that has been created by a rookie superintendent who has appointed numerous incompetent administrators based on their support of him. Cronyism is very much a part of the TUSD culture thanks to HT Sanchez and his enablers (Kristel Foster, Cam Juarez and Adelita Grijalva). Kristel and Cam Juarez have watched as he has made one stupid mistake after another and then they each take turns during Board meetings blustering over his greatness. They act like mindless zombies. It is truly a carnival show like no other in Tucson.
In her recent communication to her “supporters” Kristel spouted off the following, “Just like many of you were outraged enough to get involved, volunteer and donate in 2012 to vote us in, there are an equal amount of people, on the other side, organized and ready in 2016 to vote us out.” We’re already seeing the sensational news stories and headlines. Drumming up bad news about TUSD is their strategy to convince voters to do an about-face and start all over again. There have been NO sensational news stories. It is just the truth coming out. No one is drumming up bad news about TUSD. HT Sanchez and his loyalists create the news, which he and his three minions try to keep it buried. The “other side” are administrators, teachers, parents and community members, such as ourselves, who know that TUSD is headed toward total disaster unless WE do something about it. The TUSD Board make-up must change. Cam Juarez and Kristel Foster do not deserve a second term. They each have neglected their prime duties as Board Members, as policy makers (not policy rubber stampers) and to direct and supervise the superintendent. They do not direct HT Sanchez. They take his direction and they absolutely do not supervise or evaluate him on any performance measures of any meaning. It is Kristel clear!
Please share our letters with your colleagues, family, friends, neighbors, etc. and spread the word about how important the 2016 TUSD Governing Board election is to our community. The current Board majority is an HT Sanchez Rubber-stamp and must be changed.
All of our letters may be found at: http://threesonorans.com/tusd-whistleblower-archives/
We continue to be grateful to Three Sonorans for publishing every single one of our letters. We appreciate that the Arizona Daily Independent publishes many of our letters and references them within their own posts, from time to time. Additionally, we want to acknowledge an organization that is also working very hard to expose the facts about TUSD: TUSDKidsFirst, which also has made reference to our letters, which we appreciate. Check the organization out at: http://tusdkidsfirst.org/
Also published on Medium.