9 comments on “Next TUSD board meeting: The $29.6 million in unspent Prop 301 monies
  1. Amazing! TUSD has $21.8 million in 301 Teacher Performance money. If every single TUSD teacher got 100% of the $3,000 maximum set by Sanchez & his 3 henchmen on the Board, it would cost only TUSD $7.5 million.

    Every teacher won’t get the full $3,000 because performance pay depends upon the teacher’s students’ performance, and the teacher’s performance evaluation. Ms. Foster and company just voted to raise the cut off scores for teachers’ performance evaluations. It’s easy to conclude that TUSD won’t pay out even a third of the $21.8 million. ($7.3 million)

    Sanchez is bragging about doubling teacher performance pay and Foster is claiming teachers get their $3,000 by just attending PLC meetings.

    What a racket! Once again teachers lose and TUSD continues to withhold many millions of dollars in teachers’ performance pay.

    • Dont forget the $1500 from Gov Janet we were each supposed to get as a complete bonus back around 2002. TUSD was the only district in the state to keep our bonus. They outright stole it from us teachers and got away with it. I don’t know who was on the board then. For some reason, they don’t like us. So that’s why so many left. Good for them!

  2. I agree Ms. Fox! I am angry. Performance pay is attached to our evaluation. Last year, the board didn’t release the “formula,” until a WEEK before evaluations were due by consensus. Site admin couldn’t answer teacher questions all year, and it wasn’t their fault. Site admin had to scramble to get all evaluations completed in a week! How was that fair to site admin or teachers? With the formula change last year, less 301 monies paid out. New formula this year? Even less paid out. Furious! District hasn’t been paying out the 301 monies to teachers entitled to it, that have left the district. Another reason the surplus keeps growing!

  3. Does anyone know why TUSD is not paying out the 301 money? I thought it couldn’t be used for anything but teacher pay, so what possible reason does the district have for hoarding it?

    • Good question! They seem to hate teachers. Nothing else makes sense. And they kept the $1500 bonus Gov Janet tried to give us back in about 2002. Am I the only person who remembers that or is angry about it? ??

    • I found out the answer to my question.

      Tim Steller: TUSD teachers’ money balanced district’s books

      Tim Steller Arizona Daily Star Updated 39 min ago
      TUSD’s chief financial officer dropped what felt like a bomb at Tuesday night’s meeting.

      The board was discussing the district’s financial situation and the possibility of moving overcrowded Dietz K-8 school to the closed Carson Middle School building.

      Board member Michael Hicks was driving some other board members crazy with his plodding questioning of CFO Karla Soto when she answered one of his questions this way:

      “We had audit findings from Prop. 301 monies that the district was not spending those through the course of the year. So those funds were being used to balance the budget at the end of the year.”

      Let’s unpack that. Prop. 301, in case you don’t remember, was a referendum Arizona voters passed in 2000 that raised the state sales tax by 6/10 of a cent for 20 years.

      Of the resulting money, 15 percent goes to universities and community colleges, and 85 percent goes to K-12 education. And of the money that goes to K-12, 20 percent is for the base salaries of certified employees, 40 percent is for “pay-for-performance” incentives, and the other 40 percent is for goals determined at school sites.

      In other words, this is an important source of money for teachers, who have been leaving TUSD and other districts in droves.

      But over the last four or five years, as Soto explained in presentations made in July and on Tuesday, TUSD has allowed Prop. 301 pay-for-performance money to accumulate in its accounts. As of July, that amount added up to about $18 million.

      It’s not unusual for there to be some carryover — it’s impossible for a district to calculate exactly how much it can distribute to teachers and maintain year-to-year. But $18 million is a lot of money — money teachers could have used.

      Instead, the district used it to ensure it had positive balances. That’s not right.

      Arizona Department of Education spokesman Charles Tack was able to explain to me how the money could be useful to keep a district on firm financial footing.

      “They can only issue checks through the county treasurer is if the balance is positive,” he said. A balance of Prop. 301 money, he added, “can help them keep their accounts positive if they have a deficit somewhere else.

      That seems to be what happened in TUSD: Using a large amount of carried-over money for teachers to ensure there were no deficits.

      I was able to ask Soto about this Thursday afternoon, and she explained that the last time Prop. 301 money was used to balance deficits in the maintenance and operations budget was in the 2014-2015 school year. Since then, she and others have been trying to create realistic projections of how much Prop. 301 will generate before it sunsets in 2020.

      “We went back and revisited the salary structure. For us to determine how much teachers are due out of Prop. 301, we needed to figure out a dollar figure per employee,” she said.

      “Last year, 2015-2016, was the first year when we identified the dollar amount per employee.”

      So they did that, and they’ve doubled the amount payable to teachers from the pay-for-performance category, to $3,000 each.

      That’s a good thing. But it’s also a little late. We’ve lost many teachers, to resignations and retirement, who either deserved a share of that money or might have stayed if it could have boosted their income.

      Politically speaking, it’s a questionable thing. The same board members who are now responsible for correcting the problem should also be held responsible for allowing the problem to gather over a period of years, although it started in the last year of former Superintendent John Pedicone’s tenure.

      I was unable to reach incumbents Cam Juarez and Kristel Foster, who are running for re-election, but Mark Stegeman, who is also running, said of the year-to-year balances, “Most of it happened under the current administration. It really took off under (current superintendent) HT Sanchez. Whatever part of it is my responsibility, I’m happy to own it.”

  4. Change the Board! Vote out Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez. They have demonstrated that they are unworthy to sit on that board. They do not appear to care about us…..only HT and TEA in that order! I am dropping my membership to TEA after this year.

    TSON, can you post information on other options for teachers that want to belong to a “real” union who will fight for us?

    • Good question, I have been wondering that myself. How do we start a “no confidence” vote for TEA? The picture of Freed, sitting next to Dr. Sanchez at the governing board forum, says everything about TEA. I love how the TEA reps brought up the close relationship TEA has with the current 1010 administration, as a positive point at the beginning of the year meeting. “Remember the days when TEA supporters, in red shirts, would show up at board meetings? Gone are those days, we are working closely with 1010 administration now. To your benefit.” I long for those red shirt days. When TEA actually supported teachers!

  5. Unless we vote out Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez, TEA leadership will end up with a “cushy” administrative job under HT.

    Change the Board……vote out Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez!

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