Whistleblowers: Ochoa, Pueblo, Prop 301, anti-MALDEF Kristel, and Audits

We grant our permission to publish this letter and to distribute it widely.

Open 48th Letter

From:  Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, Retired Administrators and Parents, Grandparents

Topics:

·Oh, Oh, Oh Ochoa! Ouch!

·Balancing the TUSD Books Off the Backs of Teachers

·Audit Committee- Obvious Conflict by the Name of Ricky D. Hernandez

·Mean Girl Strikes Again- Votes Against those who Defend the Rights of Latino Students

·Pueblo High School Vandalism

Many from our continuously growing group met on Tuesday night, January 17th , to watch the Board meeting. Some of the lowest of low-lights from the meeting are covered below.

Oh, Oh, Oh Ochoa! Ouch!

Some of us have extremely strong ties to Ochoa. Were it not for this fact maybe the Ochoa circus during Tuesday’s Board Meeting would not have been as obvious. Caesar Aguirre has been designated circus ring master and on Tuesday night he also performed some of his best snake-oil tricks as he stood before the Board and told one lie after another during the call to the audience. Kristel Foster was taken in by Aguirre’s hocus-pocus and applauded intermittingly as his lies rolled out. There is not supposed to be comment or “exchange” between the Board and speakers during call to the audience but Kristel takes “personal political privilege” whenever she damn pleases.  Her ridiculous behavior is embarrassing. Aguirre claimed that things have never been better for Ochoa as they have been over the last three years (in other words under his buddy HT Sanchez’ reign). He said that there has never been as much instructional rigor and that it is the best school in the area. Really? Aguirre used his lies as rationale for the Board to continue to fund Ochoa, we are guessing- as if it had never lost its magnet status.

Here are some facts, vs. the lies he presented:

Ochoa recently lost its magnet status because it failed to meet the requirements under the desegregation court order. Those of us at magnet schools know exactly what was required in order for us to maintain our school’s magnet status. We may not have been told much else but we were informed of what was required.

During the last three years Ochoa has had four principals. This reveals lack of stability and consistency at the school. It also exposes the negligence of Sanchez and the former Board majority to do what was needed to have Ochoa meet the requirements to integrate the school and improve academic achievement.

Three years ago an experienced principal was appointed as Ochoa’s site administrator (2014-15). She immediately set out to improve instruction and achievement. Her focus was in promoting instructional rigor in every classroom. She realized that in order to make the needed improvements for Ochoa students, she would have to make several immediate changes. She was stopped from making the changes. Instead of using her expertise to bring reform to Ochoa, she was pressured out of her position by Caeser Aguirre and Brian Flagg (and those who dutifully follow them) because she was making “too many changes” and not consulting with them beforehand. Aguirre and Flagg lobbied to get rid of her and used defaming strategies to convince Sanchez, Grijalva, Foster and Juarez that the appointed instructional leader had to be moved from Ochoa. She was transferred out. This was an enormous mistake. It confused and saddened many at Ochoa and resulted in the loss of good teachers who would have otherwise remained. (The teacher turn-over and vacancy rate has been horrible at Ochoa.)

The experienced principal understood her role as an instructional leader but apparently Sanchez did not. Flagg and Aguirre not only did not understand it, they obstructed it. She was happy to leave an environment which has been taken over by a local political activist/hack who runs a homeless shelter and soup kitchen (Flagg) (the work is honorable work but it is not the likes of running a public school). Flagg’s front-man, Aguirre, is one of his employees. Aguirre also is a shelter occupant, who has one child attending Ochoa. He is indebted to Flagg and pays his debt in political installments.

Following the departure of the experienced principal, an INexperienced principal was appointed to Ochoa by HT. Flagg and Aguirre were involved in the selection process and fully supported the appointment.  The selectee’s lack of experience and missing focus on the job set Ochoa even further back as a magnet school. He lasted all of one single school year because he got himself into very, very, very hot personal water that involved a subordinate and he wound up drowning his professional status. The man caused incredible personal pain to a lot of people. Due to the nature of the hot water that was brought to a boil by this very green administrator, Ochoa became consumed by gossip to the point of non-functionality. This bad-hire-inexperienced principal caused a great deal of upheaval. He was so busy with “his” stuff that he had no time or expertise to supervise and improve instruction. Rigor was not on his “to do” list and instruction at Ochoa was absent any leadership. Because of the trouble that he was engaged in, he saw the writing on the wall and escaped to Sahuarita School District during the summer of 2016. TUSD gave him a glowing reference. (In other words, TUSD lied.)

Since the beginning of this school year Ochoa has had two interim principals. We guess HT does not believe that Ochoa deserves a permanent principal or any type of consistent instructional leadership. Remember that it was Flagg and Aguirre who were successful in getting rid of the experienced principal and their push to appoint an INexperienced principal is what has driven Ochoa backwards instead of forward.

Morale at the school, as anyone reading this can imagine, is not positive. The current interim principal is keeping the boat afloat but leadership at the school has obviously been unsettled. Many teachers have left during the last three years. Teachers should not be placed in the position of feeling that they must take cues (orders) from Aguirre or Flagg, yet this is exactly what has happened. Last year the principal mandated that teachers have parents sign petitions during parent conferences (having to do with the desegregation case). He told some teachers that it was because Aguirre/Flagg wanted them signed and that Sanchez approved it. Days after this happened teachers were told not to discuss the petitions with anyone.

The current interim principal is the daughter of Mary Bell McCorkle who endorsed Cam Juarez and Krystal Foster to get reseated on the Board. She was one of Cam’s campaign whisperers. Cam’s ties to Flagg and Aguirre run decades deep. Dan Eckstrom and Raul Grijalva have strong interchangeable quid pro qua relationships with Flagg. They need campaign workers; Flagg delivers from his roster of people he has helped through his shelter and soup kitchen. Flagg needs political clout; Eckstrom or Grijalva deliver. The McCorkle daughter is much more than the interim principal at Ochoa, she is part of political exchange club. She recognizes the sorry state she found Ochoa and she will do as much as she can to alleviate the Ochoa crisis but she will never expose the full facts of the situation. She understands that her role is more political than serving as interim principal.  Lucky for us Cam lost his bid for re-election, however, the strings that tie the corrupt loyalties in TUSD are all in place. Indeed, it is corruption because the academic well-being of Ochoa students is not issue, it is the political well-being of Sanchez, Grijalva, Foster, Juarez, and Flagg/Aguirre.

Have any of you taken a look at the Ochoa achievement scores? Achievement levels are  pretty abysmal and not a reflection of instructional rigor. If you have not seen the scores and you are interested see:

http://www.publicrecord.report/2016/09/2016-azmerit-tusd-ochoa-elementary-school/

How does Aguirre get off gleefully reporting that there is instructional rigor taking place at Ochoa? (Oh, we should mention that he is also an anti-achievement testing. While there is currently too much testing, most credible educators know that there must be some testing for purposes of instructional planning and accountability. Most parents want to know how their child is performing academically. Without normed academic assessments none of this is in place.)  Aguirre probably does not know what he does not know or he is under the spell of his own snake oil (and HTs). Whatever the case, his statements to the Board were wholly false. Aguirre does not think outside of his closed-off mind. How can he possibly brag about instructional rigor at Ochoa when there is evidence that refutes this? So that we were not basing our information on a single year of achievement scores, we even looked at achievement scores from previous years and the comparison shows achievement actually dropping at Ochoa; NOT improving.  Aguirre is hurting the very children he is allegedly advocating for at Ochoa. He is all about his own “activist” stardom.

Casa Maria, the shelter and soup kitchen that employs him is part of the Catholic Worker Community. It’s stated mission is “…to practice daily the love and compassion of Jesus and to implement the teachings of his Gospel and the social doctrine of our church. The Sermon on the Mount and the call to solidarity with the poor are the heart of these teachings.”  Maybe Aguirre should review his Catholic teachings enough to recall that lying is not part of the doctrine and that his hate for “gavachos” or “gringos” does not serve the Latino community. Where does hate fit into love and compassion? His hypocrisy is a match to Sanchez’.

Instructional rigor is defined by educator Barbara R. Blackburn as “…creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels, each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels, and each student demonstrates learning at high levels.” Instructional rigor is NOT taking place at Ochoa.  It is terrible that a so called advocate would claim that it is.  

Our entire group is distressed by the recent stripping of magnet status from six of our precious magnet schools. We hold the current administration and the former Board majority responsible for this catastrophe and for Ochoa, we consider Flagg and Aguirre key contributors to the problem. Those of us who are more intimately involved with Ochoa realize that the loss of its magnet status is sadly justified. Aguirre, Flagg and Sanchez publically stated their opposition to integration to the Ochoa community. The concept of integration was abandoned by these individuals along with their 2015-16  rookie principal. It is not surprising to anyone familiar with Ochoa that the requirement was not met. But Ochoa also failed in the area of academic achievement. Aguirre seems to blame the Court and Special Master for the loss of Ochoa’s magnet status but the deficiencies at Ochoa point to Sanchez, Grijalva, Foster, Juarez, Flagg and his side-kick, Aguirre.

Aguirre recently shared that Sanchez has promised him that he will deliver desegregation funding to Ochoa, regardless of what it takes. Aguirre suggested that Sanchez has a scheme in progress to accomplish this. During the Board meeting Grijalva stated that she wants all of the six schools which have lost their magnet status to continue with the programs (and we guess with required funding). What does this mean exactly? Does this mean that the school district can historically neglect half a dozen schools but carry on as though nothing has happened or  does it mean that she (and her Bobbsey twin- Foster) are simply going to throw out political platitudes to make each of the school communities involved believe that they care, when, by evidence they DO NOT.


(Article continued below)

The Gross MISmanagement of 301 funding by HT Sanchez and His Crew

The MISmanagement of 301 money by HT Sanchez and the former Board majority exposes the financial instability of TUSD and affirms the information that Yousef Awwad provided to the Board just prior to his departure. Awwad must have figured out that he was working for a shady crook and decided to sever any association with HT Sanchez as soon as he could. (At the time, HT’s response was to defame Awwad by spreading malicious information about him. HT will stoop to the lowest snake level to try to assassinate anyone’s character who disagrees with him. ) More recently HT has again resurrected John Pedicone’ name and reputation. HT said that Pedicone set up the 301 funding system and that all he- HT- was doing was following what had been in place. This is hypocritical rational since HT has had no problem in demolishing other things that John Pedicone had put in place. After four morbid years of HT Sanchez, isn’t it time for him to man-up and own his sh _ _.   Kristel Foster not only supports Sanchez in his MISmanagement of 301 monies but at the Board meeting of January 17th, she asked a rehearsed question of one of the accountants from Heinfeld Meech who were there to present on the District’s 2015-16 financial statement. She asked one of the accountants to basically bottom-line his expert opinion on the use of 301 funding. The accountant gave his rehearsed response and basically said that all was kosher with the 301 fund.

Both accountants who addressed the Board were remarkably arrogant. Soto, and perhaps Sanchez, had told them to prepare for questions on the 301 funding and the responses were cold, calculated, and rehearsed. Yet, what is confirmed and shown in the accounting report is that TUSD stockpiled nearly 21 million dollars in its classroom site fund, which comes from Prop 301 dollars. The accountants declared, as did the Pima County Treasurer that TUSD has been borrowing the money to pay negative cash balances.  And as rehearsed, the accountants said that all of this is legal. Immorality is not always illegal. Immoral acts often lead to illegal acts. We wonder how many illegal acts have already taken place under the current administration and blessed by Kristel Foster, Adelita Grijalva and – thank goodness he is gone- Cam Juarez

After Awwad gave his assessment about the District’s financial health, Karla Soto, HT Sanchez, and Adelita Grijalva contradicted everything that Awwad reported and bragged about the “reserve” that they had in place, not revealing that the a large portion of the “reserve” (or whatever label they want to place on it) was derived from 301 monies. Soto colluded with HT Sanchez to disguise all of this until it was exposed through various sources, including Lillian Fox, Three Sonorans, KGUN9, the Arizona Daily Independent and Josie Rincon. Meanwhile Jason Freed, TEA President, has done NOTHING to support current and former teachers who have been cheated out of 301 funding that was intended ONLY to go to them; not to pay TUSD bills, such as for expenses incurred for out of state travel, hotel and conference fees for HT Sanchez and his former Board majority. 

As an aside, as it became apparent to Kristel Foster during the Board meeting that there was not sufficient support to approve another junket for her to attend, she spun into a mini-temper tantrum. She had another one of her righteous, condescending moments as she immaturely argued that the entire Board should attend the 77th Annual Conference of the National School Boards Association in Denver, Colorado, March 24-28, 2017 but that no one on the Board should stand in the way of her attending, along with HT and Adelita Grijalva. (These were not her exact words but definitely her message.)  The fact that her family lives in Aurora, Colorado,  and that she had planned to take advantage of the TUSD-expense-paid trip to visit with her family fueled her indignation even more. She could see her “free trip to visit with family” slip away from her. The whole thing was pathetic. When she gets into one of these rages she forgets to put the brakes on herself, so she then went on the attack and suggested that the Board should add a condition to these type of agenda items, which would require Board members who sign up to attend conferences- but fail to attend- to pay the full amount of the District-paid expenses back to the District. She then turned to Rachael Sedgwick and asked if she was going to pay the District back for not attending the ASBA conference. Sedgwick appropriately ignored her. Mean girl Kristel Foster strikes again!

TUSD Audit Committee and Its Conflict- Ricky Hernandez

Ricky D. Hernandez, who is the Chairperson of the TUSD Audit Committee is married to someone who works for TUSD. He also has other relatives who work for the District. This taints his independence and bleeds the Committee of any legitimate credibility. He currently works for the Pima County Superintendent and his role as an Audit Committee member and current Chairperson also places some particular stresses on the office. The current and former Superintendents have not supported his involvement on the TUSD Audit Committee. But Hernandez insists that he is free to work on the Committee on his own time. We wonder how much Pima County time he is devoting to the Audit Committee. We wonder how much time from his day job he spent working on the report that he presented to the Board on January 17th.

Hernandez used to work for TUSD. He began with TUSD in 2003 and held various positions in grants management, budget management, financial services, and budget compliance.  He established work relationships with a lot of people who still work for TUSD.  His work concluded with TUSD as the Budget Manager in 2008, when he joined the Pima County Superintendent’s Office.

Ricky Hernandez’ wife works for TUSD in a large department- the Technology Services Department. Scott Morrison, a close ally of Sanchez was appointed Chief Technology Officer after Damon Jackson, the former Technology Chief, abruptly left his position to return to Texas. He was one of HT’s transplants from Texas. Stefanie Boe works directly for Scott Morrison and Hernandez’ spouse, Vanessa Hernandez, is Stefanie Boe’s Administrative Assistant.  You can connect the dots for yourself on the October 2016 Organization Chart:

 http://www.tusd.k12.az.us/contents/Documents/TechnologyOC.pdf

A summary of the critical connected dots that show reporting relationships:

Superintendent Sanchez · · · ·  Scott Morrison, Chief Technology Officer · ·· ·  Stefanie Boe, Senior Director of Community Relations and Media Relations · · · ·  Vanessa Hernandez, Administrative Assistant (to Stefanie Boe) and spouse of Ricky D. Hernandez

Stefanie Boe is TUSD’s “positive communication” queen, often burying information that she perceives as negative to keep it from going public (although all TUSD information should be public). She regularly pokes and prods news reporters not to run with a story for one of her many irrational reasons. She and HT Sanchez have no problem complaining about a reporter who reports what HT and Boe believe to be negative news about TUSD. They intimidate reporters as much as possible so that they can control the news.

Let us revisit the 301 funding. It has been all over the news. It has been discussed at several Board meetings. Teachers have protested outside of Board meetings about how 301 funding has been hoarded rather than paid out to teachers more timely. Many have spoken during Board meetings conveying the same message. The Audit Committee and its Chairperson undoubtedly know about the issue and also are aware about the public concern over the issue. Yet, the Committee has been silent or secretive about any work the Committee has done to investigate the situation. It is more likely that Hernandez has ignored the issue so that he could avoid dealing with such a “hot” issue. This shows lack of regard for public concern over a critical financial matter. But for anyone who has connected the dots, as we have done, and understands the wrath of Boe and/or Sanchez when there is ANY negative information exposed about TUSD, it actually means a hell of a lot more! How could Ricky Hernandez be any part of a Committee that seriously looks into a matter such as the hoarding of 301 funding and its delayed pay-out to teachers with any neutrality? Of course, the answer is that Hernandez cannot be impartial. He would jeopardize the livelihood of his family by showing real leadership on the Audit Committee.  His conflict is obvious. We have all witnessed retribution after retribution by Sanchez to those who go against him.  Does anyone believe that Vanessa Hernandez would not be harmed/threatened if her husband exposed anything negative about TUSD in his role as TUSD Audit Committee Chairperson and member? ESPECIALLY, since she works directly for the “positive communication” queen. With such conflict, is Ricky Hernandez the kind of leader that is needed on the Audit Committee? We think not. 

Ricky Hernandez needs to immediately resign from the Audit Committee OR the new Governing Board must take action to remove him from the committee. His resignation should take place immediately OR the new Governing Board should add his removal from the Committee to the next Board agenda. Enough corruption!

In his leadership role as Chairperson of the Audit Committee, Hernandez presented a report to the Boardrecommending that the District create an Independent Audit Departmentinstead of simply hiring an independent auditor. He and the Committee have recommended a bloated bureaucratic department and have ignored the direction that was provided by the Governing Board to hire and an independent auditor. It is a wrench into moving forward and hiring someone who can actually investigate financial issues INDEPENDENTLY, such as Title I funding, 301 funding, etc.

And then there is the rumor that all Hernandez and Sanchez are doing is prolonging the process and setting the situation up for Hernandez to be hired as the Independent Budget/Finance Auditor. Hey, maybe it is just a rumor. But we thought this one might have some teeth.

Mean Girl Kristel Foster Voted “NO” Again to Pay the Attorneys Who Represent Latino Students Who Attend TUSD

We find it distasteful and insulting that Kristel Foster continuously votes “NO” to pay the legal fees of the attorneys who represent the Latino Plaintiffs in the desegregation case.  She has no difficulty in signing off on a $5,000,000 contract for TUSD’s legal counsel who work on the case (out of Phoenix), in addition to supporting costs for internal attorneys and their related expenses. We know that Sam Brown and Todd Jaeger both dedicate a lot of time to desegregation and that their salaries are higher than most in the District. And why is it all right for Kristel-Mean-Girl-Foster to vote “NO” for the Latino Plaintiffs’ legal counsel fees, when she has no problem voting “YES” to pay the African American Plaintiffs’ fees. Is this racism from someone who pretends to be so pro-Mexican@? Is this stupidity? Is this more meanness? Is it all of the above and more?  Does Foster know the constitutional requirements that are in place for the defendants to pay the plaintiffs’ fees in civil rights cases? Of course not. Mean girl Kristel Foster strikes again!

A standard definition of Corruption which we found is:  a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit.

In whose interest or benefit it is that Aguirre and Flagg have acted with Sanchez’, Foster’s, Grijalva’s, and Cam’s full support to have a revolving door of administrators and teachers at Ochoa over the last few years?

Whose interest or benefit is Sanchez serving when he promises funding to a school outside of any public or official process? Why hasn’t Utterback received the same promise?

Ask yourself in whose interest or benefit is it to hoard $21,000,000 rather than pay it out to those for whom it was intended.

In whose interest or benefit is it for Ricky Hernandez to sit on the Audit Committee?

The answers to all of the above: NOT the students and NOT the teachers. You know the names of those who  fill in the answers.

Pueblo High School Vandalism

Although nothing was said at the Board meeting about the vandalism at Pueblo we believe that we should address the issue. Recently more vandalism has taken place. The type of vandalism that is occurring seems  targeted and motivated by anger. We hope that those responsible for the criminal acts are apprehended but we also hope that the Board looks at the situation as another instance of inept management by the Pueblo administration. The GSRR is not followed at Pueblo and students know that they are free to wonder the halls, ditch classes, be tardy, disrespect their teachers, cause instructional interruptions on a constant basis and, in general, do as they please. Most violations are ignored by the administration and teachers feel abandoned by Auggie Romero. Why would any Pueblo student learn that there are consequences to inappropriate behavior at Pueblo? The recent vandalism is symptomatic of ignoring discipline problems and student resentment that has piled up over too many issues to list.

Even severe violations at Pueblo are ignored (drugs, weapons, etc.). The pressure to change grades is still a part of the culture and students, especially athletes, get a “pass” because teachers are pushed into passing students who are failing. We thought this would change once the problem was exposed but it has not changed and Romero has gotten away with the crime just like the students get away with their violations. Exactly how long is the Board going to ignore the inept administration at Pueblo?

Thanks to those who publish us or reference us: Three Sonorans and Arizona Daily Independent. We also appreciate those who take the time to read our letters. We appreciate it a great deal!



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5 comments on “Whistleblowers: Ochoa, Pueblo, Prop 301, anti-MALDEF Kristel, and Audits
  1. Thank you Whistleblowers for having such courage to stand up to this corruption and keeping us posted. HT must go and take Kristel, Adelita, Anna Maiden, Mary Alice, Abe, Vanessa, Stephanie, Matt, etc, with him!

  2. I rarely spend my time responding to trashy blogs. But this week I read some truly ridiculous and downright garbage filled with lies and complete bullshit. 

    Ochoa School was recently targeted by the “anonymous” group calling themselves the TUSD Whistle Blowers. 

    Ochoa has long been neglected and underserved by the district. After years of fighting and organizing, Ochoa has been transformed and so has our community and children.

    What’s the real issue with this false report? 

    Are these whistleblowers upset that our community is organized???

    Or are they pissed that our brown beautiful students were getting an amazing education?? 

    These so called whistle blowers went on tirade insinuating fellow parent, Cesar Aguirre and community activist, Brian Flagg as having complete power and control over how the school is run. 
    This is a huge insult to the many parents, staff, families and supporters who have work tirelessly to provide and excellent education to our youth. 

    No they don’t run shit, but perhaps the anonymous reporter would know that if they actually spent any real time working at this school. 
    If they had then they would have seen the following. 
    Yes, we have had inconsistent leadership. 

    We can start with the 1st Nameless Principal who more concerned with creating a prison like discipline system to address the challenging behaviors that are commonly displayed by low income students. Academic rigor was not her main concern. Her main concern was punishing students as opposed to dealing with the real life hardships our kids face as barriers to their education. Let’s not forget how restorative justice practices are paramount to dealing with minority students in the deseg order.

    In addition this principal was not controlled by Cesar, in fact she was downright rude and dismissive to all parents in general. In one instance she publicly shamed a Spanish speaking parent for not speaking English. There was no respect or willingness to create a positive environment for our children. 
    There was an overwhelming number of parents who wanted her to go and no, not one single tear was shed. 

    The 2nd Principal, was great in the beginning but HIS OWN misdeeds lead to his demise. Don’t misplace his actions. 

    There was a committee formed to hire the next principal, as a result of the last 2 principals the committee refused to accept any of the subpar principals interviewed. It was the entire committee’s decision to find the right fit, even if it meant 1 year with a temporary principal. 

    We are grateful to our current temporary principal and she is doing an excellent job. And yes, the lack of leadership is a challenge and obstacle to our growth. But to misplace blame shows the absurdity of this report. 

    Perhaps the TUSD Whistleblowers need to take a long hard look in the mirror and see how their attempts at whistle blowing are reflections of oppression. 

    To demonize a parent and activist who is out here fighting every day for equal educational rights for our community, is disgusting. 

    To lash out at one person trying to keep a predominantly Mexican-American school funded and for its students to have equal opportunities is shameful. 

    It’s misogynistic to state that many of the strong women who make up Ochoa blindly follow two men. 

    And so are the reports that our community is ignorant and full of followers. 

    Only someone with no integrity or real knowledge contributes to anonymous bullshit. That kind of anonymity makes you question WHO really is behind it and what are they hiding? 

    I am no stranger to criticizing the district and holding them accountable, and I proudly do so as myself. 

    I respect Cesar and Brian for their work, but I don’t need any man to represent me or control me and neither do our Ochoa parents.

    Some people blog and complain .. while others are busy getting shit done.

    Sorry momma for cussing, but when you deal with bullshit, things get shitty!

    • Open 48.5th Letter
      From: Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, Retired Administrators and Parents, Grandparents

      Topics: Response to Gloria Hamelitz’ Comment to Our 48th Letter

      We now have more than a solid fifty of us imbedded within TUSD and involved in the Whistleblower project that began 48 letters ago. We are spread throughout the District, which is probably obvious from the information that we have exposed/shared. All of us have numerous contacts (friends, family, peers, associates, etc.) within TUSD who, through shared facts & data and multiple conversations, help us compile a great deal of information. We also have several well informed parents and volunteers who assist us with research and dissemination of our letters. Our information base is impressive due our own first-hand information along with the many credible sources just mentioned. We have grown and we have solidified over the last three years.

      We know that through the exposure of information we have pushed a lot of buttons and have received some criticism in response to a particular letter or specific topic that we have addressed. However, our letters have brought about awareness and change. For example, in our last letter we exposed the specific familial relationship that Ricky Hernandez, Audit Committee Chairperson, has within TUSD and based on his overt conflict, we stated that his immediate resignation was in order. During the Board meeting of January 31st, HT Sanchez announced that Hernandez has resigned from the Committee. Connecting and exposing corrupt dots sometimes eliminates them.

      Some of us have been suspected by the administration of being involved with the TUSD Whistleblowers but none of our identities have ever been compromised or revealed. This has taken an incredible amount of precaution and work on our behalf. All for very good reason. Most who work for TUSD have come to understand the retaliatory environment that HT Sanchez has created. Employees at all levels of the organization express their fear in voicing their concerns. This includes members of HT’s central team. Yet, Sanchez himself along with his two hanging-on by their nails Board members criticize us most for our anonymity. Behind them they have their so-called supporters who echo their sentiments. Everyone else in the TUSD sphere seems to understand that our survival depends on remaining annonymous. We are still here and we can attribute this only to our anonymity and the reality that more and more people are reading our letters because they recognize the truth about TUSD within our letters. (Thank you!)

      After each letter we hear the responses at our schools, our departments, our 1010 offices, our social functions, etc. We have read comments on Facebook or in various blogs. The overwhelming amount of feedback has been positive. The criticism we have heard has had to do with giving Adelita Grijalva, Cam Juarez and Kristel Foster and their hero, HT Sanchez, a very bitter taste of their own medicine, which has meant that we have personalized our criticism of each of them. Each of them have time and time again attacked individuals on a personal basis and our bounce-back treatment has seen results. Each of them is pretty thin-skinned and they do not like the taste of their own medicine. Many say the medication is working because Foster’s and Grijalva’s mean behavior is toning down. Due to the new Board and constant exposure of Sanchez’ ineptness, he must recognize that he needs to vacate his position. The other criticism we hear is repeated most from Sanchez, Foster, Grijalva, and Juarez. It is that our letters have remained annonymous, as if most do not understand the reason for having to remain without disclosure of identities. (Let us remind everyone of our disclosure that Sanchez had his first annonymous group make concerted effort to expose his retaliatory nature in the last school district he failed to serve in Texas.)

      Some of us have heard HT Sanchez’ reactions to our letters first hand. After our first few letters he was convinced that he was going to investigate us, catch us, reveal us, and fire us. We went into this project knowing that we would have to remain annonymous in order to obtain information, expose information, and prevent retribution. Sanchez’ treatment of those who do not agree with him or those who are not loyal to him has validated our decision several times.

      One individual who agrees with Sanchez, Foster, Grijalva and Juarez on our anonymity took to her Facebook page along with commenting on Three Sonorans in response to our 48th letter. In her post she has tried very hard to condemn us and what we had to say about Ochoa losing its magnet status. She has criticized us MOST for concealing who is behind our group. Her name is Gloria Hamelitz. She is the Director of the John Valenzuela Youth Center in South Tucson and she is strongly tied to Danny Eckstrom, Raul Grijalva along, with their mesh of connections, including Cam Juarez, Adelita Grijalva and tag-along Kristel Foster. You can read her comment on her FB or as a comment posted @ https://threesonorans.com/2017/01/22/whistleblowers-ochoa-pueblo-prop-301-anti-maldef-kristel-and-audits/

      Many in our group know Gloria and have, to this point, respected her and her work with youth in our community and for some of us, within our immediate community. Her slam on us has adjusted several of our opinions because her criticism is almost fully based on false or sorely lacking information. She has not only guzzled the HT Sanchez Kool-Aid by the gallon, but she has offered up the beverage to all of her FB friends and Three Sonoran readers. Her less than sophisticated attack included words such as “truly ridiculous” “downright garbage”, “filled with lies and complete bullshit.” Yet, her slam never uttered any valid counter points, data or facts. Here, we respond to her in an effort to shed more light on a web of political patronage that continues to seek power and authority over TUSD decisions.

      Gloria says that the Whistleblowers “targeted” Ochoa. NO. Several times we have addressed the USP, the lack of support provided to magnet schools and particularly pointed out the lack of support provided to Ochoa and Utterback. This behavior is referred to as ADVOCACY not “targeting.” Gloria says the school has been neglected by the District and that “after years of fighting and organizing it has now been transformed” but she provides no evidence of what the transformation looks like or even gives a hint of its validated results. It all sounds like “feel-good fluff”, which educators have learned is not sufficient to teach children. We do agree with Gloria that the school has been neglected by TUSD, however, our stance is that HT Sanchez is the point person for the last three and half years of neglect. Exactly what “fighting and organizing” is Gloria referring to when she speaks of these actions in supporting Ochoa? Befriending and politically supporting a superintendent and Board majority who were willing to CUT more than $50,000 from Ochoa’s budget last year is NOT a good result from the “fighting and organizing” which she proudly claims. The funding was reinstated only due to the desegregation oversight that is in place. Or how about the lack of staffing (too many substitutes) and three consecutive years of principal changes resulting in an interim principal for this entire school year? These type of facts have repeatedly been denied by those involved in “organizing and fighting” for Ochoa since Sanchez arrived. Our detractor refers to our letter as a “false report” and asks what is behind it. From what we have been able to gather- all TUSD data and TUSD reports on Ochoa indicate severe academic problems. In fact, Ochoa’s own magnet improvement plan reveals great academic weaknesses. Is our criticizer making claim that Ochoa’s own submitted documents are filled with lies?

      Gloria asks if the Whistleblowers are upset that the community is organized. We urge all school communities to organize and advocate for their schools. Thus, the answer is: NO, we are not upset. We are, however, disappointed that two of Ochoa’s most visible “fighters and organizers” (Brian Flagg and Cesar Aguirre) have not challenged the institution that has neglected Ochoa. Instead they continuously bequeath Sanchez and the former Board majority with accolades. For them it is about patronage politics and not the students.

      Our detractor goes on to ask if we are “pissed” that brown beautiful students are getting an “amazing education” but she provides no evidence of how she has determined that Ochoa students are getting an “amazing education”. There is no such evidence. For the record, many of us work with “brown” kids and many of us are “brown” and believe that her attack-question was the first card (race) played by Gloria. This tactic lacks as much substance as the use of words such as “truly ridiculous” “downright garbage”, “filled with lies and complete bullshit” which are found in Gloria’s response to our letter. It also exposes her own prejudgment about our group, typically referenced as prejudice.

      Gloria totally defends Flagg and Aguirre against our position that they have spearheaded and influenced HT Sanchez and the former Board majority into making decisions that have NOT been in the best interest of Ochoa. It is not only our perception that they organize most of the activities involving parent attendance at meetings such as Board meetings, community forums for school board candidates, meetings on desegregation, but it is the perception of the parents themselves (Gloria seems to be one of exceptions.). See- many of us do talk to former and current Ochoa teachers, former and current Ochoa parents, and Ochoa community members. We wonder why Gloria would assume that none of us work at Ochoa (or have worked at Ochoa) or live in South Tucson. It is an assumption that lacks the sophistication already exposed. Does she truly believe that ALL impressions about Ochoa and South Tucson are confined to her immediate circle? Does she not question why so many teachers and parents have bolted out of Ochoa? It has nothing to do with the students but with the disarray of the school due to lack of leadership, staffing and oversight; in other words- neglect. She says we went on a tirade. No, we wrote a letter to expose the facts, which is not a tirade. She also alleges that we “don’t run shit.” She is right. We don’t run it and don’t want to run it. On the other hand, this is what Flagg’s and Aguirre’s interest is all about- a grab for power on behalf of their political patróns.

      In her post Gloria does admit that the leadership at Ochoa has been inconsistent. If we gained nothing else by her reading our letter, at least she got this fact down straight. She then goes on to attack the principal who was appointed in 2014-15 and makes claims that all of the accounts we have received are incorrect. We spoke to both parents and teachers who were at Ochoa in 2014-15 and, for all Gloria knows, perhaps some of us were there as well. Just for the sake of fact checking, if the principal in question did what Gloria claimed she did, why was there no outrage communicated during call to the audience by Gloria herself or Flagg or Aguirre or, for that matter, by the parents who were directly impacted? Where were the “fighters and organizers” who failed to make the alleged misconduct public? Were complaints filed? Or was the principal just quietly railroaded out of Ochoa because she did not turn her authority over to Flagg and Aguirre? From our fact gathering, no specific complaints were filed and no investigation was conducted. Railroading is exactly what took place!

      We are also glad that Gloria agreed with our depiction of the principal who was appointed in 2015-16 and whose appointment was blessed by Aguirre and Flagg. She says, “HIS OWN misdeeds lead to his demise.” We said as much in our 48th letter but we also said that his needed administrative attention was NOT focused in operating the school and that his demise brought added demise to the school. We said that his misdeeds (as Gloria refers to them) hurt many; this included the students for his lack of attention to his job and duties. We again ask; where were the “fighters and organizers” as the principal turned Ochoa into a place of sexual gossip and a hostile-tension-filled work environment? EVERYONE associated with the school knew of the principal’s misconduct but it was not until the chatter spread beyond the school and one square mile that he was pressured to leave- which was not until last summer. By then a lot of damage had been done. His behavior was ignored by the “fighters and organizers” because he was doing their bidding, such as instructing teachers to have parents sign politically motivated petitions during parent conferences, as mentioned in our last letter. Someone shared with us that she personally contacted Cam Juarez last school year to anonymously report the principal’s inappropriate conduct and specifically stated to him that the school environment had become hostile based on the principal’s behavior. She chose Juarez to go to because of his acclaimed support for Ochoa. Her complaint was obviously ignored.

      Gloria actually exposed something we did not know. She said that a school committee rejected all of the candidates that were presented to consider for the principal position for the 2016-17 school year and that it was ultimately decided to have the school remain with an interim principal. Perhaps this is when a higher power, such as Sanchez, should have intervened to share research findings that show the significant importance to a school’s success is in having a qualified instructional leader assigned to a school. Ochoa has now been absent a permanent and appointed principal since August 2016. She says, “…the lack of leadership is a challenge and obstacle to our growth,” but then says that blame should not be misplaced. How about just plain old accountability? We stand in holding Sanchez, Aguirre, Flagg and the former flunky Board majority accountable for the lack of stability and leadership at the school as well as the neglect of oversight of the school. This is where the facts point.

      Gloria then goes into a very twisted spin and challenges the Whistleblowers to look in the mirror. We do a great deal of reflection and contemplation. Our mission is to expose wrongdoings within TUSD and we have adhered to it. Gloria then claims that what we are doing is oppression. NO; what we are doing is actual ORGANIZING and FIGHTING for students, as well as their teachers and schools. Perhaps Gloria should go back and read all 48 of our letters. Information which we have reported on Ochoa is based on what we have seen and what has been reported to us firsthand about the actions taken by Aguirre and Flagg. Gloria may not agree but the reported and witnessed behaviors are what they are.

      She then claims that what we have reported is misogynistic. A las, the third and final attack-card up Gloria’s sleeve. We are not interested in a card game that takes turns at shuffling out accusations that are transparent deflections for the District’s failures. We won’t play it. Gloria claims that our group has no integrity or real knowledge because we contribute “annonymous bullshit.” We do not believe people would still be reading our letters if their content was recognized as B.S. On the contrary, after each letter we hear added information that validates what has been written in our letters. Gloria says she proudly criticizes the District and holds them accountable. Within the last three and half years we cannot recall a public document with such criticism in it which has been proudly authored and signed by her or a comment before the Board HOLDING the District accountable. (She may have signed the Sanchez/Flagg/Aguirre letters and petitions to the Court but she did not author them.)

      She says she respects Cesar and Brian for their work. And here we have it all.

      She also states that she does not need any man to represent her or control her. The Whistleblowers have never mentioned Gloria prior to this letter so any insult that she was taken by her is of her making; not ours.

      We agree with Gloria (this is the third agreement we have had with her), that as she says, “Some people blog and complain .. while others are busy getting shit done.”

      The Whistleblowers are all about getting things done that support students, their teachers and schools. We are all about exposing the FACTS. We email our letters out to an enormous list of individuals. We are grateful that Three Sonorans posts our letters but we are not associated with Three Sonorans in any way other than it posts our letters. We are also mentioned in other blogs and sometimes our letters are posted. Many people have posted our letters on their FB page. We work hard to get information out to as many people as possible. Gloria is entitled to dispute the facts but her disputes should offer data and facts. Right now the facts about Ochoa indicate that student academic learning is suffering at a very serious level. The students and parents are not to blame for this. It is the Board and the administration who are accountable, along with the so-called community organizers who have believed the wrong-doers. It is our integrity that has driven us to write about neglected schools such as Ochoa. We heard nothing other than complaining from Gloria in her post. Perhaps it is Gloria who needs a dose of reflection and integrity as well as an end to guzzling the Kool-Aid.

      We wanted to make sure that this letter was posted right beneath Gloria’s comment.

      Thanks to those who publish us or reference us: Three Sonorans and Arizona Daily Independent. We appreciate it a great deal!

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