TUSD board meeting “storm” protest fizzles (Updated)

Former Mexican American Studies Director, Sean Arce accompanied by a group of about 15 college age and older adults set upon TUSD Governing Board member Michael Hicks during a recess in the meeting of the district’s governing Board.

A video by a racist blogger known as the Three Sonorans clearly shows Arce with Hicks inside the building as Hicks was returing to the meeting.

According to various sources, Arce confronts Hicks and chest bumped him while insulting Hicks. Hicks stood his ground, while security looked on. At the time, Arce questioned Hicks’ intelligence while stupidly assaulting Hicks a second time. Hicks did not seek the assistance of security, and will not press charges against the 6’4’ former college football player.

During the takeover of he board meeting last spring, Arce assaulted a member of the public twice. Charges were not pressed against Arce in an effort to keep already high tensions from getting higher according to the victim.

The Board voted 4-1 last night to hire Maria Figueroa, former principal at Toleson, to replace the controversial Arce. Adelita Grijalva was the dissenting vote.

The district opted to not renew Arce’s contract as the Director of the MAS program last spring. Instead they offered him another position in the district, but he refused to accept the offer.

According to various sources, a group of thugs or “protesters” were planning a “storm.” They hurled epithets and accusations at Hicks during the “peaceful” protest.

Participants in the “storm” had brought water bottles into the boardroom. It is believed that the protest was called off when Hicks began taking pictures of the wannabe “storm” from his position at the dais.

In other district business, superintendent Pedicone tried to convince skeptical board members to close down several schools and built new larger ones. He told the Board, “Giving the community something, is much more attractive than consolidating schools.” He was referring to “consolidating” more kids into fewer classrooms due to the district’s financial difficulty.

Dr. Sugiyama had only made one comment that he directed to the public, “In Arizona we have a low funding for schools.” He went on to say that he was unhappy with Arizona’s funding, but made no reference to the higher than average cost of TUSD’s administration.

TUSD spends less of their funding in the classroom that any other district in the state.

In the same breathe he said that the goal in 1967 was to have an art teacher and a PE teacher at every school. “I am troubled that we can’t do what we seemed to do in 1967.” Once again he made no recommendation to adjust spending and appears to support building bigger schools.

Dr Stegeman took exception to the big school plan and joined Hicks in skepticism about the need to close schools so many schools. “Districts that have had school reforms have not had to close schools,” said Stegeman. Stegeman then cited studies which found that smaller schools have many advantages. He suggested the District consider charter school adoption.

Clarice Clash was appointed to be principal at Tucson High Magnet School in a unanimous vote.

One long time district insider noted after the vote, “Clarice still has integrity after all these years in the district. They better watch out over at THS.” Abel Morado was the principal of THS for eight years.

The meeting closed with a discussion and vote on new policies. Hicks asked that members of the board be allowed to nominate members of the community to work with staff develop curriculum. He met with resistance from Superintendent Pedicone and Miguel Cuevas. Stegeman supported his suggestion.

Thunder rolls in to Tucson – First two days of Freedom Summer 2012 from Abie Morales on Vimeo.