TUSD’s travel policy, if at first you don’t succeed try fly again

The National School Board Association has long been considered, by most school reform experts to be one of the biggest obstacles to real reform in public schools across the country. No self-respecting public school superintendent misses the extravagant annual NSBA conferences where superintendents and school board members are wined and dined by the powers that be in the educational industrial complex. The captive and captivated audience strolls through aisle after aisle of educational wares. They are very important people for a few days.

On September 27, TUSD Governing Board President Miguel Cuevas, almost pleaded with fellow board members to vote for a trip to this year’s upcoming NSBA conference in Boston. The trip expenditure was not approved in a 3-2 vote.

If at first you don’t succeed try to fly again.

The item is once again on tomorrow’s agenda. Pedicone implored Burns, a previous “No” vote to place it back on the agenda. Prior to the coup by Burns, Pedicone, and Grijalva to replace Stegeman with Cuevas, it was customary to not allow an item to be placed on the agenda again for at least six months after it failed, and only a Board member who previously voted against an item could bring it back. Only one part of that custom remains; a person voting “No” put it on the agenda again.

When asked for a comment, Board member Hicks said of the new request, “We are entering flu season and $3200 will buy a lot of Kleenex that we don’t have in our classrooms. We are begging for supplies and we take trips we can’t afford?”

There will also be monies coming out of the Superintendent’s budget for his journey with Miguel to the land of lobsters, and double stuffed quahogs.

At the meeting on the 27th, when asked by Board member Hicks if TUSD even belonged to the NSBA, Cuevas sheepishly but honestly responded, “No.” TUSD is NOT a member of the NSBA due to an action Dr. Mark Stegeman took early in his tenure on the Board. This didn’t stop Cuevas. In his desperation to get that trip, he held up the corrupt Sunnyside Board and district has a group that regularly attends the conference. There was a chuckle and silence in response.

Pedicone then attempted to sell the trip, to no avail. Dr. Stegeman asked if there was a conflict of interest for a Board member voting for their own trip, and the attorney said no. In most districts across the country, a board member would recuse themselves from a vote on their own trip. Normally boards collectively vote on group expenses, while individual trip requests are voted by the non-travelling members.

Also on the agenda, is an item to reaffirm compliance with Arizona State standards. It is unlikely to pass since Board member Adelita Grijalva admitted months ago, that the Board has never approved over 80% of the district’s curriculum, and Maria Menconi, the district’s curriculum guru has admitted in the district’s appeal hearing that the district does not have standardized curriculum for most areas of study.