Tucson Unified School District Governing Board member Michael Hicks has been inquiring over the past few months as to the financial health of the District. Last week, that inquiry led to the revelation by outgoing Deputy Superintendent Youssef Awaad that the District is in severe financial difficulty.
The District’s leadership Board president Adelita Grijalva and Superintendent H.T. Sanchez were forced to admit that the District is facing a $15 million deficit.
Later in the week after additional inquiry from Hicks, Awaad, who has been struggling under Sanchez and Grijalva to maintain the financial integrity of the District’s finances, told Hicks that he had been talking to the superintendent and cautioning him against decisions being made without consultation with his office as early as last March and April. According to sources, Awaad warned Sanchez to caution against his budget process and financial decisions.
Hicks also inquired about the reserve fund which had accrued to a considerable amount (in excess of $25,000,000 dollars) for the purpose of addressing a deficit situation. It appears now that those monies have been depleted and by the end of the FY2013 the District indirect cash balances totaling little over $18 million.
Awaad advised Hicks that the Board should be concerned about decisions made in Seg fund, Title I and Desegregation.
Also last week, an explosive rant was unleashed in an open letter from someone purporting to be part of a group of administrators. The email was sent to TUSD Superintendent HT Sanchez with a copy also sent to the Governing Board. HT Sanchez, after Adelita Grijalva’s forced his hiring, has run amuck according to the administrators’ letter. They claim that Grijalva and Sanchez have put the District in a financial crisis and management chaos, losing a dearth of experienced administrators and teachers.
Highlight excerpts from “the Letter” are featured below validating many of the problems raised by Stegeman and Hicks previously reported in the Arizona Daily Independent:
… Those of us in schools feel abandoned, having to make due with little to support our teachers and students. Those of us in departments keep experiencing the “sweeping” of our budgets with no control over our budgets. Some have not even been allowed to see their budgets. “TUSD transparency” does not exist. Even desegregation budgets are being “swept.”…
By [sending a] copy of this to many of our peers, community activists, to those involved in the desegregation case and to those who have the power to investigate, we are hoping that the facts in response to our questions will surface. ….
“When you wash-out ALL of the budget reserve to use on YOUR projects and then make every effort to point to the state as the wrong-doer, it shows your level of immorality. You have depleted Title I funding and you are attempting to misuse desegregation money. The audits were funded for PR purposes; now you mostly ignore or twist the recommendations that were made in the audits.”
-When your wife attends professional development training sponsored by TUSD it is not only tacky, it is legally inappropriate. She should NOT be attending professional development training at the expense of TUSD. (Is she applying the training to obtain Arizona certification?) It is a good thing she was not hired as a principal in TUSD. Keep your personal life to yourself!
-When your wife enters a TUSD facility by using a security code, it is a violation of policy. It is likely your code she is using, which you were not supposed to disclose. If any of us did something similar, we would be disciplined.
– When you tell a large group of individuals that the people who filed the complaint at Tucson High Magnet ‘will all be gone..’ it is blatant retaliation. You may not like the fact that they complained but you should understand that YOU cannot punish those who complained based on the fact that they complained. (Steve Holmes, shame on you for doing H.T.s’ bidding.) Do you need to learn that lesson through the courts? Remember, there are now several witnesses to your statement.
– When you challenge your bosses (board members) when they question what the administration is doing or wants to do- it is unprofessional. That is their job. Do you not understand checks and balances? Stop threatening the board with your departure and learn how to be a superintendent. Stop being a whining politician. You talk over female governing board members and attempt to intimidate them. Stop the sexism. You are outrageously rude to Dr. Stegeman and Mr. Hicks and whether you agree with them or not, they are your bosses; treat them with respect. You are condescending to Mr. Juarez and pretentious.
– When you interfere with the hiring processes- everyone knows what you have done to “wire” the outcome. We know that there is a principal you hired who has NOT passed their state test. Yet, this is the reason you gave for not hiring a candidate that ranked above a board member’s [Grijalva] mother-in-law. ….
-When you say that if A. Grijalva loses, you are ‘out of here’- it shows that your destiny is closely tied to one single person. This is dangerous and does not say much about the depth of your work, which we agree is shallow. You are hurting her by making this statement.
-When you put the Strategic Planning Committee together did you inform the entire Board and the general public that Juarez’ wife and A. Grijalva’s sister were and are on the Strategic Planning Committee. You loaded the committee with your selection of TUSD employees, which was the majority of those who attended, and then manipulated members of the public into believing that they had contributed.
One of the overwhelming points made in the letter is that H. T. Sanchez works tirelessly to establish district policy which is the responsibility of the Governing Board. However under Adelita Grijalvas’s leadership with the help of Cam Juarez and Krystal Foster rubber stamping everything H. T. Sanchez brings to the board enables him to run amuck with his tyrannical management style.