His testimony could eventually land him in hot water, but Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez is hoping it will win him the CapTimes Best “Testifier” prize first.
In an email sent out April 16, to Tucson Unified School district employees, Sanchez’s crack PR team, led by Stephanie Boe, called on staff to vote Sanchez “Best “Testifier” at the AZ Capital (sic)!”
The email reads:
Did you know there’s a competition for best testifier in the AZ Legislature? Did you know Dr. HT Sanchez is in the running? YES! If you’re a Arizona Capitol Times subscriber, vote for HT and TUSD today! Priority #4 under the Financial Goals of our Five-Year Strategic Plan is to “collaborate with the legislature to develop strong relationships that promote advocacy for education.” No one can argue with this nomination that we’re not working towards this!
In response, a group of TUSD educators sent out an email on Wednesday questioning the wisdom of the campaign:
Heliodoro Torres Sánchez Jr.’s Self-promoting Propaganda & His Double Standard
Heliodoro Torres Sánchez Jr.’s very huge, but ironically fragile, ego attempts to counter whatever we have printed in our letters. We criticized his full-on public relations campaign on himself about his legislative lobbying efforts. Emails, videos, presentations and reports on his lobbying efforts, strongly have suggested that he and he alone, saved TUSD from the dreadful legislative bills that he testified against. No other superintendent has ever made so much to do about doing his job, which includes lobbying activities. We pointed this out in our last letter and he notably has decided to put his campaign on steroids. His PR person Stefanie Boe and he came up with a marketing piece which is simply outrageous and more overkill on his efforts. Heliodoro is now campaigning to be the best “testifier” at the Arizona Capital. His unrevised April 16th Superintendent’s Report was emailed out on Friday April 17th . Krystal Foster, his other PR agent, also emailed out his report to her list server, as she faithfully does every week. The report states:
“Best “Testifier” at the AZ Capital! Did you know there’s a competition for best testifier in the AZ Legislature? Did you know Dr. HT Sanchez is in the running? YES! If you’re a Arizona Capitol Times subscriber, vote for HT and TUSD today! Priority #4 under the Financial Goals of our Five-Year Strategic Plan is to “collaborate with the legislature to develop strong relationships that promote advocacy for education.” No one can argue with this nomination that we’re not working towards this! http://azcapitoltimes.com/2015-best-of-the-capitol/
Anyone wanting to vote for Heliodoro Torres, as his PR agents Stephanie Boe and Krystal Foster and him, clicks on the link and discovers that only Arizona Capitol Times subscribers can vote for 2015 Best of the Capitol finalists and that a subscription costs $99. Out of curiosity, we clicked on the link. It is bad enough that Heliodoro, Stephanie and Krystal believe that it is appropriate to utilize staff time and ink to campaign for this shallow-self-serving effort but to expect TUSD employees and Krystal’s list server recipients to shove out 99 bucks to boost Heliodoro’s rapacious ego is outlandish! Krystal, like Tammy Wynnete, is on automatic pilot when it comes to standing by her puppeteer- Heliodoro. We took a look at the Superintendent’s Report on the TUSD website on April 20th and found that the above piece had been erased from the one sent out on April 17th. Too late, the offensive request already took place.
In their eighth open letter to the public, the group describing itself as “Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers and Parents,” notes that Sanchez also sold his performance at the April 14, Governing Board Meeting:
At last Tuesday’s Governing Board Meeting (April 14th) – some amazing things happened. Heliodoro continued on his chest-pounding self-ingratiating campaign and spend several very long minutes during his report- retelling the magnificence of his testifying before various legislative committees. He was boisterous in his report about his favorite topic-himself; speaking fast and very loud. Before he had completed his report, Foster began clapping, with Grijalva and Juarez immediately joining her. It was so out of sync, it even threw Heliodoro off his game for a minute. They are quite a team, the four of them; the puppeteer and his zombie applauding puppets.
The call to the audience was consumed by parents and students in support of their beloved baseball coach at Sahuaro who was suspended (mid-season) from his coaching position while an investigation was conducted on alleged financial improprieties and other student eligibility issues (as guessed by those close to the situation). The financial matter seems to have something to do with the failure to deposit money as is required along with the co-mingling of funds. Any amount of money must be deposited immediately and usually people wait until there is an amount worth depositing- otherwise it requires multiple trips to the bank. We have heard from those in the know that a disgruntled parent complained because her son was not being played at the level she wanted. Understand- we are not talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars!
The group also cites the testimony of retired teacher Lillian Fox, and questions whether her testimony before the TUSD Governing Board revealed a gifting of public funds. Fox’s testimony was in stark contrast to Sanchez’s claims made before the House Finance Committee that the District has little say in how they spend money. The group writes:
In drastic contrast to the dollars involved in the Sahuaro situation, one of our absolute favorite TUSD truth-tellers- Lillian Fox- also spoke during the call to the audience and pointed out that Heliodoro had, on his own, without board approval, directed that all TUSD retiring employees have their insurance paid for by the District through the end of the summer of each year. He started this last summer and it will continue for retirees this year.
Obviously, thousands upon thousands of dollars are being spent without board approval and on non-TUSD employees. Or perhaps retirement dates are being tampered with to make it appear as though retirees are still employees and allow for payment of benefits. It sure sounds like Heliodoro has decided to bequeath a gift of public funds. Has he not learned that he must follow proper fiduciary procedures? We all know the answer. We wonder if other funding is involved in this, such as Title I or desegregation funding. It appears as though a beloved coach is suspended while an investigation is conducted over the handling of baseball team funding (and student residency issues) that do not constitute a great deal of money, while Heliodoro does whatever he pleases with thousands upon thousands of tax-based dollars. Double standard! Not right! Not fair! And…another item that should be investigated.
Lillian Fox is a retired TUSD teacher who is dedicated to serving students. She regularly speaks out against this type of shenanigans. For a while, Heliodoro would literally walk out of the meeting while she spoke or if he remained at the dais, he would bury his face in his papers, looking down and scowling while she spoke. This guy has shown his immaturity in dealing with people for two years with no real consequences from his supervising body! For some reason he corrected his behavior and he now remains seated and pretends to listen to her. We think it through the exposure these letters have brought to his rude and bullying behavior that he now remains seated while Lillian speaks.
Extracting the Independence OUT of the Audit Committee & Oh! By the Way Now There is Money to Hire an Internal Auditor!
Without independent monitoring of TUSD’s finances, accountability of the budget is non-existent. No one knows this better than Heliodoro Torres, who has- from the time of his hire- attempted to play lose with TUSD dollars. Two historical examples follow but they have popped up over and over again since July of 2013. He essentially gave a lucrative contract away to a Texan friend by giving her significant lead-notice of a procurement opportunity for organizing the strategic planning process. The heads-up to her took place long before the bid opportunity went public. On his own, he decided that he would pay for his early childhood centers out of desegregation dollars, which was later found to be inappropriate by the court.
When his fiduciary mismanagement is exposed he fights back- sometimes with vengeance. After the strategic planning shenanigans was exposed, he kept pleading with the press and public to ‘move on- just move on.’ He blamed the media, especially the Arizona Daily Star, for exposing his shady deal. Like a child, he kept saying he had apologized and could not do anything beyond that. His inability to recognize that his day care centers had zero or less to do with desegregation only resulted in his blaming the special master, plaintiffs and court for not going zombie on him like the his three mindless wonders on the board.
When Yousef Awwad left the District last August he provided a response to a requested financial forecast by a board member. It projected a deficit of $15,000,000. Many asked for a state audit but Heliodoro Torres and Karla Soto, one of his loyal staff members who he promoted to Chief Financial Officer, have argued that all is well in money land. Despite the fact that the District’s Efficiency Audit recommended an independent auditor, along with several other experts, Heliodoro has convinced his three zombies not to go along with the recommendation. The TUSD Audit Committee strongly supports the hiring of an independent auditor and has offered TUSD their expert recommendations in several areas. The operative word is: independent.
Heliodoro convinced his zombies and Chief Legal Officer that they needed to find a way to undo the Audit Committee. Heliodoro and his braindead team figured out that they could just kick members off of the Audit Committee who do not reside within TUSD. These are people They have also added the Chief Financial Officer and a board member- placing the committee under the thumbs of both the board and the administration of Karla Soto and Adelita Grijalva. Heliodoro’s enormous hypocrisy in his actions are once again outrageous. So much for anything near independence with Heliodoro’s administrative tampering of a committee that was supposed to be neutral and independent. No such chance with this set up!
The group has remained anonymous due to the intimidating atmosphere that has descended on the District since Sanchez’s arrival. According to the group, Sanchez and “the board majority inquired about having the Tucson Police Department investigate our letters. They want to find out who is in this group of “letter writers” so that they can take action against them.” The group calls the rumored threats of a witch hunt “truly frightening.”
According to sources, based on their continued jabs at desegregation plaintiff representative Gloria Copeland, District insiders know the identity of one of the members of the group. However, because of their own experience with Sanchez’s vindictiveness, those insiders have kept silent. As the group says, “Within TUSD, especially at the schools, we hear nothing but praise.”
While the group remain anonymous, Copeland has been public in her criticism of Sanchez and his use of desegregation monies. Copeland, who has fought for all TUSD students for nearly 30 years supported the legislation about which Sanchez testified. That legislation would have required the Arizona Auditor General to audit the District’s desegregations funds.