The recall effort against three Tucson Unified School District Governing Board members got off to an auspicious start on Saturday as people flocked to the Wilmot Library, in Tucson’s midtown, to sign the petitions. People came from across the District to get their own petitions to circulate among friends, family, and coworkers.
A steady stream of parents, teachers, and taxpayers arrived at the library, each with their own reason for wanting to bring an end to the corruption, that has plagued the District for years. From teachers union members to government workers, tales of intimidation by the Grijalva machine were shared as they waited for their chance to grind that machine to a halt.
From the minute the recall was first announced, the subjects of the recall: Adelita Grijalva, Cam Juarez, and Kristel Foster have made moves to intimidate Brian Sauber, the man behind the campaign. On Saturday, Sauber met others, who like him, have experienced the oppressive practices of District leadership. As they shared their stories one thing became clear; if people in the know don’t get engaged in the recall, the atmosphere of fear will destroy more good people and eventually the District itself.
One County employee told Sauber that County employees were told that they were not allowed to participate in the recall. The employee came on Saturday anyway to sign the petition and offer support. because they knew employees did not give up their First Amendment rights when they signed up for their County job.
According to one County official, employees are free to exercise their First Amendment right to support or oppose any issue or candidate as long as they are not using County resources or participating during work hours. Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin advised the in an email last week: “An employee in the City’s classified service may sign and/or circulate petitions for recall relating to a non-city office, so long as the employee does so off-duty, does not engage in the activity on any city property, and does not wear any uniform, badge or other insignia that identifies them as a city employee. The employee also cannot solicit or receive monetary contributions from other city employees; and cannot manage the recall effort.”
So little really stands in the way of the recall except the lies and other intimidation tactics.
In Sauber’s case, the bullying tactics have had an unexpected positive result. When the Arizona Daily Star played along with Foster and Grijalva and tried to portray him as a disgruntled worker, savvy readers did their own research and found his Change.org petition. They began signing the “Reinstate me in my job,” petition he created over a year ago after Grijalva refused to hear his side in an ugly District scandal. The petition reads in part:
TUSD fired me after 21 years of service, I was fired after my wife was caught having affairs with parents. There were phone calls made complaining about this and I was accused of making them and I was terminated . TUSD did not disclose any evidence , would not allow me to present evidence or witnesses ( although that was hard to do when they wouldn’t disclose). After my termination some evidence was disclosed and I am able to prove that I did not do what I was accused of, but TUSD and the governing board president (Adelita Grijalva) won’t hear my case.
Sauber says he has put the past behind him and despite the claims made to the Star by Foster and Grijalva, he is not a disgruntle employee; he is a concerned father. During his 21 years at the District he became painfully aware of its deterioration under the Grijalva regime. Many of his friends remain employees of the District and on a regular basis employees confide their concerns to him.
Those concerns include the fact that morale has never been lower. Citing the new discipline policy and lack of cohesive curricula, teachers receive no support from an administration that swells as fast as the numbers of kids in the classroom.
“We are still reeling from the $300,000 salary/benefit package that was wrapped up for Shady-Sanchez to “keep” him as the TUSD Superintendent. Juarez, Foster and Grijalva could not risk the slightest possibility of having to go through a selection process to replace him. They know that the community would insist on transparency and would not tolerate anything similar to what took place in selecting Single-shot-Sanchez from a finalist pool of one. It is worth repeating that Sanchez had only 4 limited months as an interim-superintendent when he was hired. In less than two years he has become the highest paid superintendent in Arizona and one of the highest paid in the entire country. As a rookie he seems to have fooled three very irresponsible and shameless Board members. We knew that he would do one, of only a few, theatrical options in dealing with his performance pay and bonus (both undeserved) and we had guessed that one would be to “give it” away. As the controversy over his salary/benefit and contract extension went viral, he did “gift” his bonus and performance pay and he made it a point to say that the recipients would get the remaining dollars after taxes were deducted.
The Board could have taken the full amount for both the bonus and performance pay, without taxation and allocated it directly to student focused services. Instead, the money was used as a “good-guy” campaign to offset the outrage over Shifty-Sanchez’ extended contract and ridiculous salary/benefits increase. The three minions continue to think that community members are stupid and are incapable of seeing right through these policy/administrative shams.
It is obvious that open meeting law violations took place in working up the contract/salary deal for Sanchez and whether or not anyone files a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General is almost irrelevant since the prevailing opinion is that Sanchez, Juarez, Foster and Grijalva commonly violate open meeting law. (Do not get us wrong; we would love it if someone did file a complaint and would love it more if the traces of violation were found). Guilt is sometimes blatant.
While the three minions talk a lot about “stability” in TUSD, the turn-over rate in TUSD is the highest it has ever been- experienced administrators cannot get out fast enough; especially if Sanchez and his deputy hassle them. Paying a superintendent $300,000 a year has nothing to do with stability. If anything; it is symptomatic of just how UNstable TUSD is right now.”
The group also addresses the retaliation by Districts “leaders.” According to the group, Superintendent Sanchez “has had the highest turn-over rate within a two year period of any superintendent in any decade that can be remembered by any TUSD living historian. With great pride, he brags that he got rid of the “bad” ones.” The group questions his claims, and notes that Sanchez “takes full claim for losing the “good” ones, bragging, that as members of HIS administration, of course, they were sought after by other school districts, as if HE was the attraction. Not true. Most administrators who have departed- left to get away from a ruthless rookie superintendent who is known to manage through intimidation and innuendo. They did not want to be associated with his unethical ways. (Sanchez initiates and perpetuates personal rumors as a means to discredit former administrators. He thinks nothing of fabricating rumors about sexual affairs simply to distract us from paying attention to his managerial mishaps.) For a subordinate who spends such an abundant amount of time with Krystal Foster, one of his three aficionadas, (in all communication & meeting forms), he should be careful about starting such rumors.”
In one case, before leaving the District an administrator revealed Sanchez’s reckless spending habits, and within hours of the revelation someone started an ugly rumor that he left because he was involved in an affair. Several people have reported being told that rumor by Sanchez. The group writes: “We know of individuals who have consulted with their attorneys about Sanchez’ defamation propensities, awaiting a continued pattern of libel prior to proceeding with legal action. Both personal suits against Sanchez and suits against TUSD are in the works.”
The group is critical of Juarez, Foster and Grijalva for failing to do “an in-depth background check when they were considering hiring Sanchez as Superintendent…” The report that the trio could have “easily unveiled” Sanchez’s “severe problems in the area of (lacking) leadership. For example a Facebook page entitled “Leadership Lessons from Attila the Hun” was posted by those who reported to Sanchez while he served as Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) Chief of Staff. This would have been a RED flag which they could not have ignored! We find the recently discovered Facebook page quite eerie and, yet, validating. Two distinct groups of administrators from two different school districts in two different states took it upon themselves to expose Sanchez (as Whistleblowers) for the leader-less and retaliatory person that he is. This is quite incredible. What is more incredible is that Grijalva, Foster and Juarez failed to do their job in looking into Sneaky-Sanchez’ background. OR, perhaps they decided to ignore any of the dozens of negative facts they discovered. What we know is that WHERE Sanchez works, whistleblowers rise to the occasion, making effort to expose him for what he is.”
According to the group it also addressed the claims by TEA union leader Jason Freed in an interview with KGUN 9’s Valerie Cavasos. Freed outraged educators across the District when he told Cavasos that “The feeling from the number of teachers and support staff I’ve talked to is that our district is going in an improved direction.” The group writes: “He is totally out of touch with teachers and support staff! He is an embarrassment to the profession and to the true concept of a union.”
“We implore anyone who still is paying dues to withdraw your TEA membership; free yourself from Freed and those who surround him. They have sold out to Sanchez and as we have mentioned in previous letters, next only to the three minions, they cheer on Sanchez, applaud him, give him accolades and seem to serve as his public relations team. TEA is not about teachers; it is about the dozen or so “leaders” who have allowed the organization to fall flat due to their self-serving interests. They lobby for themselves,” writes the group. To read the whole letter visit The Three Sonorans here.
It is for those teachers that Sauber and his band of parents have begun the recall.
Petitions are available this week at the Wilmot Library, 530 N. Wilmot Road, on Monday 4 – 6 p.m., Wednesday 9 – 11 a.m., Saturday 9 – 11 a.m.. For mre information visit tusdrecall.com