The Tucson Community- 18th Open Letter
Subject: HT Sanchez has been a bad (2013), very bad (2014), very- very bad (2015) Superintendent! Coal is all HT Sanchez gets in his stocking.
HT Pretends He Cares But Does NOT
Most know that HT spends a great deal of unpaid-political commercial time talking about the Steps to Success Program. Every photo opportunity he can conjure up with Mayer Jonathon Rothschild is blown up on the TUSD website. He has dozens of pictures of Mayor Rothschild and him in buddy poses, which obviously pleases HT enormously. On Thursday night, December 18, 2015, TUSD celebrated its mid-year graduation. It is quite spectacular and includes students from almost every high school in TUSD. Of the students graduating, ten of them earned their diplomas as a result of the Steps to Success Program. HT’s name was prominently printed on the graduation program and yet, he was a “no-show,” probably well on his speedy way back to his homeland of Texas. (As soon as he crossed the Texas border and was on Texan soil, he probably got out of his big-bad truck and kissed the Texan earth, as he has bragged about doing before.)
We guess that seeing seniors from most high school graduate, including the ten Steps to Success graduates, just was not important enough for HT to hang around before he barreled out of town. If he knew he was going to be absent from the graduation, why was his name on the program? (Which, BTW, said “Class of 2016” instead of Class of 2015” which is more than a minor typo to graduates and their parents and which shows great disrespect to the students!) If there was a justifiable reason for his absence, it was not provided during the graduation, which would have been appropriate. Instead, his “no-show” status indicates his total disregard for students. 1 lump of coal for HT for not caring! “Bet-cha” he comes up with some dramatic excuse for his absence.
HT Sanchez has No Real Roots in Tucson. Talk of Commitment to Tucson is Just Cheap Talk.
Do y’all know that HT has been renting a house in Tucson since he arrived? He is NOT a property owner and he has obviously not made Tucson his true home. A man that makes $300,000 a year and chooses to rent ain’t here for the long haul, that’s for dad gone sure! HT lives in the prestigious Sabino Canyon area and is a Fruchthendler parent but hypocritically commented to Ochoa parents that as a Chicano he should not have to sit next to some white kid to learn. He would never say the same thing to Fruchthendler parents. This is no small thing. For speaking out of both sides of his mouth (again) HT gets another lump of coal (2)! For being a racist opportunist, he gets yet another lump of coal (3).
HT’s Secret Secrist Middle School Care Team Report Goes Public! HT Punts the Blame to the Secrist Principal and Assistant Principal Who Were Left Holding the Empty TUSD Bag and Then Blames the Media.
On November 5, 2015 a report on Secrist was provided to the administration. It listed numerous problems at the school. On December 14, 2015 (more than one month later) the Arizona Daily Star broke the story about Secrist. http://tucson.com/news/local/education/discipline-problems-at-secrist-trigger-special-tusd-task-force/article_2c7cfee0-2dec-5e6c-8298-743298b3abf2.html
Then K-GUN News ran the story the following day.
After the story broke, HT addressed the faculty at Secrist and said the situation was a good example of how the media spins anything about TUSD into “a negative,” blaming the Arizona Daily Star and K-GUN News for the way the issue was covered. We texted, called and emailed as many people as we could about his outrageous blame and hope that the media got wind of how he plays them.
The situation at Secrist is even worse than what the Care Team reported. We know, since some of us have direct knowledge of the situation. Thus, the Star and K-GUN were not responsible for the “negative spin” and HT knows what he said to the faculty is just another save-thyself lie! HT and his leadership team have provided Secrist with NO support and all of the blame. They ignore problems when they are raised. Training in the discipline area has been nothing short of pathetic. We have way too many substitutes. The Secrist administration, just like all others, has been told not to call the police, even for assaults. This directive is meant to present false numbers by lowering suspension numbers so that HT can falsely brag to the Court that the numbers have gone down. It is another HT sham, similar to the magnet school sham.
Shortly after the Arizona Daily Star broke the Secrist story, we received word that HT had dismissed or transferred the Secrist principal and assistant principal and later found out that the principal was re-assigned to Pueblo as an assistant principal and the assistant principal is now a learning support coordinator. If HT felt that as a result of the Care Team Secrist Report, it would be to the school’s best interest to transfer the administration elsewhere, why did he wait more than a month to act, and why was the decision made only after the secret report was made public? HT scape-goateed the Secrist administrators by having them take the fall for failures that all point to HIS lacking leadership. It is not that the Secrist administrators are the strongest of administrators, but they were set up for failure, as are many administrators. Remember, the discipline problems at Palo Verde? It certainly did not result in transferring the administration out. And, if HT does not have confidence in the Secrist principal, why is he moving him to Pueblo, where discipline is also a big challenge (as in guns and gangs on campus)? (BTW, let us point out once again that Auggie Romero is a “missing in action” administrator at Pueblo, while gangs escalate and guns find their way onto the campus.) HT’s domino moves are irresponsible and overall damaging.
One of the most OUTrageous things about the Secrist situation is that HT appointed Marcia Volpe as Interim Principal. She is one of Abel Morado’s favorite people, since she showered him with blind loyalty at Tucson High when he served as principal and she was an assistant principal. He has continuously given her TUSD gigs and brought her back as a retiree, double-dipping, just as he does. Recycled administrators have become one of several manifestations of cronyism in our “good-old-boy/girl” District. We believe that Marcia does NOT have the required state administrator certification to allow her to evaluate teachers. But why would HT care? After all, he needed to draw attention away from himself and scrap the current Secrist administrators to make it appear as though the problems were all their fault. What does it matter if he places a “Morado-crony” at Secrist who is not qualified for the job? It is just more of his ineptness which continues to poison TUSD.
Time and again we have shared the very poor treatment that many of our colleagues have received from the HT administration and the events which took place at Secrist continue to show a very weak and ineffective superintendent, which gets him his 4th lump of coal.
Winter Break for TUSD Means a Complete Shut-Down of the Operation
We disagree with the mentality that any thriving public service should COMPLETELY shut down for two weeks for any reason. We also believe that the excuse given (saving money) by HT to shut down TUSD is not valid. HT wants time in Texas, which in his narcissistic mind, justifies closing the entire TUSD operation down. He just does not want to be bothered during HIS vacation. HT announced to principals that they absolutely are NOT to go into their schools during the break. Several site administrators take issue with this, since we could do a lot of work to catch-up or get ahead on a variety of projects. But HT has made the decision not to allow us in our schools. He did say that if we wanted to, we could drive by our schools to check on them. Really? Are we now relegated to security guards? Principals have no say in TUSD (except for his fair haired few). The 4th coal is dropped in HT’s stocking for his lack of understanding about what principals do (he was not a principal long enough to have figured it out.) And the 5th coal is dropped into his stocking for his lack of empathy and, again, for his poor leadership.
The Court Rendered its Decision on the TUSD Comprehensive Magnet Plan and TUSD Immediately Challenged the Transition Plan Requirement for the Magnet Schools. TUSD Superintendent and His Legal Counsel Do NOT Want to Be Forced to Plan Ahead. How Dare the Court!
The Court said NO to the District and pointed out that it was not confused, as TUSD had alleged of the Court. How many times does the District need to be told what to do and how many times will it continue to insult the Court? Is it HT’s arrogance that is driving the USP into the ground or is it inept legal counsel? Or is it a combination of the two? What do the tres amigos (HT’s 3 flunky Board members) have to say about the mess that has been created in implementing the USP? Even with the recent order from the Court, which basically instructed the Board president (Adelita Grijalva) to actually read the court orders, (thereby holding her accountable to following the court orders) it seems that she does not give a damn about USP compliance and that Cam Juarez and Kristal Foster are of the same mind. HT gets 36 lumps of coal in his stocking for ignoring the magnet schools for each month he has inadequately served as superintendent.
The Arizona Daily Independent –Court Denies TUSD, “The Court Was Not Confused”
The Three Sonorans –Is Judge Bury “Fed” up with TUSD? Latest Deseg Ruling: Stop ignoring the facts!
Arizona Daily Star columnist Tim Stellar has his own version of coal for TUSD. His recent column addresses the recent court orders pertaining to TUSD’s magnet schools and the District’s motion for the Court to reconsider the order. It is a must read! He says that he felt vindicated from Adelita Grijalva’s challenge to his earlier contention that TUSD was misleading parents about the issues surrounding magnet schools. He explains that the Court Order directs the Special Master to make sure that she receives all the court orders, and he states, “a subtle suggestion that she didn’t know what she was talking about.” This is the understatement for the year 2015!
The Facade of TUSD Stability/Continuity
Adelita Grijalva’s platform during her re-election campaign was all about stability and continuity and even though she won her desperate bid for re-election with her daddy’s assistance, which required fund raising from his Washington DC connections and calling in every local favor possible, her vote drop-off from previous elections was very significant. TUSD is in trouble and it is in more trouble now than it was prior to hiring Rookie Superintendent HT Sanchez who has been learning on the job since July 1, 2013, along with each and every rookie that he has hired.
The community is becoming more and more aware of the downward spin that TUSD has taken. The current TUSD condition is not “stability” and no one in their right mind would want to encourage continuity of the chaos.
- decreased student enrollment
- great disparity in student achievement (given newest achievement scores form the state)
- lack of leadership
- poor communication
- intentional non-compliance with Title I and the desegregation court order
- decreased focus on curriculum development and implementation
- a union that (TEA) is all but totally broken (and grossly manipulated by HT)
- a ridiculous turn-over rate for administrators and teachers (Currently there are between 100 and 120 teacher vacancies!)
- less transparency in all decisions
- strong suspicion of illegal financial decisions/actions
- NO neutral office for employees, students, parents to report malfeasance, discrimination, violations of the USP or other wrongdoings
- lack of respectful treatment of administrators, teachers, blue and white collar employees
- misinformation (LIES) provided to employees and parents
- a great split on the Board which is fueled by HT Sanchez
- low morale throughout the District
- performance standards for principals are non-existent
- leadership modeling and mentoring is a pure joke
- corrupted rationale in making administrative decisions which do not serve children
- HT’s “leadership” team is weak and comprised of “yes” robots and all are rookies
And yet, with all of the chaos that has evolved during the last three years, Kristal Foster is talking of running for re-election on a platform of stability and continuity, just as her mentor Adelita Grijalva did. The problem is, she does not have a political hack dad to call in 50 local political favors or fundraise from Washington D.C. pockets. Cam Juarez has not yet truly committed to a run to keep his seat and word has it that the brain behind the scenes (his spouse) is not too happy with things as they are (TUSD and perhaps more). The bottom line is, TUSD needs drastic reform and with the current Board majority, reform doesn’t have a chance! HT gets another 20 lumps of coal for his ineptness.
Academic Achievement Scores Show Great Disparity in TUSD
As long as TUSD continues to deny that many schools are not receiving the support needed to provide quality education, scores will continue to plummet. Only schools like Fruchthendler and UHS, which operate as quasi private schools, have a chance at suitably supporting student learning since they have both the political clout and fundraising capacity to make sure that textbooks are available for every student; that enrichment programs are offered (Fruchthendler); that tutoring is provided to students who need it (private tutoring is affordable for most Fruchthendler and UHS parents, although, we wonder what happens to students whose parents cannot afford it). UHS and Fruchthendler do not have long term substitutes because their parents would not tolerate it.
Most schools do not have full staffing. Within the last few days we have counted between 100 and 120 teacher vacancies. (HT’s idiot idea to lower the class size, while some staff recommended against it for sound reasons, has only made matters worse both in creating more teacher vacancies and in the provision of classroom space.) Many schools, going into the second semester, have long-term substitutes. Schools do not have full sets of textbooks and/or sufficient textbooks and workbooks for each student. The provision of classroom supplies falls on most teachers. Instead of ensuring that the monies raised at the school level are kept at the school level, funding has been extracted. Schools are not allowed to discipline as needed. Not because of the court order but because of HT and his goal to lower discipline numbers artificially to fool the Court.
Communication with the schools is at an all-time low. Secrist is one example of the great disconnect between 1010 and the schools and with such a wide gap between HT and the schools, the impact on students is devastating.
There are not enough lumps of coal to ding HT for his lack of support for each and every classroom, however, we are adding 115 lumps of coal for each teacher vacancy.
The Incompetent Board Majority
Kristal Foster, Cam Juarez and Adelita Grijalva have been negligent in providing policy and fiscal direction and in holding HT Sanchez accountable. They have almost totally excluded Mark Stegeman and Mike Hicks TUSD from Board engagement. They each are barely allowed to speak during Board meetings. Adelita has acted as the dictator, muzzling them as much as possible. Krystal has become the mean girl on the Board, sarcastically attacking Hicks and Stegeman at every opportunity. Cam, has attempted to bully and be the touch guy but he is not even smart enough to be a bully. TUSD has suffered enormously due to their poor hiring practices in selecting HT and for allowing him to serve as both policy maker and administrator. He was not the most qualified for the job to begin with, but they have virtually handed him all decision making authority, which is unconscionable. There are NO checks and balances in TUSD right now.
The constant attacks on Mike Hicks and Mark Stegeman by HT’s tres amigos has divided the Board and created a tremendously unhealthy institution. Instead of making any effort to bring the Board together, HT has poured continuous kerosene on the flame (board division), which has essentially given him more power and provided for even less checks and balances. If he is nothing else, he is devious.
Adelita Grijalva, Kristal Foster and Cam Juarez get three times the lumps of coal as HT for their incompetence and neglect. It is not clear who of the three will be Board president. What is sad, is that it does not matter. Nothing will change until there is a change on the Board and HT permanently heads back to Texas.
Many, Many Thanks!
Thanks to all who have helped us spread our letters: Three Sonorans, Arizona Daily Independent, Tucson Weekly. All of our letters may be found on Three Sonorans @: http://threesonorans.com/tusd-whistleblower-archives/
And…faithful readers please forward to your server list.
The stakes have never been higher. Remember- the re-election is nearing. Foster and Juarez must NOT be re-elected! They do not perform their due diligence; they do not inform themselves outside of what they are spoon fed by HT; they are not promoting policies or actions that best support students. They need to be replaced by progressives who are willing to be Board members instead the minions we have now.