TUSD Superintendent Claims Board Policy Trumps State Law

Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez appears to be claiming that Governing Board policy trumps state law in the matter of grade changes made by Pueblo principal Augustine Romero. According to state law, only the Board or the teacher of record can change a grade.

In a message to officials, Sanchez admits to the violation of state law, but excuses it by claiming that “Romero consulted Dr. Morado [Assistance Superintendent] and secondary leadership for guidance. Dr. Romero was advised the substitute teacher could not deny students grades for being tardy. The substitute teacher was advised that the students needed to have their work graded and counted. That was it. Beyond this, there is nothing. The principal acted within his authority and with guidance from his supervisor.”

On June 14, KGUN9 education reporter Valerie Cavasos filed a story that read in part:

Highly credible sources tell KGUN9 that an administrator changed the grades of students without teachers’ consent, a violation of Arizona law.

On May 26, 246 seniors received their diplomas from Pueblo High School, but insiders claim the number should not have been that high.

A source tells us that an administrator changed at least 4 grades in the core subject from F’s to D’s allowing those senior to graduate.

KGUN obtained documents that back up that claim.

Rather than take the matter to the Board, and allow it to make any warranted changes, Sanchez has unilaterally determined that the teacher violated Policy JE-R. He claims that “this is the major policy violated by the teacher when she denied the students access to the curriculum.”

That policy reads:

Make-up Work

• Teachers must provide all students who are absent (excused & unexcused) from each class with make-up work.

• Students will have a reasonable time (1 for 1 – 1 day absence, 1 day for make-up, etc.) to turn in the work. Teachers may make special exceptions based on circumstances.

• A coordinated school distribution system for student make-up work may be developed by the school council.

Board member Michael Hicks has called for an investigation into the matter by the State Board of Education. If the Board should determine that either administrator acted or supervised someone who acted contrary to Arizona law, they could lose their teaching certificates.

Teachers across the District are outraged by the administration’s action. They are watching the union closely to see if it will stand with teachers or the administration.

Hicks says he is pursuing the matter in defense of teachers, who have reached out to him. Those teachers are very concerned, that as was the case in the Pueblo incident, they will be undermined in an effort to artificially increase graduation rates. Hicks believes that if the public truly understood how Sanchez’s actions at Pueblo can and will affect the classroom teachers, and overall integrity of a TUSD diploma they would be outraged and demanding action by the State Board of Education and the Arizona Department of Education.

“It is vital to the overall health of our community that we protect our students and teachers from ambitious administrators seeking to create a false sense of success. It is imperative that we fight for the true success of our teachers and students,” stated Hicks. “We must restore trust. I am shocked that Board member Kristel Foster, of all people, has not come out in defense of our fellow educators.”


  1. School districts are considered as “political subdivisions” of the state. They do not just pop up out of nothing. They are created by the state and must follow state laws. End of story!

    This will result in another few hundred thousand dollars of TUSD taxpayer money being pissed away to defend the indefensible. And it won’;t be there first time…and with Sanchez at the helm it sure as heck won’t be the last. Time to see his backside as the door hits him on the way out.

  2. If I remember correctly Ms hidalgo has some issues that were the downfall of the last attempt to be on the school bored is that not correct? I cant remember what they were but I know it was enough that she was not really an answer?

  3. There’s an election in November. If you like TUSD just exactly as it is, vote for Ms. Foster and Mr. Juarez. If you want change for the better, re-elect Mark Stegeman and vote for Betts Putman-Hidalgo and Lori Riegel. These three will have different opinions on various issues and they certainly will not block vote in blind support of Dr. Sanchez. Their differences will bring more discussion and more thought to TUSD Board decisions. Both Betts and Lori are TUSD parents who’ve served TUSD in a variety of positions. They’re both very familiar with TUSD’s issues and will hit the ground running!

  4. Barbara I guess you are not an English teacher since you dont know the diffence it seems between there and their. At any rate no we do not have the complete story and tusd WILL NOT allow the story to be completed as it more than likely will show their version is fabricated or at least short in the details. The 2 clowns in this picture are both in the same HS so yes 1 will cover the other and 2 both are only there due to cronyism. Its not the substitutes fault, it is the administration IF they did not brief them and tell them what the standards are they are to uphold. Last time I checked you got $50 a day as a substitute, it may be more now but even still that does not excuse the administration and now sanchez from saying that he has override authority of STATE LAWS. Remember these guys are letter doctors and not real doctors but they seem to think their titles are if they were. Quit bowing to them and hold their feet to the fire to do what they are supposed to do, set standards and FOLLOW the standards ESTABLISHED by the STATE and SCHOOL BOARD. But in tusd that would seem to be not an obvious path to follow. Never saw a place where an EMPLOYEE told the bosses what he wanted and was going to do, have you?

    • I totally agree with you, Hank. If the substitute was a long-term one, it would have behooved the administrator to closely guide the substitute in order to see that the curriculum was followed. MANY teachers count attendance/tardies as a part of a student’s grade, especially in classes which are preparing students for the workplace environment where punctuality is an extremely important asset, such as Early Childhood Development. If the fault is that the curriculum was compromised, the onus is on the administrator, not the substitute. Also, State Law trumps school board policy as State Law has to be consistent with Constitutional Law because Federal Law is or should be consistent with Constitutional Law.

  5. I agree with Dr. Morado and Dr.Sanchez’s decision. A substitute teacher who does not allow a child to make up work missed due to a tardy or absent is wrong. We do not have all the information on what this substitute did about the grades. You have to remember this a situation that involves these children and their knowledge of the standards taught not if the are late to class. If they are late put that under behavior not knowledge. I have been a teacher for 34 years and we are their to teach the children not be attendance police. Does the child know the standard taught or not. Remember they don’t make these decisions without facts. It is not against an experienced teacher. Remember the teacher had to defend their grade also in this decision.

    • There are two things you do not know about this. You clearly do not know that Sanchez is defending the grade change by Romero using a completely different explanation than Romero himself used. Romero claimed the substitute teacher was using a curriculum that was repressive for minority students. Very different than not giving time for make-up work, wouldn’t you agree?

      The other thing none of us knows for sure is whether this substitute was a day-to-day sub or the last in a parade of substitutes teaching this class because a fully licensed teacher could not be found to teach the class full time. The likelihood is that this is not a day to day substitute …who never do grades. It was a long term sub who was hired by the contractor TUSD uses to save millions of dollars a year on substitute costs. This class should have been taught by a full time fully certified contracted teacher…but it wasn’t. And that lies on the doorstep of TUSD leadership and the fake teacher union that does nothing to support teachers. The TUSD administration treats teachers like scum and they wonder why they begin every single school years with as many teacher vacancies as all the other southern Arizona districts put together. There is no district in Arizona with nearly as many teacher vacancies as TUSD.

  6. Sabino HS tried this argument on me years ago when committed acts of crime continued to be unreported. They first claimed that they maintain their own police department. The next time they got caught they said the offenders were under age and could not divulge any info to anybody.

    TUSD is as corrupt as they come. Find a better school for your kids. Charter, private, Tanque Verde, Vail, etc…Run from TUSD.

    • TUSD Security personnel are NOT in any way equal in authority to that of any Arizona Post-licensed Law Enforcement Officers. Rapido Responso El Teamo, somebody at Sabino HS was handing you a line of Bravo Sierra! TUSD Security personnel can detain a person (student, teacher, administrator, parent, stranger on a TUSD campus, etc.), but they do NOT have the equivalent authority of any Law Enforcement Officer (LEO). That can be verified by any Law Enforcement Officer in AZ as well as by Arizona Post, the organization which authorizes a person to be a LEO who can charge, arrest, handcuff, & book said person who has been detained by TUSD Security personnel. TUSD does NOT have their own police department.

  7. The State Board of Education will side with the TUSD administrators. The Plato teacher at Rincon High School who discovered that counselors were signing students up to Plato classes in the names of teachers who had no idea that their names were being used & then the counselors were giving the students the Plato grades, informed the State Board of Education about the fraud. The Board did absolutely nothing and the fraud continued.

    • That teacher quit because that teacher had integrity, something which is a rare find among those who call the shots in Arizona’s educational system.

  8. I’m wondering if the in-coming Caterpillar people realize what sort of dump they’ve signed onto. All of their kids can’t all fit into the BASIS schools!

  9. Actually by the superintendents decree there should be NO GRADES issued to anyone for anything. Sign up for a class participation is optional. Boy what a way to run a school system and just think the bored works for this guy and endorses the idea! Well 4 of them do anyhow, the other 2 well what do they count for, just place holders to make the people think they care. Sooo SAD.

    • Simply because this has been going on for so long, TUSD graduates are now voters and see nothing wrong with the process and most likely don’t have the facilities to understand what really is going on in the system. Most likely the people that vote for the bobbleheads are told how to vote and in turn the garbage prevails. I don’t expect any changes on November. Which there would be but I don’t like the odds.

  10. Why have teachers doing the grading if this is the case? Let the administrators do that if this is going to be norm. This is setting a dangerous precedent and is another example of taking away the rights of the teachers to do their jobs. And they wonder why everybody wants to leave?

  11. Just more of the same from planet delusional and the three bobble heads. A social promotion is a social promotion. What Romero did was throw a substitute teacher under the bus and most likely would not hesitate to do it again. It is any wonder that TUSD is a major part of the problems facing this area. A diploma from TUSD means about absolutely nothing now, and with Romero’s actions, its even less. SSDD here in Pima County, the COT and TUSD. Can we even catch a break and elect some good people and make some changes for the better. I bet not.

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