TUSD Board To Consider Terminating Sanchez Employment

On Tuesday, the Tucson Unified School Board will receive legal advice as to employment of Superintendent H.T. Sanchez, the District’s General counsel, Todd Jaeger, as well as a settlement agreement with former custodian Reginald McClendon.

Newly elected Board member Rachael Sedgwick requested that a discussion and possibly a vote on the employment status of Sanchez and Jaeger be placed on the Executive Session and Regular Session agendas on Monday morning.

Before the agenda was published for public inspection, Sanchez’ sycophants flew into action and began calling Board members begging for a reprieve for the controversial superintendent. From the head of the failing Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Mike Varney, to TUSD Board member Kristel Foster, the handful of Sanchez supporters were attempting to prevent what has been a long time coming.

The facts alone, as set forth in the McClendon lawsuit, are grounds for Sanchez’s dismissal. Yet, there are so many grounds for dismissal, one can only imagine how long the Executive Session will last if in fact, Sedgwick lays out a case for Sanchez and Jaeger to go.

In the case of Mr. McClendon versus TUSD, it is alleged the District discriminated against the African American disabled veteran and denied him his right to take Family Medical Leave in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act.

McClendon, who started work in the District in 1983 as a bus driver, rose through the ranks and became the manager of the Buildings and Grounds Department.

According to court documents:

In 2013 and 2014, Mr. McClendon’s budget for keeping playgrounds safe was cut and the money was used for other maintenance work that was not a priority.

A few children were injured at TUSD playgrounds and that triggered Mr. McClendon’s severe anxiety because he believed those injuries could have been avoided.

In 2013, Mr. McClendon’s anxiety became so severe that he requested intermittent leave under FMLA.

In 2014, Mr. McClendon’s depression and anxiety were aggravated and, in August of 2014, he needed to take medical leave.

Mr. McClendon applied for FMLA leave and received a confirmation letter from a TUSD Leave of Absence/Benefits associate stating that his request for FMLA leave was approved, but that he would be using his paid time off first.

In the letter, TUSD confirmed that Mr. McClendon’s accrued “Paid begin date” was August 14, 2014 and that his “Paid end date” was May 15, 2015. The letter also stated that Mr. McClendon’s unpaid FMLA begin date was “May 18, 2015=60 days to use.”

Mr. McClendon was entitled to FMLA leave.

Instead, the bungling administrators at TUSD terminated his employment.

Those familiar with the missives of the TUSD Whistleblowers group are well-versed in situations in which critics of Sanchez and his team are systematically targeted for termination. As a result, the claims made by Mr. McClendon are wholly believable, which of course might be why the Board is considering a settlement.

Apart from the abuses by Sanchez and his “cabinet” of employees, are the apparent gifts of public money made illegally to Sanchez’s “cabinet” members.  Currently two case in which Sanchez illegally gave bonuses to “cabinet” members, who were not contractually entitled to them, are under investigation.

Disastrous decisions put TUSD and kids at risk

In December 2016, District leaders failed to properly notify law enforcement of an instance of child abuse, according to a report filed by KOLD reporter, Barbara Grijalva. Those records show that Sanchez failed to ensure that law enforcement and education officials were notified in a timely manner.

Sources reported that Cholla’s principal, Frank Armenta, and the accused Government teacher, Eddie Rodriquez, were friends. Because the groping of a student was caught on a security camera, there was little chance of making the issue go away.

Despite the video, TUSD leaders delayed reporting to law enforcement and failed to report anything to Board members for some time.

Relying on inadequate legal advice might be an explanation for skirting the law. It might make the issue of culpability fuzzy, but offers no real cover either.

Related article: Sanchez’s Failure To Report Sexual Abuse Puts TUSD Board, Administration At Risk

In May 2016, District was the subject of a scathing expose that revealed that the District’s administration may be actively downplaying the severity of the discipline issues in multiple schools. In response to the KGUN9 report, Board member Michael Hicks called for a full report from Sanchez, while others reportedly contacted the Attorney General’s office.

According to KGUN9”s report: “Insiders say the district’s push to reduce suspensions and expulsions to meet a federal anti-discrimination court order is causing district wide disorder.”

Contrary to that claim, the District, under the leadership of then-Board majority members, Adelita Grijalva, Cam Juarez, and Kristel Foster, adopted a far more lenient unratified discipline policy than the Court recommended. As a result, chaos has descended on the District in recent years.

An outside consultant was hired to rewrite the Guidelines to Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Board will discuss it at Tuesday’s meeting.

Sanchez management leads to more disenfranchisement

Under Sanchez’s leadership, several schools lost their magnet status. Prior to the Special Master in the District’s desegregation case determining that the magnet status would be revoked, Sylvia Campoy, one of the plaintiff representatives in the desegregation case revealed a campaign by Sanchez to mislead parents and teachers. According to Campoy, a Mendoza plaintiff representative, as part of his campaign against the Special Master, Sanchez met with parents to send a message to Chicanos that the Special Master and plaintiffs believed that students “cannot learn unless they are sitting next to a white person.”

As part of his campaign against the Special Master and the plaintiffs, Sanchez ordered the distribution of a petition to remove Campoy and others who have fought for years to ensure equal access to quality education for TUSD students.

In April 2016, Sanchez was questioned by Hicks about his absence during meetings with the Special Master, Department of Justice officials, and plaintiffs in the District’s desegregation case.

Initially, Sanchez claimed that he would be skipping the meetings due to the need for his presence at the Arizona Legislature. He claimed that he needed to lobby against bills that were coming to a vote. However, once it was revealed that there were no bills scheduled for votes due to the ongoing budget negotiation process and the demand by the governor that no bills be sent to him until the budget issues were resolved, Sanchez then claimed that he would be unavailable due to unspecified school issues.

Sanchez continued to prove he is untrustworthy

As early as 2014, Sanchez demonstrated that he never fully understood the purpose and scope of use of desegregation funds, when he attempted to remove desegregation dollars from classrooms and use them to fund daycare services. For years, the plaintiffs in the case had urged that the money be spent paying for highly skilled teachers in small sized classrooms. Sanchez ignored them.

Sanchez claimed that loans were obtained to fund the centers; however, he had been skimming money from the M&O budget. According to TUSD Board member Mark Stegeman, the loans that Sanchez claimed were obtained to fund the center are “mythical.”

At the time, Hicks said, “There appears to be a disturbing pattern emerging in the District’s leadership. The leadership claimed they were borrowing the money to retain and recruit good teachers, and now because of their recklessness we could be losing good teachers and other schools staff. The disregard by the District’s leadership for the true purpose of the desegregation funds, which is to ensure that all children have equal access to the best educational opportunity we can afford, is really disappointing. Our kids, our staff, and the taxpayers deserve better than this.”

TUSD staff, students, parents and taxpayers deserve better than Sanchez

Education activist and retired teacher Rich Kronberg stated, “It is past time for TUSD to cut Sanchez loose. His entire tenure as superintendent has been marred by lies, half-truths, underhanded financial dealings, and the use of bullying to keep unrest in the buildings underground. Perhaps the main reason he should be let go is the negative impact his tenure has had on student learning. So many TUSD schools had persistent problems with assaults, threats, bullying that went unanswered and was thus enabled. Students simply cannot learn up to their potential in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity. So many students were taught by a parade of substitutes instead of fully qualified licensed teachers. This was the result of the way Sanchez, Grijlava and their amen choir put a priority on talking about student learning, but ignored that same issue when it came time to put their money where their mouths were. Not once during the entire time Sanchez was superintendent did even half of TUSD’s enormous budget go into the classroom. It is no wonder that TUSD has been unable to fill so many of its vacancies. Even dedicated teachers will throw up their hands in the face of a district leadership…both elected and appointed…that does not care a whit for anything other than their own personal, political or financial agendas. Yes, it is more than past time for Sanchez to be gone from TUSD. Anything less than a complete severance of that relationship will mean the continuance of a toxic situation for TUSD’s staff and students. And while he is headed out the door he needs to gather up the sycophants he put on the payroll and take them with him.”

21 Comments on "TUSD Board To Consider Terminating Sanchez Employment"

  1. The Oracle of Tucson | February 14, 2017 at 12:44 am | Reply

    I’ll in shock that finally we have elected officials that will place their oaths above insider politics.
    This is so overdue.

    TOoT

  2. What great news. One can only hope tonight is the night. More need to follow Sanchez out the door. I can’t imagine the pressure that the three board members are getting from the Grijalva mafia today. Bet Raul has called at least three times each with threats of some kind.

  3. The Grijalva’s will give him another raise.

  4. Richard Hernandez | February 14, 2017 at 9:11 am | Reply

    I have called for his termination since first day new board was sworn in.

    Call Mike Hicks, Dr. Mark Stegman and Rachel Sedgweck and help them get pass the fear they have of terminating his butt! The politics of the machine the good ole boys will pressure them to keep him, why? Simple just like City & County government elected folks it is all about special interest and greed.

    This is your chance ADI readers to do something constructive. Call them email, Facebook flood them with support for new Leadership ( Superintendent ) at TUSD.

    I hope this will be contagious and propel the Voters to change City Council next year. Maybe a recall of BOS ?

    Return to simple times where the best interest of Community is the priority.

  5. Not on My Watch | February 14, 2017 at 9:16 am | Reply

    A man reaps what he sows. The list of HT’s infractions is long.
    Here’s hoping HT is held to account. He’s passed ‘GO’ too many times at taxpayer’s expense and put students, teachers, and staff at risk.

  6. I wonder what it’s going to cost we the taxpayer for firing this bozo who should have never been hired in the first place?

    • If the Pima County Attorney’s Office would investigate & charged H. R. Puff n’ Stuff with malfeasance that would stick & convict him, we wouldn’t have to pay him anything.

      • That will never happen Barbara LaWall never charges people in her party in positions of leadership with a crime whatsoever if she did the Huckster and 3 of the BOS would have been serving time a long time ago and the AZ AG is almost as useless

  7. Listen to a Mom | February 14, 2017 at 10:44 am | Reply

    Look who sprang into action upon hearing HT’s job may be in jeopardy– the head of the Crony Chamber of Commerce.

    The Chambers of Commerce nationwide are large recipients of Gates Foundation Money and lead the charge that they are the EXPERTS in education reform. The Chamber views kids as human capital. Oddly enough, no one elected them or asked them to speak on parents’ behalf. But, no matter to those who get special interest money to line the pockets of profiteers who always have their hands out to sell our kids to the highest bidder. There’s always a new shiny education reform with a big fat price tag.

    Complicit Superintendents are good puppets for the Chamber of Commerce.

  8. Disgusted Tucsonan | February 14, 2017 at 10:48 am | Reply

    Don’t forget the Mayor is in cahoots with Varney

  9. There’s a whole lot of other conniving employees in the massive TUSD swamp that need to be extricated, namely the administrators who have been complicit with other employees who have fired or run off some of the best teachers TUSD ever had. Mr. Stegeman, Ms. Sedgwick, Mr. Hicks, review the files of the teachers who’ve been maligned & fired by administrators when those teachers tried to blow the whistle on the fraud which was perpetrated by crooked administrators. Fire those administrators & seriously consider asking those good teachers to return to TUSD.

  10. I sincerely hope they get rid of him and others!! I retired from tusd in -December 2014. Yup I won’t see my 301 money, but it became so stressful that I had to go. Kids wouldn’t even listen much less attempt any woe or they would walk out of class and then just wander back in when they pleased. Admin blamed the teachers and wouldn’t even supply computers for my classroom and it was a class that required computers to complete the lessons. There were brand new computers in my lab but they said the room had electrical problems I had another perfectly good extra room to set them up but they would not do it and had admin passwords on them so I couldn’t move them. Oh and btw this was Pueblo! I had quite the paper trail to back everything up but to no avail. Contacted TEA. Zilch happened to support me. I could go on and on how the district played all of us!

  11. NO ONE can review Superintendent`s Sanchez` long list of improper behavior and conclude that he should not be terminated for cause immediately. Those on the Board and those in the broader corrupt political swamp, particularly the Dem Pty and the Varney Chamber of Commerce) that constitute Pima County “insiders” who are protecting the incompetent, vindictive Sanchez are as much a threat to the educational future of our children as is the ludicrously overpaid Sanchez. Any TUSD Board member that supports Sanchez` continued employment must be voted out of office at the next opportunity.

  12. Wayne B (rain) | February 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Reply

    Are they going to give him a huge payout, though, so he can kick back to them?

  13. HT needs to go and take Kristel Foster, Adelita Grijalva, Anna Maiden, Karla Soto, Matt Munger, Jason Freed, Frances Baneles, Scott Morrison, Stuart Duncan, Sam Brown, Mary Alice Wallace and Karen Kopec with him!!!

    To Mark, Mike and Rachael….do what is right for the students of TUSD….that is why you were elected. These adults can take care of themselves!

    • Adelina will be gone just as soon as Daddy retires and she will be his replacement in congress. Her dad was on the board back when I was in High School in the 70’s when it was called School District One nothing has changed except the name of the district

  14. Disgusted Tucsonan | February 14, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Reply

    Completely disgusted with what just happened. Unbelievable and just shows how the Machine, the Mayor, and Mike Varney control this City including TUSD. I was going to give HT moving boxes but now I’ll use them myself to get the heck outta here.

  15. Richard Hernandez | February 14, 2017 at 10:40 pm | Reply

    Hey Adi. Should anyone be reading this comment at tusd board meeting HT out smarted us ( yes me too ).

    He brought in his cheerleaders and they spoke of all great things he has done. So we have to get this item back on agenda and ALL of you I mean ALL you need to join me pointing the negative and the reasons for termination.

    If we don’t the board majority is in fear and too weak. So join me call Rachael Schedwick and tell her we We will be there as her cheerleaders let’s do this right ADI?

  16. With all due respect, anyone who did not think that Kristel Foster’s plaintive plea on both social media and her mailing list would dredge up the very people that it did lives in a parallel universe. TEA redshirts can be depended on to support their i/2 a million dollar man, as can “What would JESUS do with 1/2 a million dollars?” Brian Flagg. The only sycophant who missed it was Steve Farley–he can usually be depended on to stand up for HT, rain or shine. The meeting continued with Kristel and Adelita desperately trying to drag out interminably the very simple fact that Stegeman had actually ACTUALLY collaborated with the Special Master in order to resolve a little dishonesty issue about cut scores for 3021 money that the Board and the union had happily ignored (or did not even notice when it happened). Indeed, they made sure to get Their Boy Jason back up there, only to have him take as long as possible to first cast aspersions on the Special Master and the process of the agreement, but finally toagree that the teachers would very happily take the extra money (literally squeezed out of HTS hands by Dr. Stegeman no less!) from 301 payments they had been promised. While Kristel commented, just before talking us over the allotted 10:05 limit, that “Board members just need to limit how much they say”, if somehow there could be a policy that outlawed desperate attempts to make sure that opposing Board members get NO CREDIT for obviously good ideas, the meetings would be less than 1/2 as long as they are.

  17. Also, incidentally, the TUSD District is a member of the Chamber of Commerce (why, you may well ask!) so Varney’s points may just as well have been professional courtesy, sort of like those of the representative of ELI who also came in to support their man.

  18. …….. I wonder what it’s going to cost we the taxpayer for firing this bozo who should have never been hired in the first place?……

    Shoot put that money in the central office somewhere….label it “301 money” …. and it won’t see the light of day for a good 4-5 years….and by that time, it should be impossible to give anyone who leaves the district!!!

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