Hicks Admits Resentment Guided Romero Contract Renewal

Children's book suit Michael Hicks. Seen here reading to TUSD students during “Love of Reading Week” [TUSD Facebook photo]

In an interview on the KVOI’s Wake Up Tucson radio show with Chris DeSimone, Tucson Unified School District Governing Board member Michael Hicks admitted that Pueblo High School Principal Augustine Romero should not have been granted a contract renewal this year. Hicks claimed that his unhappiness with fellow Board members Mark Stegeman and Rachel Sedgwick led him to cast the deciding vote in favor of Romero.

Related article: Hicks Casts Key Vote To Keep Pueblo’s Romero On At TUSD

Hicks acknowledged that it was the Board’s responsibility to vote on leadership positions, but between the recommendation by Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo to renew the contract and his spite for Sedgwick and Stegeman, he was compelled to vote for Romero. Hicks stated that although he believed that Romero violated Arizona law, his feelings toward his fellow Board members was compelling in his decision-making.

[Listen to the interview here]

This week, after a vote by the Board to make an investigation of Romero public, KGUN9 News reporter Valerie Cavasos revealed that Hicks “said another matter influenced his decision — Romero “lawyered up.”

Hicks told Cavasos, “I was informed that Dr. Romero does have a lawyer, who is champing at the bit to come after the district if he was going to be released.”

Romero was accused of and admitted to changing grades in violation of Arizona law. According to Cavasos’ report, “The Deconcini Law Firm found two district administrators who investigated the illegal grade changes did not take action, but should have. At the board meeting, Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo explained he put Romero on the renewal list because he could not revisit or change the previous administration’s inaction.”

Trujillo’s claims are specious as administrators’ contracts do not have to be renewed. In fact, statute does not require employers to provide a reason to decline renewal. However, it is widely believed that Superintendent Trujillo is “in over his head” due to his lack of experience in leadership positions. As a result, Trujillo appears to be struggling from inexperience and catering to the Adelita Grijalva faction of the Board, which now includes Hicks.

“The superintendent last night, indicated that everybody he’s bringing forward with his support and none of them are on a work improvement plan, none of them are on any disciplinary actions,” Hicks told DeSimone. “It’s hard for me to say well I don’t believe you. I’m going to let these people go anyway.”

When asked if Romero illegally change grades, Hicks responded emphatically, ”Yes.” Hicks paused briefly and then stated, “At least I think he did. Now the ADE said no. The investigation said no. Whether that investigation was right, wrong, or indifferent, I’ll tell you the honest truth; I don’t believe in that investigation but it is what it is.”

Hicks said that Stegeman “was trying to make me look bad.”

Hicks was clearly indignant when he said, “I am a teacher whether Dr. Stegman wants to realize it or not or Ms. Sedgwick. I don’t care anymore what the hell they think. I’m doing what I think is right.”

Hicks was asked if keeping Romero at Pueblo was a “positive thing for parents and students.” Hicks responded, “I don’t think so, but that’s the superintendent.” Hicks began to more heated, and started raising his voice. “Why do we hire a superintendent? Why doesn’t the Board just run the entire damn district? We don’t need a superintendent! We don’t need any of them,” said Hicks in a childlike temper tantrum.

DeSimone calmly reminded Hicks that it is the Board’s responsibility to approve or disapprove contracts for principles.

“I can tell you that if it had gone down the way it was supposed to go down, Dr. Romero would not have a contract,” asserted Hicks. “We were only going to talk about one principal,” said Hicks implying Board members may have discussed the vote in advance which would be a violation of Arizona’s Open Meeting Law. “We were going to pull only one contract and deal with that one contract, but because Ms. Sedgwick and her friend has a problem with the principal, she brings that up. Then she brings up other principles; the principle of Tucson High and all these other principles. If it went down the way it was supposed to go down’ that it was just… just the one… then Romero would not have a contract.”

When DeSimone said that Romero represented the” same crappy way things have been done in the past,” Hicks responded “absolutely.”

DeSimone told Hicks that Romero “got a contract for all the wrong reasons.” Hicks responded, “Right. And he got a contract renewal last time for all the wrong reasons. Remember the Board voted against him last time. This isn’t the first time this is come up.”

Hicks said he agreed with DeSimone’s assessment that Romero should no longer be employed at TUSD.

Last year, Hicks, Stegeman and Sedgwick had hoped to deny Romero a contract renewal, but Trujillo failed to put forth administrator contracts in accordance with Arizona law, so the Board was denied that opportunity.

“This is very disappointing,” said Sedgwick after hearing the interview. “I’m surprised that Michael Hicks would use his influence over thousands and thousands of people in TUSD, not to help, but to spite Mark Stegeman and me. I do not understand his choice, and I believe history indicates that he’s chosen to support people and ideas that operate contrary to his beliefs. I believe he may be on the ballot this November, if he collects enough signatures. I’m thankful for that at least.”

“I look forward to doing the right thing,” concluded Sedgwick. “I hope a majority of the Board will join me some day. TUSD deserves it.”

28 Comments

  1. This guy has the maturity of a seven year old. I certainly wouldn’t trust him around children.

  2. The last thing we can do (unfortunately) is to give teachers a pay raise and condone what the Board and the Admin have done to our public schools. It must be closed. there is no way to fix all that is wrong.

  3. Way past time to vote out both Hicks and Adelita! Neither one care about the kids or the teachers. They only care about themselves and their political careers. Fully expect the worst from Adelita as she is a Grijalva. Did not see this coming from Hicks. Shame on you Mike. You can blame everybody you want. Voting records have consequences. And so do elections.

  4. I have given up on TUSD and the board . After working for TUSD for 21 years I was wrongfully terminated to cover up a very scandalous situation. I was placed on the blacklist and kept from getting employment for five years. I received promises that I would get help and the situation would be delt with. After five years Trujillo finally looked at my evidence and admitted that I was innocent. He did nothing to correct the the situation and refused to take me off the blacklist, the list he told everyone that he got rid of (lie). The board has done nothing, they won’t even respond to me, even though some promised to help me, worthless. Break up TUSD.

    • Brian, TUSD needs to be closed. Do not go back to work for them. They refuse to change.

      Close TUSD.

  5. Omg you had a great Opportunity to do the right thing and flush a tiny piece of a giant turd down the toilet and you turned into a limp wrist and caved in.

    Stick a fork in hicks, he’s done and smells like overstayed in laws.

    Wow, reward failure and misdeeds, I guess we can write grade changing into the handbooks now along with dangerous work environments for teachers and kids

  6. AUGGIE ROMERO CAUGHT CHANGING GRADES FOR FAILING
    PUEBLO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. WHO DOES HE HELP?
    HE HELPS ON ONE PERSON, AUGGIE ROMERO.
    SO IMPOTENT LEMMING HICKS VOTES TO RENEW THIS CRIMINALS
    CONTRACT. MAKES PERFECT SENSE IN THIS SOUTHERN ARIZONA
    HUMAN CESSPOOL.

  7. And Catapillar (sic) is bringing their employees into THIS mess?!! But perhaps the corporation will provide a Charter school in lieu of TUSD.

  8. Hmm….. Hicks constantly talks about being a teacher . I went to the teacher rating tool for Pima CC.below are a few comments. His overall rating is 3.8.

    2016
    Great instructor that allows you to use your book/internet on the tests. Very friendly and funny guy!
    2012
    I think I finally found an instructor that shows up to class more baked than I am 🙂
    2011
    Worthless teacher; he’s definitely not a professor or anything close to it. Spent an hour talking about fantasy football then reads word for word from powerpoint slides. Even gave us the wrong test for the final and ‘don’t worry about it’. Didn’t teach us anything.
    2009
    Novell Classes. Had no interest but learned a little and got an A in the class. Tests very easy.

  9. Sedgwick from above, “I’m surprised that Michael Hicks would use his influence over thousands and thousands of people in TUSD, not to help, but to spite Mark Stegeman and me. I do not understand his choice, and I believe history indicates that he’s chosen to support people and ideas that operate contrary to his beliefs. I believe he may be on the ballot this November, if he collects enough signatures. I’m thankful for that at least.”

    Clearly Hicks has no core values Ms Sedgwick no matter how gracious you are to the dope.

  10. I noticed that Hicks is pictured reading a child’s book appropriately, although I’m sure there were some words he struggled with.

  11. “I look forward to doing the right thing,” concluded Sedgwick. “I hope a majority of the Board will join me some day. TUSD deserves it.”

    WRONG. TUSD deserves to be shut down and many of the players should be prosecuted.

  12. Hicks demonstrates preciously what going on in our DOJ regarding partisanship and lack of commonsense. Voting on someone simply because it is the opposite of those he dislikes is proof Hicks is unsuitable for the job. Perhaps he can find a job at the FBI?

  13. Does not matter who is on the board, who is the board chairman, or who the Superintendent is. The corruption continues. Students continue to leave the district at an alarming rate. Worst school district in the state and damn proud of it.

  14. And now we know Mr Hicks doesn’t deserve to be re-elected. Time to take a stand with this school board and hold Mr Hicks accountable for his voting record. Including Ms Grijalva if she decides to run for re-election this cycle as well. Her term is also up.

  15. What a POS. Another feminized liberal. He doesn’t care about the students, in fact, he threw them under the bus.

  16. SSDD in TUSD. The worst run and administrated school district in captivity. Hicks-says the guy should have been fired but you voted not to fire him. You sir are an ass and should resign for the board immediately. You have FAILED the taxpayers, students and parents of TUSD. You put your petty ego ahead of everything and made a total ass out of your self. Time for you go and pout somewhere else Mike, you don’t deserve to be in a position of any type of power. You showed you true stripes and you fit right in with the Grijalva machine. BTW, what did they offer you? Support for city council? Thought so. Dumbass.

  17. You have got to be kidding this dolt actually voted to approve an acknowledged cheaters contract who illegally adjusted grades.

    Hicks doesn’t belong on the city clownsil he should run for the state legislature. he just doesn’t belong in a responsible position that affects the education of children. SHAME on you mister hicks that is the behavior you would expect from a child.

  18. So out of petty spite for Dr. Stegeman and Ms. Sedgwick, Hicks voted to hire back a cheating lawbreaker who should have had all education credentials yanked by the Arizona Board of Education. Yeah, Hicks will fit right in on the Tucson City Council or the County Board of Supervisors!

    • All 5 of TUSD’s board members failed TUSD’s teachers and students for the second year in a row! All 5 of them, not Dr. Trujillo are to blame both in 2017 and 2018 for renewing Romero’s contract! Both times, they failed to take action.

      Before Ms. Segwick and Dr. Stegeman get too “holier than thou” about this vote, neither one of them made a motion to non-renew Auggie Romero’s contract, which they could have done. If they were so committed to non-renewing his contract, they could have made the motion to pull his contract from the list of administrators’ contracts being renewed. Instead, they allowed the up or down vote for renewal of all the administrators’ contracts to proceed without amendment and without making a substitute motion to pull Romero’s contract.

      Maybe they were just totally intimidated because 4 teachers, 1 counselor, 1 nurse and some students spoke vehemently in favor of renewing Mr. Romero’s contract. There are probably 90 or so teachers at Pueblo, 4 out of 90 spoke up for Romero! Wow! Not a single parent, and not a single person from Pueblo’s school council spoke in favor of renewing Romero’s contract.

      It’s not a violation of state law when Board members discuss personnel issues in executive session, which they did, according to the exec agenda. This would most likely have involved getting legal advice from TUSD’s attorney, which also can be done in the executive session.

      You’re blaming Trujillo for HR’s failure last year to get the contracts to the Board in time for them to non-renew Romero’s contract. Trujillo was appointed to be the interim superintendent on March 28, 2017! At the very next meeting, April 4, 2017, non-renewing administrators’ contracts was on the agenda of the executive session. If our fine TUSD Board was so hot to pull Romero’s contract, they could have taken action then OR scheduled another Board meeting before the April 15, 2017 deadline for notifying administrators of nonrenewal. The Board did nothing and waited until the April 28 meeting, when it was too late.

      So in 2017 and again in 2018, the Board has failed to take action, all 5 of them, not just Mr. Hicks. Neither you nor they can blame any of this on Dr. Trujillo.

      This year, on Trujillo’s watch, for the first time staff brought, the contracts forward in time for the Board to non-renew contracts. AND, the Board took no action!

      All 5 of TUSD Board members failed TUSD’s teachers and students.

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