We grant our permission to publish this letter and to distribute it widely.
62nd Open Letter
From: Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, Retired Administrators, and Parents, Grandparents
Subject: Pompous Elitism- University High School’s Part 2-
We have not written since October 2017. Then our letter was about University High and today and today we are back on the same topic. This time we focus on the lack of strong leadership being demonstrated by Dr. Trujillo and the unethical tirades of individual Board members as they push their tunnel-vision resolutions and policies without valid consideration of what is best for students. Three Board members have never had children attend TUSD (K. Foster, R. Sedgwick do not have children. Mark Stegeman had a child last year), yet these three individuals are the eye of the hurricane that constantly cause havoc on the Board. Adelita seems to go along with Foster, no matter her cause. Sedgwick is a Stegeman clone. Hicks is the most independent of all, and he often gets sucked right into the hurricane. It is Gabriel Trujillo we are most disappointed in right now. He has NOT shown the strong and independent leadership which is expected from a superintendent.
The Board is being run by individual Board member’s platitudes. It is getting ridiculous and obnoxious. Board members offer resolution or policy changes to accommodate and please what they each view as their support base, while all along their “support base” ends up being a small group of people who have their attention. The students are at the bottom of the barrel when bringing forward these political resolutions and policy changes.
This is what the MAS discussion was all about last week. During the discussion, K. Foster revealed that SHE had written the resolution while she spent considerable time playing her “I am more Mexican than you” scenario. When M. Hicks and R. Sedgwick attempted, ever so clumsy, to say that they too owned Mexican pride, they were condemned. In the end, all three were doing the same thing. Foster promised that action on her resolution would bring about “healing” while taking piercing jabs at her fellow Board Members, as the mean girl always does during Board meetings. This Board is all about contention and hypocrisy which is fueled by idiotic self-serving resolutions.
This week, and in previous weeks, it has been all about Mark Stegeman wanting to please his University High constituency to which he has promised its own school site. He has discovered it just is not all that easy. Once the UHS “take over” at Catalina was torpedoed, for more reasons than TUSD has schools, he went back to scheming up a way to half-way keep his promise to his peer professors and other elitists who believe that it is perfectly all right to displace students from other schools to accommodate privileged students who attend UHS.
The new scheme is outlined below and is on tonight’s agenda (2/13/18). Do not be fooled by the fact that the recommendation is being presented by the Superintendent. His lack of experience in holding the reigns as the TUSD Superintendent has him conceding to individual Board members left and right (politically and figuratively). This will be his unmaking. He has allowed himself to be lobbied by Stegeman and UHS heavyweights and has agreed to measures which will only result in damaging Rincon High School.
The Stegeman-lobbied plan (below) moves students out of Rincon to Catalina and Palo Verde. Students will be bussed to Catalina and Palo Verde from Rincon (more buses, more routes, and more money). Enrollment at Rincon will plummet; the school will die off, a gradual morbid death. Meanwhile, the lobbying forces for the students who will be moved out of Rincon High School are not even aware of this new scheme. Dr. Trujillo’s most recent concession to individual Board members (Stegeman in this case) is not about students. Open enrollment for Rincon HS is being killed with the exception of siblings of students already attending the school and children of employees at Rincon. It as though the law exists for all schools except Rincon.
Meanwhile, UHS has been put on steroids and will be allowed to expand until it eats up Rincon. The proposed plan states that new investment will be made at the Rincon/UHS site (obviously to start fixing the place up for UHS while it prepares to eventually rid “its” campus of those “pesky-less brilliant” Rangers. It is school cannibalism and a very poor model for our community and children!
Stegeman’s self-revealed syndrome – Asperger’s- is something he has battled and in some ways defeated. In other ways, some of the syndrome’s tendencies have become habits in Stegeman. He must have his way. Always. His awkward social skills still bother him and he believes that he has won several people over through his position of power by promising “big” things and then “strategizing” his delivery no matter who or what gets in the way. His tendency to perseverate is one which still lingers. UHS is one of the “big” things he has promised. So far he has lost the battle so his scheming has been turned up to a level that may be very destructive. On top of it all, he is fixated on UHS, both out of ego and his Asperger’s tendencies (those which he has not cared to battle).
It is a well-known fact that Elizabeth Fagan left her position as TUSD Superintendent because of Mark Stegeman and his continuous intrusions into administrative matters. She just got beaten by him. Pedicone did well-cutting deals with Stegeman, especially over MAS, but then also grew weary with Stegeman’s administrative interference on a continuous basis. It was no secret that Sanchez hated Stegeman, and in this case, Stegeman’s hate of Sanchez won the battle. One serpent biting the other. We were thrilled that Sanchez left with his tail between his legs. We have to wonder, though: how many more superintendents will be chased out of TUSD because of one Associate Professor’s enormous will to get his way- at any cost!
Foster has her own very deep seeded pathologies which we call “mean girl” syndrome. The two of them are volatile. Still, we think that she may see her way into logically and diplomatically battling against Stegeman (without getting into the mud; if it is possible).
A. Grijalva already knows that was is being proposed will harm kids. Will she take the time and trouble to fight it? Her problem has always been her inability to do her homework. This time she had better read everything that is available on this issue and to make sure that the desegregation plaintiffs weigh in!
R. Sedgwick seems to be a lost cause. She jumps only as high as Stegeman tells her to jump.
M. Hicks might be the hero in all of this. He has already said he has a big problem with boundary changes. He is right. When boundary changes are made to advantage those who are already advantaged and hurt those who are less than advantaged- there is a BIG problem. We hope at least 3 members will see this situation for what it is.
A few questions that MUST be asked. What is the out of District enrollment at University High School? How will the outlined initiatives be funded and what will be de-funded to pay for UHS to have a larger school, which it will eventually take over?
We had decided to sit back and watch for awhile to see if Gabriel Trujillo was going to meet up to our expectations. So far, the verdict is not good!
TUSD Board Agenda Proposal to be Discussed at Tonight’s Board Meeting:
2018-2019 Tucson Unified School District High School Re-Vitalization Initiative
Superintendent Request for Board Action
February 13, 2018
1. The district shall review all high school boundaries and bring recommended changes to the board. The goals of this review shall include: reassigning parts of the Rincon attendance area to Catalina and Palo Verde high schools; reassigning students at over-enrolled high schools to under-enrolled high schools and reducing transportation times throughout the district.
2. With an exception for siblings of current students at Rincon and University High Schools, and children of current staff, Rincon High School shall accept no new open enrollments until new boundaries have been approved by both the board and the federal court, pursuant to the requirements of the desegregation order.
3. Enrollment at University High School shall be allowed to expand in accordance with demand, under existing admissions standards; and it shall be required to implement new measures to increase enrollment among underserved populations including the appointment of a new recruitment and retention specialist for African American students.
4. The district shall make new investments at the sites of University/Rincon and Catalina high schools, to remedy deferred maintenance and other shortcomings revealed by last year’s high school reconfiguration reports.
5. The district shall continue to work with PCC and JTED and private entities to enhance vocational and dual enrollment opportunities at Santa Rita High School, and to initiate, implement, strengthen, and coordinate CTE offerings through the district. This includes the expansion of CTE programming at Santa Rita High School for the 2018-19 school year
6. The district shall implement 7-period daily schedules at Catalina and Palo Verde high schools, for the 2018-19 school year.
7. The district shall implement AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination) school wide at Catalina High School, for the 2018-19 school year.
8. The district shall initiate evening school/extended day programs, focusing on credit recovery and inclusive of student transportation, at Catalina, Sabino, Pueblo, and Sahuaro high schools, for the 2018-19 school year.