What’s the “CHANGE” being offered?

By Cesar Aguirre
There’s been so much negative talk about TUSD leading to the election that it’s been hard for our barrio to make sense of what we hear in the news and what we’ve experienced.
I know Michael Hicks goes on right-wing radio and calls Superintendent Sanchez “King Sanchez” – suggesting that he rules the district with an iron fist and that he lies to board members Stegeman and Hicks. I know too that Stegeman and Hicks have never spoken for me or my barrio. I also know that it can be really convenient in a city like Tucson to attack a young, brown leader calling him corrupt and shady.
Why is this important? Well, how the election goes on November 8 will effect who makes up the board majority. That board majority essentially functions as the Superintendent’s boss. Would you want to work for a board majority that includes Michael Hicks? I doubt HT Sanchez would.
As a parent I’ve seen a positive change since HT Sanchez came to the district and I can only assume that the “Change the Board” people actually want to roll this back. So I asked another engaged Ochoa parent if she felt there was a difference since Superintendent Sanchez came to TUSD, here’s what she had to say.

The Real Deal on School Closures

By Sarah Launius

There’s some real mixed messages coming from some of the TUSD Board Candidates on where they stand on school closures. You may have seen these signs up at Campbell near 6th Street.

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When I saw these new signs last week I had two thoughts. First, the signs seemed completely inaccurate based on what I know. Second, I was infuriated that the “TUSD Kids First” assume that the general public is so stupid that they somehow wouldn’t know this.

Here’s the thing, beyond anything else, the TUSD Kids First campaign is endorsing Stegeman, Rustand and Betts. Of all the candidates, Stegeman is the ONLY one who has, in fact, closed schools. So, give me a break.

We’ve written about the responses to our school closure questions at the TUSD Candidate forum on October 13 here, where we include background necessary to aid our neighbors in making an informed decision.

David Safier, writing for the Tucson Weekly, also recently published on how candidates have shifted their statements on school closures during the race as well as contradictions with the voting records for the three incumbents.  You can find Safier’s piece here.

Safier mentions a few pieces that we missed. First, he discusses the operational efficiency audit that we reference in our previous blog (see too Sedgwick’s comment to Safier’s piece – but you might get disgusted if you read all the comments like we did). He also identifies statements from Rustand and Sedgwick from the forum at Palo Verde High School that indicate they believe closures should be on the table. Sedgwick discusses the possible need for school consolidations in a response to gender-neutral bathrooms in schools–which was probably an honest response from her but certainly didn’t require her to discuss consolidations. You can find that here around 1:12:00. She takes it up again around 1:35:00. Rustand discusses how TUSD may have to make hard decisions about school closures. You can find it here around 1:34:00.

TUSD Candidate Forum – School Closures

We asked candidates:

  • Do you believe closing and consolidating schools is a practical approach to addressing a budget shortfall and will you protect the over $1 million in Magnet funding that South and West Side schools receive?
  • ¿Creés que la clausura y combinación de escuelas es una estrategia práctica para abordar una escasez presupuestal y protegerás los más de $1 millón de dólares de fondos para las escuelas especializadas que reciben las escuelas en el sur y el oeste?

*Some of the candidates’ responses seemed to contradict previous statements or actions or conflict with our experiences and information. We include comments with the videos below when necessary.

Why is this question important?

For the past few years the Special Master who was appointed by the court to oversee the implementation of the unitary status plan, or the plan to progress in desegregating our schools, has recommended that TUSD remove Magnet status from South and West side barrio schools. This would mean that our barrio schools would lose over $1 million dollars used to support their unique programs.

Historically, the underfunding of South and West side schools has caused enrollment to drop, especially enrollment of Anglo students who are fleeing the district while enrollment of students of color stays the same or increases. Because funding is tied to enrollment, TUSD closed many South and West side schools as a solution to balance their budget in 2011.

Durante los últimos años un tal “Special Master” (literalmente “Maestro Especial”) quien fue designado por la corte para supervisar la implementación del plan de condición unitaria, o el plan para avanzar en la desegregación de nuestras escuelas, ha recomendado que TUSD elimine el título de escuela especializada, o “Magnet” en inglés, de las escuelas de los barrios del lado sur y el lado oeste. Esto quiere decir que nuestras escuelas en los barrios perderán más de $1 millón de dólares que se usan para mantener sus programas únicos.

Tradicionalmente, la falta de fondos para las escuelas del sur y oeste de la ciudad han causado bajadas de matrícula, particularmente en la matrícula de estudiantes angloamericanos que huyen del distrito mientras la matrícula de estudiantes que son minorías étnicas permanece igual o aumenta. Ya que la financiación está relacionada con la matrícula, TUSD cerró varias escuelas en el sur y oeste de la ciudad como una solución para cuadrar el presupuesto en 2011.

CLOSURES:
In 2012, Mark Stegeman voted to close Wakefield, Hohokam and Maxwell Middle School. He also voted to close Brichta, Menlo Park, Lyons, Schumaker, and Corbett elementary schools.

He claims that he did not support the closures of Ochoa and Mission View. Well, that seemed weird to many of our neighbors here. In October 2012, we held a TUSD candidate forum at the El Casino Ballroom. We asked candidates, “Will you vote to close small schools?” Many of the candidates specifically discussed Ochoa and Mission View. Stegeman did not take that opportunity, in front of 600 people with kids at these two schools and who live in the surrounding neighborhood, to mention Ochoa or Mission View specifically. What he did say in response to the questions is:

“I can’t give a Yes or No response to that question at this time.”

MAGNET FUNDING:
Stegeman, Betts and Rustand all claim that TUSD is not getting all the magnet funds to the magnet programs. Parents at Ochoa heard these same warnings from Betts when she was running last time.  When the parents approached TUSD about this, TUSD acknowledged the problem and corrected it–which is exactly what should happen.

When we followed up last week about these most recent claims we again learned that funds were distributed to magnet programs–some schools overspent but on average they each spent over 90% of their funds. Those that used less than 100% of their magnet funding were allocated the remaining for instructional technology. 

Make your own decision.

Check our sources:
Closure Vote
Stegeman response at 19:00

This statement seems to contradict previous statements from Rachael. At the Hispanic Chamber forum, Sedgwick suggested that the District should follow the Efficiency Audit’s recommendations which include school closures. You can find that at around 1:12:40 here.

This response is consistent with previous statements from Betts.

MAGNET FUNDING:
Stegeman, Betts and Rustand all claim that TUSD is not getting all the magnet funds to the magnet programs. Parents at Ochoa heard these same warnings from Betts when she was running last time.  When the parents approached TUSD about this, TUSD acknowledged the problem and corrected it–which is exactly what should happen.

When we followed up last week about these most recent claims we again learned that funds were distributed to magnet programs–some overspent but on average they each spent over 90% of their funds. Those that used less than 100% of their magnet funding were allocated the remaining for instructional technology. 

Make your own decision.

MAGNET FUNDING:

Stegeman, Betts and Rustand all claim that TUSD is not getting all the magnet funds to the magnet programs. Parents at Ochoa heard these same warnings from Betts when she was running last time.  When the parents approached TUSD about this, TUSD acknowledged the problem and corrected it–which is exactly what should happen.

When we followed up last week about these most recent claims we again learned that funds were distributed to magnet programs–some overspent but on average they each spent over 90% of their funds. Those that used less than 100% of their magnet funding were allocated the remaining for instructional technology. 

Make your own decision.

This statement is consistent with other statements and actions by Kristel.

This statement is consistent with both Cam’s statements and actions.

 

 

RAZA Beware! / Raza, ¡tengan cuidado!

By Brian Flagg

burkholder_betts

Someone I know saw this at a southside yard. The point is that Mark Stegeman and Betts Putnam-Hidalgo are working hand-in-hand with Republican Margaret Burkholder and wealthy Republicans such as Jim Click. He and others have raised $35,000 to fund a so-called independent committee whose focus is to change the school board. In this case, “Change the Board” means using lots of money to kick-off one of two Latin@s from the TUSD School Board who consistently advocates for west and southside schools.


Raza, ¡tengan cuidado!

Alguien que conozco vió esto en el patio de una casa en el lado sur. La cuestión es que Mark Stegeman y Betts Putnam-Hidalgo trabajan codo con codo con la republicana Margaret Burkholder y republicanos adinerados como Jim Click. El y otros han juntado $35,000 para financiar a un supuesto comité independiente cuyo enfoque es cambiar la mesa directiva escolar. En este caso, “Change the Board” (“A cambiar la mesa”) se refiere a que quieren usar mucho dinero para despedir a uno de dos Latin@s de la mesa directiva de TUSD quien regularmente defiende a las escuelas del lado oeste y el lado sur de la ciudad.

BIG MONEY VS. THE PEOPLE / LOS ADINERADOS CONTRA EL PUEBLO

1percent

by Cesar Aguirre

It seems things are getting interesting in the TUSD governing board elections.

Last week I wrote a piece titled TO REALLY UNDERSTAND TUSD BOARD ELECTION READ DAVID SAFIER, NOT JUST DAILY STAR because I feel that the mainstream media does a poor job in covering this years elections.

I’ve been following the KGUN 9 News story regarding the sizable campaign donations made to Cam Juarez and Kristel Foster by a company that is contracted by the district.

Out of this story came a request, by board member Mike Hicks, that the district attorney investigate the legality of these campaign contributions. It may be possible that accepting these donations was illegal, and we know ignorance of the law is no defense. We also know that legality and morality don’t always go hand and hand.

As voters the question we should ask is not if the law was broken, but was it done intentionally and with malice? Was there a hidden agenda or was this just a big mistake…or maybe even a setup by others who would like to see the board majority flip back into the hands of Mark Stegeman so we can go back to his agenda of school closures and arresting brown and black kids for things most teens get into while letting white students get away with a call to parents and a slap on the wrist for the same offenses.

The ‘others’ I speak of are not many, in fact, they are the minority in the district, and that eats them up.

Over the past few years, with Superintendent H.T. Sanchez at the helm, we have seen much needed resources and funding being shifted towards our south and west side barrio schools. It’s funny how the parents of students at east and north side schools feel that now their kids are “losing” opportunities even though their schools still have all they need. And what’s worse is that those same parents were so easily accepting of the way our kids’ schools had received the short end of the stick for so long.

Now we see the signs all over town from a group called ‘TUSD Kids First’ that read ‘Change the Board’ but I wonder who’s kids they are talking about when they say TUSD Kids First. They are not talking about my kids.

Last week I was speaking to my brother, Deacon Memo, and he made a statement that rang true, especially in this case. He said something along the lines of, the righteous and just rarely prevail because they are not willing to go to the lengths of evil that the oppressors are willing to go.

I see how true this statement is through these elections. The moneyed interests are doing whatever it takes to change the board and take the power back. Doing it all within the law, but with malice and very intentionally.

Read David Safier’s article to find out more about where the money to fund this campaign against the board majority is coming from: More on the Financial Backers of ‘TUSD Kids First’


Los adinerados contra el pueblo

por Cesar Aguirre

Al parecer las cosas se están poniendo interesantes en las elecciones de la mesa directiva de TUSD.

La semana pasada escribí un artículo titulado “PARA REALMENTE ENTENDER LA ELECCIÓN DE LA MESA DIRECTIVA DE TUSD LEA DAVID SAFIER, NO SOLO EL PERIÓDICO DAILY STAR” (TO REALLY UNDERSTAND TUSD BOARD ELECTION READ DAVID SAFIER, NOT JUST DAILY STAR, en inglés) porque creo que los modos de comunicación convencionales no hacen un buen trabajo al cubrir las elecciones de este año.

He estado siguiendo las noticias de KGUN 9 acerca de las donaciones considerables hechas a las campañas de Cam Juárez y Kristel Foster por parte de una empresa contratada por el distrito.

De esta historia surgió una petición, por parte del miembro de la mesa Mike Hicks, que el procurador del distrito investigue la legalidad de estas contribuciones a las campañas. Puede que sea posible que la aceptación de estas donaciones fue ilegal, y sabemos que la ignorancia a la ley no es una defensa. También sabemos que la legalidad y moralidad no siempre van de la mano.

Como votantes la pregunta que debemos hacer no debe ser si se quebrantó la ley, sino que si se hizo a propósito y con malas intenciones. Habián intenciones ocultas o simplemente fue un gran error… o tal vez hasta un arreglo por parte de aquellos que quieren que la mayoría de la mesa vuelva a las manos de Mark Stegeman, para que regresemos a sus planes de cierres escolares y el arresto de los niños de minorías étnicas por líos en los que se meten la mayoría de los adolescentes, mientras deja que los niños blancos se escapen con una llamada a los padres y una palmada en la mano por las mismas faltas.

The ‘others’ I speak of are not many; in fact, they are the minority in the district, and that eats them up.

Los ‘demas’ de los que hablo no son muchos; de hecho, son la minoría en el distrito, y eso los vuelve locos.

Durante estos últimos años, con el superintendente H.T. Sánchez al frente, hemos visto que los recursos y fondos muy necesarios los estén desplazando hacia nuestras escuelas en los barrios del sur y oeste. Causa riza el hecho de que los padres de estudiantes en las escuelas del este y norte sientan que ahora sus niños estén “perdiendo” oportunidades aunque sus escuelas todavía tengan todo lo que necesiten. Y lo peor de todo es que esos mismos padres aceptaron con tanta facilidad el hecho de que a las escuelas de nuestros niños les había tocado bailar con la más fea por tanto tiempo.

Ahora vemos letreros por toda la ciudad de un grupo llamado ‘Los niños de TUSD primero’ (‘TUSD Kids First’) que dicen ‘A cambiar la mesa’, pero me pregunto, ¿y de los niños de quién estarán hablando cuando dicen ‘Los niños de TUSD primero’? Ellos no están hablando de mis niños.

La semana pasada estaba hablando con mi hermano, el Diácono Memo, y él dijo algo con mucha razón, especialmente en este caso. Dijo algo parecido a esto: es rara la vez que los rectos y justos prevalezcan porque no están dispuestos a llegar a las distancias del mal a las que los opresores están dispuestos a llegar.

Veo qué tan cierta es esta declaración durante estas elecciones. Los adinerados están haciendo todo lo posible para cambiar la mesa y recuperar el poder. Lo hacen todo dentro la ley, pero con malicia y muy a propósito.

Lea el artículo de David Safier para averiguar más acerca del origen del dinero que financia esta campaña en contra de la mayoría de la mesa: More on the Financial Backers of ‘TUSD Kids First’ (Más acerca del apoyo financiero de ‘TUSD Kids First’).

 

Thank you to all / Gracias a todos!

Thank you to the over 140 people who joined the Casa Maria Voter Project at the final TUSD School Board Candidate Forum on Thursday, October 13 at the Capilla de Guadalupe.

Gracias a las más de 140 personas que acompañaron a Casa María en el Foro de los Candidatos para la Mesa Directiva de las Escuelas de TUSD el Jueves, 13 de Octubre en la Capilla Guadalupe.

In addition to hearing from the seven candidates, community members took time to discuss critical issues related to funding priorities, disciplinary practices, and experiences from previous school closures and consolidations. These conversation led us to learn from each other’s experiences and to articulate how we would direct the TUSD governing board to address these issues that affect our kids.

Aparte de escuchar a los siete candidatos, los miembros de la comunidad discutieron temas críticos como prioridades de las finanzas, practicas disciplinarias, y experiencias de otras escuelas que han cerrado y/o se han fortalecido. Esta conversación nos permitió conocer las experiencias de cada uno de nosotros y planear como dirigir la mesa directiva del TUSD para que se hagan cargo de las situaciones que afectan a nuestros hijos.

group

You can watch co-moderator, Cesar Aguirre, frame these important issues and how they relate to southside barrios here.

Puedes mirar el video de Cesar Aguirre. El habla de estos temas  y de cómo  están relacionados con el barrio del sur de Tucson.

We’ll be adding additional videos and statements from our neighborhood in the following days. Check back and, please, share these stories.

Estaremos agregando videos de experiencias de nuestros vecindarios en los próximos días. Por favor, comparta las historias.

FORO DE CANDIDATOS DE TUSD / TUSD CANDIDATE FORUM

Acompañenos para la cena y una conversación sobre la educacion publica en nuestro barrio. Conoce los candidatos que quieren ser elegidos para la mesa directiva de TUSD y preguntales si van a luchar por las escuelas en el barrio. Aprende por que estas eleccion son tan importantes y acerca de que podemos hacer para defender las escuelas en nuestro barrio.

Join us for dinner and a conversation about public education in our barrio schools. Meet the candidates running for TUSD school board and ask them if they will fight for our barrio schools. Find out why these elections are so important and what we can do to defend our barrio schools.

Find the Facebook Event here.

TO REALLY UNDERSTAND TUSD BOARD ELECTION READ DAVID SAFIER, NOT JUST DAILY STAR

david-safier

David Safier writes a great blog on an online daily dispatch by the Tucson Weekly called The Range.

by Cesar Aguirre

Over the past few weeks I’ve had some interesting conversations with teachers and parents about this year’s TUSD school board elections. It seems that these conversations are usually sparked by something they have read or seen on the tv news.

I don’t own a tv so I look online after finding out about the stories from others.

Of course I read the paper so I see how the Daily Star loves to go after TUSD, the Board Majority , and especially the brown Tejano, Superintendent H.T. Sanchez.

As a dedicated parent of 2 students in TUSD and a public school advocate I find it very difficult to sift through all the bull pilled on by the mainstream media. It seems that un-biased, factual reporting is becoming a thing of the past.

I have seen a lot of changes across the district over these past 4 years. Most have been good changes, especially for our barrio schools that have been neglected, ignored and terrorized by threat of state control or closure for far too long!

Our stories of success and positive change in our barrio schools is rarely reported.

We finally see the tide turning, but now we face a stronger current. The current of money that flows to influence public opinion.

On Friday David Safier published a story called ‘TUSD Kids First’ Amasses $35,000 War Chest From Large Donations (click to read).

The ‘TUSD Kids First’ campaign who’s slogan is ‘Change the Board’ is funded by just a few local big business owners or shareholders, one of whom buys large, full page color ads in, you guessed it, the Daily Star!

I read the Daily Star very critically and do my own research to come to my own conclusions. I find local online publications and blogs do a better job of doing balanced reporting.

Here is an article by David Safier that is critical of the Star’s stories about TUSD and their headlines.

Is TUSD Stiffing Teachers? The Star Says So, Repeatedly. POSTED BY DAVID SAFIER ON MON, OCT 3, 2016 AT 3:04 PM