I have been meeting one-on-one with TUSD community members, which has been the most valuable part of this campaign process; the meetings have convinced me that the community has the answers. The community understands the issues, and the community has ideas for solutions. I think TUSD should assemble community task forces—if district leaders really want to solve the pervasive issues.
Here are just some of the questions, issues, and ideas parents, students, employees, and ex-employees have presented:
1. Until TUSD gets up the courage to ask teachers and parents why they are leaving and what they want or would require to stay, nothing is going to change.
a. Leaders will not even acknowledge that there is a problem.
2. Why are the numbers of administrators increasing while the numbers of counselors, librarians, and custodians are decreasing?
a. The numbers of staff positions are determined by the numbers of students. Why does TUSD focus so heavily on grooming administrators?
b. How many administrators have their Supt. certificate? How many would be willing to get one if TUSD pays for it?
c. There are many highly qualified individuals currently working in TUSD who would happily take the Superintendent’s position at a lower salary and do a better job.
3. They key is not to bring a revolution; TUSD leaders have to take baby steps in the right direction because the problems are deeply entrenched.
4. The community does not trust TUSD’s school board. Members say one thing and do another. Prop 123 is just the latest example.
5. PBIS is not working the way it was implemented. Discipline is a serious problem in TUSD.
6. Stop social promotion.
7. Schools should be more community center than day-time child drop-off centers.
8. Students from Cholla High School had no math teacher, so the students were all going to receive an F at the end of the year (!). The parents rose up and insisted on fair treatment, so the students all received a passing grade that did not count toward their GPA (!). Why did they not have a math teacher?
a. This is discrimination—students did not have equal access to a math education because TUSD is dysfunctional—it is completely appalling and opens TUSD to risk of suit.
9. If $60K is ear-marked for each teacher in a given school, what happens to that money if there is no teacher? What does the Supt. do with it? If a full-time sub gets paid only around $20K, what happens to the rest of the money?
a. Why did Supt. Sanchez centralize the budgeting process so that he is in total control? What he really a CFO? Why did he not claim a CFO position on his resume? How does the decision to centralize the budgeting process serve the students?
10. Teachers report that they do not have enough resources.
11. Students report that schools do not share resources, so some schools have nice things than others.
12. Why is there no dance teacher at Utterback while there are eleven Urban Walking teachers?
13. Rather than fighting with students over cell phones, why not embrace that most students have them and put them to use in the classroom? The district can buy cell phones, at a lower cost that personal computers, for students who do not own one.
a. Is there a way to regulate Wi-Fi so that when students use it, they are regulated as they would be on a school computer (blocked from accessing certain sites)?