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54 apply to fill Burns' seat on TUSD board

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The list of those who applied to fill a vacant seat on the TUSD Governing Board includes a former board member, a former congressional candidate, and two failed board candidates, among 50 other political activists.

Among those applying to replace longtime Tucson Unified School District Governing Board member Judy Burns are:

  • Mary Judge Ryan, a former TUSD teacher and Democratic congressional candidate, along with having been a chief deputy to Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall.
  • Miguel Ortega, who touts his status as the runner-up in the last TUSD board election. He's a staunch supporter of the district's embattled Mexican-American Studies program.
  • Armand Salese, who also lost a race for a seat on the board.
  • Bruce Burke, a former TUSD board clerk who didn't seek reelection in 2010.

The full list of those who applied before Friday's deadline:

  • Raymond Adkins, Jr.
  • Menelik Bakari
  • Frieda Baker
  • David Bartlett
  • Stephen Brelser
  • Bruce Burke
  • Donna Calvert
  • Kathleen Marie Campbell
  • Debe Campos-Fleenor
  • Jacqueline Croteau
  • James Culbertson
  • Ruth Davis
  • Anthony Michael De Gennaro
  • Curtis Dutiel, Jr.
  • Michael LeRoy Ebert
  • Ralph Ellinwood
  • William Estes III
  • Therese Flores
  • Kristel Foster
  • Gary Fowler
  • Marilyn Freed
  • Ezekiel A. Gebrekidane
  • Bob Gilby
  • Michael Gordy
  • Dale Keyes
  • Gary Kordosky
  • Vincent Luongo
  • Kimberly McNally
  • Jacqueline McNulty
  • Robert Medler
  • Laurie Meier
  • Leticia Menchaca
  • Ronald Michaels
  • Sansa Morse
  • Lynette Olsen
  • Miguel Ortega
  • Kristina Pallack
  • Ray Paulus
  • Jennifer Peebles
  • Vicky Puchi-Saavedra
  • Elizabeth Putnam-Hidalgo
  • David Scott Ricker
  • Rebecca Rico Montaño
  • Lori Riegel
  • Mary Judge Ryan
  • Armand Salese
  • Ross Sheard
  • Cornelia Skelley
  • Scott Stewart
  • Alexandre B. Sugiyama
  • Christopher Thomas
  • Anne Weeks Shiff
  • Michael Wilson
  • Martin A. Woolf

Linda Arzoumanian, Pima County school superintendent, told the district last week that she will call a special election for May 17 if TUSD doesn't name a fifth member of the committee charged with picking someone to replace Burns, who died last month.

Arzoumanian can either fill the vacant Governing Board seat by appointment, or call an election.

She had determined to appoint a new Governing Board member, to speed the process and save TUSD the $250,000 cost of a special election. Arzoumanian asked the district to name a 5-member panel to review applicants for the spot and make a recommendation.

I am disappointed that the TUSD Governing Board is unable to comply with my request," Arzoumanian said in her letter. "As
you are well aware, the option of conducting a special election will come at a significant cost to the taxpayers of TUSD."

Without a replacement for Burns, the Governing Board is likely to continue to split 2-2, as it did last week.

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While board members agreed on a parent, teacher, community member and business leader to appoint to the panel, they repeatedly split on a fifth member.

Those picked for the advisory panel:

  • Parent: Tola Barker, recommended by Miguel Cuevas.
  • Teacher: Michele Harbour, recommended by Mark Stegeman.
  • Community member: Steve Holmes, recommended by Adelita Grijalva.
  • Business leader: Charles Weisel, recommended by Michael Hicks.

When they couldn't agree on the 5th member board members forwarded Arzoumanian a list of names, asking her to pick one:

  • Roxanne Begay-James, recommended by Grijalva.
  • Juan Ciscomani, recommended by Stegeman.
  • Colleen Niccum, recommended by Cuevas.
  • Johnny Renfro, recommended by Hicks.

"Leaving the decision to this office is not an option," Arzoumanian said.

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