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New TUSD board member sworn in, Stegeman back as president

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New TUSD board member sworn in, Stegeman back as president

  • Sugiyama
    University of ArizonaSugiyama

A new member of the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, Alexandre Sugiyama, was sworn in Tuesday night after his appointment to a vacant seat.

The board elected Mark Stegeman as its president. Stegeman was ousted from that position in August because of the controversy over Ethnic Studies.

Sugiyama, an economics lecturer at the University of Arizona, was picked from a field of 54 candidates by a community advisory committee, who narrowed the list to three before the Pima County superindent of schools, Linda Arzoumanian, announced his appointment last week.

Sugiyama fills the seat left vacant when Judy Burns died in October. He will serve out the remainder of Burns' term, through Dec. 31, 2012.

After Sugiyama was sworn in, the board elected Stegeman as its leader on a 3-2 vote. Michael Hicks, another opponent of the Mexican American Studies program, was picked as board clerk by 4 of the 5 members.

Miguel Cuevas — who has been the board's president since Stegeman's ouster — and Adelita Grijalva voted against Stegeman, and Grijalva voted against appointing Hicks as clerk.

Stegeman called for an overhaul of the district's Ethnic Studies classes last year, drawing the ire of MAS proponents.

The district lost an appeal over a state order to end the classes last week. TUSD is awaiting a decision from the state superintendent of schools, John Huppenthal, on whether 10 percent of the district's budget will be withheld if it does not end the courses.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Cuevas voted against Hicks’ appointment as TUSD board clerk.

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