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TUSD continues pattern of secrecy with sup't hiring process

TUSD picked four finalists for the district's next leader Tuesday night: B, G, P and W. And as far as they're concerned, right now that's all the public needs to know about who might lead Tucson's largest school district. "Unbelievable," said an expert in public records law.... Read more»

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13 comments on this story

1
17 comments
Aug 9, 2017, 7:44 am
-0 +1

Thanks for this very informative article. Grijalva, after 16 years on the Board, and Foster after choosing Sanchez “don’t know enough about the legal issue” to comment? Since both of them were in the middle of the controversy last time, that defies logic (not for the first time!) Yep, transparency is about as present as TRUST among this bickering group of TUSD board members. If you were at the meeting last night, you got to see that on display as board members desperately tried to avoid designating one of them to pass information along—obviously no one trusted any of the others to do so. The names of the candidates will be released within 24 hours, ostensibly to give Dr. Clements the time to contact each of them. There will be public forums with each candidate next week, 7-9 on M, T, W, and TH (if no one drops out) at Catalina High School. Beat the bushes and get the community out as choosing a superintendent has been far too much of an inside job !

2
19 comments
Aug 9, 2017, 9:46 am
-2 +0

The story is incorrect. Of course the board members know the names of the short-listed applicants. The board is following the process announced several months ago, with the advice of the district’s legal counsel. After the applicants confirm their acceptance of the invitation to be interviewed, the consultant will release their names. This should occur soon, probably within a few hours of this post.

3
19 comments
Aug 9, 2017, 12:18 pm
-1 +0

The incorrect part is the claim that I said that even the board members do not know the names. We are following a process, similar to that used by other districts without legal challenge, which recognizes the privacy of applicants as well as the public’s desire for information. After the names are released (I expect very soon), there will be ample opportunity for public comment. I believe that the public input is important.

It is not typical in any personnel process for the public to see the names of persons who do not get to the interview stage.

4
192 comments
Aug 9, 2017, 2:19 pm
-0 +1

Stegeman is clearly not a first amendment nor public records nor right to know expert.
And he’s a pretty lousy school board member as well.

5
555 comments
Aug 9, 2017, 2:50 pm
-0 +3

Mark, perhaps in your zeal to defend a position that TUSD found to be a legal loser the last time you hired a superintendent, you misspoke regarding the process. But I’ll stand by my reporting that you said last night that you didn’t know the names of the finalists.

If you and the other board members do, so much the more reason that you should not be keeping those identities from the members of the public.

Arizona law and court rulings are clear on the matter: it’s the public’s business to know what you’re doing throughout the hiring process, rather than merely after you’ve reached a decision.

cheers,

d.

6
2 comments
Aug 10, 2017, 11:34 am
-0 +0

There are two candidates from the slithering Sanchez snake inhabited green slime era; they are Marie Marine and Stephen Trejo.  She did little to support principals after she was promoted to position that was meant to do just that. Trejo ran a school. That is all he did. He was hailed by TUSD bureaucrats for running it well and raising achievement. That is what he was supposed to do but it was seen as extraordinary. Trujillo has told principals that they have not met up to professional expectations and he has rattled several cages since he took over his post. By rattled, I mean is now holding accountable. Something very foreign to TUSD for the last 4 years. Trujillo is not from Tucson or the camp of Grijalva-ites. He is neither part of the Stegeman scheme-tank. The Kentucky person should be screened out NOW to avoid further embarrassment. She was probably screened in by Stegeman to make Trejo look stronger. He is just that deviant. 
And as for your very immediate posting of this story, seems to me you had insider scoop (thanks Kristel) in violation of Open Meeting Law. Dylan, it is OK but don’t try to cover your tracks by steaming over the “untimely” release of information from TUSD.
Hey, how come you have not covered the fact that Stephanie Boe resigned? Ya in to not outing those supported by Foster and Grijalva, eh?

7
555 comments
Aug 10, 2017, 12:21 pm
-0 +1

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, TUSD Insider. By “this story,” I believe you mean the report on the release of the identities of the selected finalists, not the analysis piece you posted your comment under: http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/080917_tusd_finalists/familiar-faces-and-controversial-outsider-as-tusd-releases-list-supt-finalists/

As a rule, we don’t comment on confidential sources, but in this case I can plainly tell you that our source of the information on the finalists names was the mass email sent to the entire Tucson press Wednesday.

If an internal source had provided that information, it would not have had anything to do with the open meeting laws. The board and officials did improperly deny to release the information for a period of time in violation of Arizona’s public records laws, and there are still records that the district has yet to release.

Stefanie Boe was working Wednesday. I don’t have any information on whether she plans to resign as district spokeswoman or not.

Update/edit: Boe has submitted her resignation, effective in two weeks.

8
19 comments
Aug 10, 2017, 1:55 pm
-0 +0

Dylan, then it was a misunderstanding. It would obviously have been impossible for us to review resumes, letters of recommendation, etc., without knowing whom we were reviewing! Maybe what I said was that we did not know the names of the applicants that had been screened out by the committee before the Board met. The substantial difference between the past and present TUSD processes is that, this time, we released the names of everyone who is being interviewed. I am not aware of any legal ruling indicating that the names of applicants who are screened out before reaching an interview must be released, but I will happy to hear qualified legal opinion to the contrary.

9
19 comments
Aug 10, 2017, 2:03 pm
-0 +0

We used essentially the same process recently used by the Amphitheater district, and I am not aware that it caused controversy or attracted legal challenge. The process was recommended by our consultant with the goal of surviving legal challenge, but of course no one will know for sure until and if it is challenged.

10
19 comments
Aug 10, 2017, 2:05 pm
-0 +0

You are right: I have never claimed to be a lawyer. On legal matters I generally rely on TUSD’s legal counsel.

11
555 comments
Aug 10, 2017, 2:49 pm
-0 +0

Mark,

Rather than carefully crafting secretive processes that you think might survive legal challenges, why not just operate in the open? 

Your contentions that secrecy is necessary were laughed out of court by a judge the last time you hired a superintendent. http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/documents/doc/080213_tusd_doc/

12
555 comments
Aug 10, 2017, 2:54 pm
-0 +1

Regarding the reporting of your discussing the process Tuesday, I’ve added a note in the body of the piece.

13
19 comments
Aug 10, 2017, 5:39 pm
-0 +0

The board has not discussed how it would respond to litigation on this issue, and it will probably not have that discussion unless litigation occurs. Obviously I cannot predict in advance how I or anyone else on the board would respond to that situation.

Separate from the current discussion over the superintendent search process, if public records requests have been ignored or improperly denied, then the board needs to know about that.

I have worked hard over the years to increase TUSD’s transparency with financial records, test scores, meeting minutes and video, immunization rates at schools, and other information, with some successes. It is an ongoing issue.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

TUSD Board President Michael Hicks and Stegeman during a Feb. 28 meeting.

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