Photo: Maria Inés Taracena
Our very own David Safier gave us a good summary last week of Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez's new contract and salary deal
. Basically, Sanchez will head the district until at least 2018, and his base salary is increasing to $260,000 this school year, reaching $280,000 on his proposed final year. There are also opportunities for incentives, which are discussed by the ninth anonymous letter criticizing the district's leadership.
I never understood these so-called incentives in institutions being sucked dry by the state (UA President Ann Weaver Hart also gets generous incentives, despite continuous cuts and tuition hikes), but that is how things work.
And because I think criticism and praise deserve equal attention, here's a portion of the letter—released on Thursday—where the contract deal is discussed:
Sanchez’ Aloofness with Site Administrators & His Need to Become More Political
Until the Board meeting of June 9th, Dr. Sanchez’ aloofness during meetings with principals just did not make sense. He has gone from being politically friendly to becoming more and more aloof. Principals have always been treated as the superintendent’s essential partners in bringing about success for their school district. Sanchez treats most of us as though we are bothersome; a burden.
Several site administrators have commented on the immense superiority complex that has developed during Sanchez’ two years as the TUSD Tsar. It once again hit us- this Superintendent Sanchez-Frankenstein has been created. The June 9th three to two vote on the best kept secret of the month- Sanchez’ employment contract- revealed what is behind the Sanchez aloofness and the ballooning of his superiority complex.
He has three solid- no questions asked- blindly-loyal-to-the-death board members and now he is here to stay until 2018 at about $400,000 per year. He coerced his three to renew his contract now; less than two years into a three year contract- or he would get snapped up by another school district. This seems like a form of extortion. It worked. (We suspect that any school board that would do just a little research would not employ Sanchez.)
During the discussion on the contract, Juarez appeared to have broken his truce of silence by admitting that he had received a draft of the Sanchez-contract some weeks ago, via email, while Mark Stegeman and Michael Hicks complained that they had not seen the contract until they walked into executive session earlier in the day. Juarez took to scolding them for not reading their email with the drafted contract.
As Juarez realized his stupidity in disclosing the receipt of the drafted contract, he awkwardly insisted that he had not said what he had just said. Realizing, of course, that what he said is recorded, he then said that what he meant to say was that all Board members were made aware that the contract would be presented but that he had not received a drafted copy via email. The back peddling was pathetic and the foot in his mouth just could not be extracted. Is it possible for one person to be dumb and dumber?
The Board had been counseled by their attorneys not to discuss the contract until after the vote on the contract took place and the contract was signed.
Sanchez received three solid votes for his near $400,000 contract; pretty good for a rookie superintendent! (Remember, he had served as an Interim Superintendent at Ector County Independent School District from March 13, 2013 until he was appointed TUSD’s Superintendent in July of 2013 from a finalist pool of one.) He had 4 limited months of interim status superintendent experience when he was hired. Now, that is a rookie; and an interim rookie at that!
Once Grijalva, Foster and Juarez rationalized their support for the contract renewal- they voted yes. Neither Stegeman nor Hicks voted in favor of the exorbitant contract. Sanchez has lost one vote during his less than two years with TUSD.
Sanchez received a gargantuan raise and incredible benefits.
Sanchez’ base salary for 2013-14 was $210,000. His newly approved 5 year colossal base salary for 2015-16 = $260,000; 2016-17 = $270,000; 2017-18 = $280,000. These amounts are just the base salary. He gets a guaranteed raise every year he remains employed by TUSD along with incentive pay of $25,000 each year for the next two years he remains. He will receive a bonus of $152,500 for remaining with TUSD the third year of his contract. Sanchez also gets 44 vacation days that he can turn in for cash at the end of each year and a raise every year he stays and incentive pay of $25,000 for each of the next two years he stays. He will get a bonus of $152,500 for staying the 3rd year. He continues to get $3,000 to join organizations of his choice and received a $25,000/year stipend to with as he pleases. (Many times he buys tables at events such as the LULAC Awards Luncheon and “invites” Board members to sit at his table.”) Additionally, he gets a 6% performance bonus every year. The contract is arrogant; the action taken by the Board was arrogant and commits tax dollars until 2018. Foster’s and Juarez’ terms end December of 2016. They have committed funding to Sanchez beyond their term. It is enormously presumptuous of them. We assume that they assume that they will be automatically re-elected.