TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez Calls It Quits


Samantha Valdez, Reporter

Superintendent H.T. Sanchez signed his resignation form and 3 of the 5 Board members voted to approve his resignation. Sanchez’s resignation wasn’t a complete surprise. He had been facing problems for years now. The biggest issue that made teachers, students, and parents angry was that Mr. Sanchez received a 24% raise and teachers only had $500 dollars max. Also, many students, parents, teachers, and TUSD staff made lots of reports of little to no discipline in several schools, so an investigation started and they found out that TUSD ignored many problems (fighting included) so they could have less suspensions and expulsions. Sanchez’s resignation stated, “I leave with great pride in all that we have accomplished for our students, their families and our city. I look forward to spending time with my beautiful wife and wonderful children. It’s their turn to be my focus. I wish TUSD nothing but success. Your truly Heliodoro Sanchez, Junior.”

Deputy superintendent Karen Kopec is taking Sanchez’ place until they find someone else to take his place. Board member Michael Hicks told TUSD that he hopes they find a handful of people to run for superintendent, so the public can interview them and have a new superintendent for next school year.

Ms. Krause, English teacher, attended a Focus Group to address Transition Questions.  Here are the responses from TUSD:

What is the timeline for hiring a new superintendent? Any ideas when we can know who it will be?

–The target date is July 1st, but it could be longer.  The board has not indicated the procedure they will follow – it is their decision how to proceed – but typically you do a national search, interview candidates who meet your criteria, and hire accordingly.

Will the current interim superintendent OR the new superintendent oversee the final budget & teacher contract negotiations for the coming school year?

–The board has not specifically said how this will proceed, but the interim superintendent – who as of today has not been named – would be in charge and they would conduct “business as usual” while awaiting the new hire.  Currently, the deputy superintendent is Karen Kopec and she is the acting superintendent until they appoint an interim.

How much does the interim superintendent earn? How much will the new one earn? 

–This is unknown, as we do not have an interim. It will be negotiated.

The prior superintendent was advocating that the majority of special ed students would be placed in inclusion classes rather than separate special ed classes. Will this policy change now that we have no superintendent?  Is the plan still in place to increase the number of inclusion classes with co-teachers?

— They are still going forward with this process as it is part of “best practices” for spec ed students. Regardless of who the superintendent is, this is the plan as of right now for those students.  Currently they are working with 6 schools to pilot this new plan, but off the top of their heads, the assistant superintendent in charge of this could not name those six schools.

Sanchez paid bonuses to many of his cabinet members without public input, explanation, or reasoning. Are there any unpaid bonuses in the works that will still be paid to those cabinet members or is that finished?

— The bonuses are contractually mandated so if a cabinet member meets his or her goals, they will receive any additional bonus money that was agreed to in their contracts.

They don’t have a lot of answers about the future since so many decisions are board decisions, but it is apparently “business as usual” at TUSD with or without a superintendent.  Nobody asked the question, “If it’s business as usual why do we even need a superintendent?….”