More than 100 people showed up at TUSD's governing board meeting, expecting a discussion on the future of the superintendent's employment. But they soon found out, as the board returned from executive session, that the item was being pulled from the agenda.
Dozens of crowd members stood up and cheered when Michael Hicks, president of the Tucson Unified School District board, announced Tuesday evening that the agenda item to consider the employment contracts of Superintendent H.T. Sanchez and legal counsel Todd Jaeger would be pulled off.
Some audience members spoke in support of Sanchez and of continuity in district leadership. Others, including Betts Putnam-Hidalgo, who previously ran for a seat on the board, later said during call to the audience that they’d like to see the item put back on.
The item was put on the agenda at the last minute, just before deadline, at the request of Rachael Sedgwick, a governing board member who first took office at the beginning of the year. Sedgwick did not publicly address the issue at the board meeting.
Hicks, the board president, said he didn't know why Sedgwick requested the item to be put on the agenda and that he couldn't say what was discussed during executive session about why it was pulled off.
He said he assumed the issue of Sanchez's employment or its termination may come up again in future meetings. "I'm not going to do it," he added.
The board meeting Tuesday evening resumed with a presentation on Davis Elementary School’s bilingual program and a performance from the school’s mariachi band.
Earlier on Tuesday, Sanchez told the Star that he hadn’t received any direct or indirect communication prior to the board meeting about what Sedgwick wanted to discuss relative to his and Jaeger’s employment with the district.
"I really don't know what it's about," Sanchez said.
Sanchez was hired by the district in 2013. He’s paid a base salary of more than $200,000 a year to oversee about 52,000 students in schools across the city. His contract is up for renewal in 2018.
Tucson Education Association President Jason Freed said he thought the district had been moving in the right direction. “This is not the right time for us to change direction,” he said.