After meeting for several hours behind closed doors, Tucson Unified School District’s Governing Board again postponed a potential vote on Superintendent H.T. Sanchez’s employment.
Four hours after a special meeting began at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and after the board heard from speakers who supported or opposed Sanchez, Board President Michael Hicks announced the board is putting off the discussion until next week.
Asked after the meeting how long it will take for this process to play out, Hicks responded, “I hope not too much longer.”
He said two attorneys are representing the board in negotiations for an action, which he said he cannot reveal because the discussion took place in an executive session regarding a personnel matter.
Said Sanchez after the meeting, “All I can say is that I’ll continue to work hard.”
More than 100 people packed the meeting room at Duffy Community Center, 5145 E. Fifth St., and dozens gathered outside through the hours-long wait, only to be told there wouldn’t be a vote Tuesday night.
Tensions rose as audience members addressed the board and as board members argued points of order with one another.
The conversation on whether or not Sanchez should stay started two weeks ago when new board member Rachael Sedgwick requested a discussion on his employment.
The request came shortly before the deadline for putting items on the board agenda for the Feb. 14 meeting.
When that meeting began, Hicks announced the item was being taken off the agenda.
But the item on Sanchez’s future showed up again on the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting — this time with Board Clerk Mark Stegeman’s name also stamped on the request. The board has five members.
Sanchez was hired in 2013 and his contract is up for renewal in 2018. He is paid a base salary of more than $200,000 to oversee about 52,000 students in schools across the city.
The board also decided Tuesday evening that an outside legal counsel will advise it during its discussion of Sanchez’s future.
The general counsel for the district, Todd Jaeger, advises both the board and the superintendent. Therefore, Jaeger advised the board that it would be prudent to hire an outside counsel.