ASDB Report - February 24, 2014
- Town Hall Meeting Takes Place
- "Need to Clean House"
- How to Contact Your Legislator
Town Hall Meeting Takes Place
(First and foremost, Parents David Bailey and Rob Voreck wish to apologize to the Hearing/Hispanic community members. It was not our intention to exclude these populations; instead, we wanted to focus on the Deaf community first, as it has clearly been the Deaf community that has been most severely impacted by the current events at ASDB/PDSD. We will be hosting open community meetings in the near future with open invitations to Hearing/Hispanic populations. We do apologize for not being clear with our original announcements.)
Nearly 50 people attended a Deaf Town Hall Meeting at the Phoenix Deaf Community Center last Friday.
Following a summary of events since the Spring of 2013, the floor was opened up for comments, opinions, proposed actions from the attendees, which included Deaf organization officers, ASDB/PDSD staff, and a Board member.
In an emotionally-charged meeting that included several heart-felt comments that brought speakers and attendees to tears, it was readily apparent to all that, despite the removal of Robert Hill as Superintendent, ASDB/PDSD is still an incredibly dysfunctional state agency with an inept acting assistant superintendent and an unethical Human Resources department as well as being an agency riddled with nepotism, inflated pay scales for administrators, and incompetency.
It was noted that one Deaf family had contributed nearly a hundred years of employment service (YES, a HUNDRED years of service) to ASDB/PDSD and yet they were ultimately treated like outcasts by, not just the Hill administration, but by the current acting assistant superintendent, William Koehler, who now refuses to allow said family members to work for ASDB/PDSD because they are a danger or disruption to the campus and students.
One of the most heartbreaking moments of the evening came when a PDSD staff member disclosed how incompetent ASDB payroll was in handling her payroll status to the extent that she saw her most recent paycheck being only $170 despite working at least 32 hours a week. She wondered how she could support her family with such incompetence at ASDB.
There was also immediate concern over the recently proposed legislative bill, Senate Bill 1393, that would fundamentally change how ASDB operates.
Every one in attendance universally supported the bill's main intent to hire TWO superintendents: One for the Deaf school and one for the Blind school, but many questions remained.
The fundamental concerns were:
- Why did the bill exclude language that required superintendents to be "qualified" Deaf/Blind administrators?
- Who originated the bill in the first place?
- Why was the ASDB Board not aware of such drastic legislation until ASDB Board President Michael Williams dramatically announced its existence at the last ASDB Board meeting?
- What was ASDB Board President Michael William's involvement in this legislation?
- Why wasn't the deaf community included in the planning of such legislation?
"Need to Clean House"
The following actions were proposed by the attendees:
- Promoting awareness among the Deaf community of their need to be involved politically; i.e. with their legislators;
- Asking the ASDB Board to open an investigation into the reclassification/payroll increases/uncontested hiring of administrative positions by administration and Human Resources;
- Asserting their right to voice their concerns to the ASDB Board in regards to contract renewals for ASDB employees;
- Public demonstration at the State Capitol;
- Public demonstration with the Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL);
There was also a proposed action of rallies at both ASDB-Tucson and PDSD campuses; however, PDSD Principal Lisa Svenningsen stated that such actions are disruptive to the students' learning environment as well as being detrimental to staff resources.
How to Contact Your Legislator
First and foremost, if you are not registered to vote, don't even bother contacting your state legislator. Why should they listen to someone who can't even vote?!
Look at the "Legislative District" Number.
Find who is listed with YOUR legislative district number. That is their email!
Email them and tell them that you are a voter in their district and that you want them to look closely at what is happening with ASDB! Tell them if you support the proposed bill, SB 1393, or not!
Heck, if you got a pothole in your front yard that hasn't been fixed, tell them about it too! These are the people who represent you in Arizona!
TELL THEM HOW YOU FEEL!
On a personal note, Friday's town hall meeting was one of the most emotionally charged moments I have ever experienced.
Even though Robert Hill is no longer superintendent, it is clear that most of the people that he hired are still continuing to damage ASDB/PDSD.
It is also clear to me that Robert Hill abused his position as superintendent of ASDB by turning it into a place where his family and friends greatly benefited while the teachers of ASDB and PDSD suffered.
The number of family and friends of Hill and his associates that are profiting from ASDB is shocking.
The ASDB Board's job didn't end with removing Hill.
They have to clean up the rotten and corrupt organization he left behind as well.
We have to make sure that the Board has the courage and strength to do so.
-Rob Voreck, PDSD Parent