Town Hall Meeting

From: ASDB 2013 < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >
Date: Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 2:50 AM
Subject: ASDB Report - February 24, 2014 - Town Hall Meeting Takes Place; "Need to Clean House;" How to Contact Your Legislator

ASDB Report - February 24, 2014
  • Town Hall Meeting Takes Place
  • "Need to Clean House"
  • How to Contact Your Legislator
(221 Subscribers)
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.
This link has the actual language of the bill (The BLUE words are the PROPOSED ADDITIONS; the BLACK words are the ORIGINAL words; the RED words are the PROPOSED REMOVED words from the law):
This link officially summarizes the bill:
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?!
If you are a registered voter, visit this site to find out who your state representative/senator is!
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! 
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

Az Daily Star Febuary 14, 2014

Settlement reached with former ASDB superintendent

FEBRUARY 14, 2014 3:00 PM  •  

The Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind’s governing board has approved a settlement with Superintendent Robert Hill.

Details of the settlement approved Thursday by ASDB’s governing board were not available.

Hill was paid $125,000 a year and had about a year left on his contract, according to school officials.

The agency hasn’t yet to begin the process of searching for a new superintendent. School officials are awaiting the outcome of a proposed state Senate bill that would give the governing board more flexibility in hiring for the post, said board President Michael Williams.

The bill would allow the board to hire a superintendent who doesn’t have a specialized background in the education of the deaf or blind, Williams said.

The next superintendent should have strong administrative skills such as managing the agency’s budget, handling transportation needs and listening to recommendations from principals and teachers, he said.

Principals and teachers should run the schools, he said.

“Parents should not go to the superintendent with problems” regarding school related issues, he said. “They should go to the principals.”

The agency could hire two superintendents, one to oversee the blind program and another for the deaf school.

Hill had been criticized for poor leadership and a lack of communication with students, staffers and parents.

He was placed on administrative leave in October as the school investigated his conduct toward five employees who accused him of harassment and discrimination.

The report cleared Hill of any wrongdoing. However, former Assistant SuperintendentNancy Amann, one of the employees who filed a complaint that led to the investigation, is suing the school, saying Hill retaliated against her after she filed a separate grievance against him.

In addition, a separate investigation released in November from the state auditor general faulted Hill and other school officials for tallying almost $10,000 in inappropriate travel expenses over three years. Hill accounted for about $8,700 of those costs.

Hill also received scrutiny for a possible conflict of interest with former board PresidentBernhardt Jones for their involvement with a company that administers an assessment test for classroom interpreters.

The series of investigations and complaints began last spring amid student protests after the school suspended its agricultural program and fired a popular teacher.

Assistant Superintendent Bill Koehler was appointed interim superintendent in October.