Tucson Unified School District Consultant Contract Scrutinized

February 18, 2014

(Photo by Steve Shadley-KJZZ)
TUSD headquarters.

Tucson's largest school district has awarded a $92,000 strategic planning contract to a company headed by one of the superintendent's personal job references. The issue is raising questions about contract protocol at the district.

Educational consulting company the Center for Reform of School Systems was recently awarded the Tucson Unified School District contract without an open bid. The Arizona Daily Star reports the company's leader not only worked with Superintendent H.T. Sanchez on strategic planning in the district he ran in Texas but also is listed as a reference on his resume.

TUSD officials said because the value is less than $100,000 the district was not required to hold open bidding or seek approval from the district's Governing Board. Two other companies were invited to bid. The school district has faced a number of problems, including losing students to charter schools and Arizona immigration policies. It also is facing criticism for ending its Mexican American Studies program.