KGUN 9 On Your SideNews

Actions

Pueblo Grade Change: TUSD won't release probe findings to teacher

Posted: 7:20 PM, Nov 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-02 17:59:40Z
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - So whatever happened to the Pueblo High School principal who admitted to changing the grades of several graduating students at the end of last school year. That's what many KGUN9 viewers have been asking for months so tonight we have an update.
 
It was back in June that our investigation revealed principal Auggie Romero changed the grades of 6 students without the teacher's consent -- a violation of state law.  If their grades had remained as "F"s they would not have graduated. 
 
After our report aired the principal quickly turned to social media to deny it and then admitted he changed the grades under the direction of his supervisor. Superintendent H.T. Sanchez said it was nothing. The principal acted within his authority.
 
The teacher, Yolanda Sotelo, filed a complaint with the district months ago and you may be surprised to find what's happened since. 
 
An email shows TUSD asked the Deconcini Law Firm to investigate and an attorney asked Sotelo for an interview "to clarify some things regarding her complaint." Sotelo did, with her attorney, who was only there for legal support, by her side.
 
Cavazos:  What were the questions? 
Sotelo: Clearing up the questions about were the grades changed. Do I know for a fact they were?
Cavazos: What did you tell them? 
Sotelo: That they were. I have the grade sheets to prove that.
 
That was 2 and a half months ago and Sotelo says TUSD received the completed report 6 weeks ago. She asked to see the findings, but she said the district refused to give it to her.
 
Cavazos: Do you feel you have the right to see it? 
Sotelo: : I have every right, according to my attorney. I have every right to see it because I am the complainant so why wasn't the result shared with me?
 
The district sent her an email saying it's confidential attorney-client communication and attorney work product and 
 
TUSD denied KGUN9 for the same reason after we made a Freedom of Information Act request -- the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.
 
By definition: "The work-product doctrine protects materials prepared in anticipation of litigation from discovery by opposing counsel." Though Sotelo says she didn't sue the district.
 
Cavazos: So where does it stand now? 
Sotelo: It's at a standstill. They're not sharing and I don't know what's going on.
Cavazos: Why is this so important to get this resolved? 
Sotelo: The reason I came forward with the story is I wasn't the only teacher that was being asked to change grades. And teachers were upset.
 
Sotelo said she also filed a complaint with the Arizona Department of Education.  She heard back from them -- and is submitting more information this week. KGUN9 checked with the ADE and received this response: 
 
Per A.R.S. 15-350 (A), "All information received and records or reports kept by the state board of education or the department of education during an investigation of immoral or unprofessional conduct are confidential and are not a public record." Accordingly, we are unable to share any information related to the complaint in question.
 
We'll keep you updated on any developments.