by David Safier
Mark Stegeman was a scheduled guest on today's Bill Buckmaster Show (starting around the 45:00 mark). Buckmaster follows discussions on Facebook and BfA, so he focused on Mark's idea to close a TUSD high school and move UHS there, which I posted about a few days ago and was the subject of a long, rambling discussion on Facebook.
Mark was pretty candid on the Buckmaster Show. He said straight out, we need to close one of the high schools, meaning his plan to move UHS is part of a larger plan.
"To make the rest of the high schools stronger, we need to close one of the general, comprehensive high schools."
Which high school would he close? "I would not speculate on that," he replied.
Buckmaster asked Mark about the assertion made in Facebook comments that he "goes rogue" on the board. His basic answer: This UHS proposal was out there for a year and a half, it received a 4-1 vote from the past board, it's gotten lots of discussion and comment. That's not going rogue. (Since I don't know much about the history of the proposal, I'll let Mark's comment stand, unless someone else wants to comment on it.)
Buckmaster asked Mark what he thought of my idea of keeping the UHS campus at Rincon and opening a second campus on the west side. His answer was pretty convoluted. Yes, he said, it's a good possible idea, in concept. But we tried something like that recently, when TUSD built Mary Belle McCorkle school on the west side, "and it has huge issues."
"I don't think at this point TUSD has shown it knows how to do that, and that's why I'm more interested in building out models that are working in schools that are working."
Mark has become a very capable public speaker, but I'm afraid he lapsed into Sarah Palin doubletalk territory here. "Building out models that are working in schools that are working"? I have no idea what that means. He wants to gut a school that's working, and build out a model that's working in the emptied school? TUSD knows how to do that? Knows how to do what, exactly? I guess I should be heartened that Mark thinks my proposal is reasonable, but his "can't do" attitude about TUSD (or "can't do" something he doesn't want to do) convinces him the district can't make it work.