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Group launches petition drive to oust TUSD board member

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Group launches petition drive to oust TUSD board member

CREATED Mar 9, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The recall effort against Tucson Unified School District board member Michael Hicks is now very real. A recently formed group, Citizens for Education Excellence, filed the paperwork ready to move the recall effort forward. The group is spearheaded by local blogger David Morales, an outspoken voice in the fight to save Mexican American Studies in TUSD.

"What he's done is very real," Morales said. "And that's why we're going to recall him."

Hicks vote to kill the MAS program in TUSD is fueling the recall effort against him. In a press conference today, members of Citizens for Education Excellence, read the following statement:

"During his tenure on the TUSD school board Michael Hicks has shown himself to be a detriment to public education in the city of Tucson. His behavior shows he does not have the interests of all members of the Tucson educational community. He has shown a lack of willingness to work with all TUSD constituents. He chooses to ignore the findings of an expensive independent educational audit lauding the benefits of such a program and has supported efforts to end to that program. He has demonstrated an inability to work as an adult with students who have not yet reached an age of majority. Rather than seek solutions or reconciliation he chooses to criticize. He has commented negatively in public forums rather than working to seek solutions. He has chosen to insult by insinuation a constituent community by comparing local behavior to well-known criminal behavior elsewhere in the nation. For these reasons we, a concerned group of citizens of the Tucson Unified School District hereby move to recall Michael Hicks from his position as a member of the TUSD school board."

Hicks tells 9OYS this is about more than controversial comments or a vote to remove the Mexican American Studies program. He says this is about race. 9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked Hicks if he takes this recall effort personally. "Absolutely, a couple of these individuals who are doing this are very racist because I'm a white man and they're brown," Hicks said. "This is a race and political gesture."

The magic number to oust Hicks is 24,000 signatures, and they have 120 days to do it. It puts their deadline sometime in July. Parents are already signing up.

"I just don't think that's the leadership we need," concerned parent Tanya Alvarez said. "We need leadership that will listen to our children."

Hicks says he's not backing down. He stands by his decisions and will fight the recall effort every step of the way.