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TUSD board takes steps to dismiss Catalina principal

The Tucson Unified School District board moved forward Tuesday with plans to dismiss Catalina Magnet High Principal Linda Patterson.

By a 3-0 vote, with members Adelita Grijalva not in the room and Miguel Cuevas recusing himself, the board approved a statement of charges and notice of intent to dismiss Patterson.

Patterson, principal of the school for nearly two years and on personal leave since March 27, has consistently refused to comment to media on the situation.

The statement of charges says that about $30,000 in student funds were stolen under her watch. It says Patterson had reassigned an assistant principal formerly responsible for such funds, taking that responsibility herself.

But during the investigation “and for months after,” she failed to inform her supervisor that the assistant principal, unnamed in the statement, was not responsible for the supervision of school finance personnel at the time of the theft . . . and “did not even work on the date of the theft.”

It goes on to say that by the omission, she “permitted supervisors to believe the assistant principal had failed in his supervisory duties . . . and she attempted to issue discipline to him . . . by placing two letters of reprimand in his school personnel file without his knowledge.”

The statement also says Patterson failed to properly supervise the Aviation Flight Program, “leading to its temporary grounding.” It also says she “held several meetings with her staff and faculty requesting that they speak to governing board members on her behalf to save her job. Employees complained they felt pressured to support her.”

Patterson’s conduct violated staff ethics and conduct policies and leadership principles, according to the document, which is notice that the board intends to dismiss her 30 days after it is served.

Patterson, who makes more than $90,000, is on administrative leave with pay pending the expiration of the 30 days.

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