Tucson Unified School District Superintendent Declines $20K Bonus; Is She Out of Her Mind?

The superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District did something this week that may sound nuts -- she gave back a $20,000 bonus.

Superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen is in her second year as head of the district and evidently doing a good job, so the district's governing board gave her a $20,000 bonus.

In a move that could either be categorized as admirable or insane, Celania-Fagen gave the money back.

We called the superintendent's office to try to gauge her sanity -- turns out, she doesn't have a screw loose after all.

"Given the economic circumstances in the district right now, I just thought it was the right thing to do," she says.

So is driving the speed limit, but nobody actually does it!

Celania-Fagen says there are a number of employees in the district who haven't received raises in a couple of years. That combined with layoffs made her feel that giving the money back was only fair.

Governing Board member Adelita Grijalva says the bonus was deserved but that it made sense for Celania-Fagen to give the money back to the district.

Celania-Fagen says she would rather see the money used for school choice transformation and leadership development for staff members.

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James King
Contact: James King