TUSD moves forward with closing 5 more schools
Reporter: Maggie Vespa
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Thirteen. That's now the magic number, according to TUSD board members.
Following three hours of public comment Tuesday night, the board to move forward with closing five more area schools. This after approving the same measure for eight schools last week, in the face of a $17 million deficit.
Schools added to the chopping block are: Menlo Park Elementary, Manzo Elementary, Cragin, Wakefield and Brichta Elementaries.
Supporters of those schools say it's a tough move to swallow.
"It's hard," said Stephanie Hamilton, a parent of three Brichta students. "It feels like our voice has not been heard. I don't want to be dramatic, but I just feel like we're disempowered here," she said.
"This is a hard thing for a board to do, especially a board that is volunteering," said board member Michael Hicks, following the meeting. "We are disrupting communities."
Board members also voted to move forward with closing Maxwell Elementary, then changed course, moving to reopen the school as a K-8.
Three more schools were saved Tuesday night. They are Pueblo Gardens and Hollinger Elementaries, as well as Santa Rita High School.
"It was our faculty and our students and our admin and our support staff, and we just got together at Santa Rita and decided that we were going to make a better school, and the work is paying off," said teacher Lorinda Pierce. "We're just going to have the opportunity to continue doing it, and I ouldn't be happier."
Board members stress these votes are just first of many needed to effectively close the schools.
Public hearings on the closures are set for December 8th, and 10th at Catalina High School.