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It's official: TUSD'S desegregation court order partially lifted

Court says TUSD has "complied in good faith"
Posted at 6:33 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 21:34:12-04

After more than 40 years, the desegregation court order that's been hanging over Tucson Unified is being lifted -- at least partially. The district made the announcement Tuesday afternoon. 

TUSD has desperately tried to get out from under the federal court order -- saying it's long overdue. The district has changed demographically since 1974,  when anglo students had been the majority population and the court ordered the district to improve the educational opportunities for minority students.

For decades, the district's attempts fell short.

After about a billion dollars spent, TUSD entered into in Unitary Status Plan 5 years ago -- with both sides in agreement -- to end the court order.

The court found TUSD complied "in good faith" and it's met the requirements in 8 areas. 
Student assignment
Teaching and administrative staff
Quality of education 
Family engagement
Extracurricular activities

In a statement released Tuesday, TUSD wrote: "While TUSD is disappointed that the Court did not grant full unitary status ... TUSD is committed to doing everything it can to complete the remaining tasks set out in the order as soon as possible."

The court set a time table to resolve the remaining issue within one year.

KGUN9 reached out to Board president Michael Hicks for a response. He replied, "I am extremely proud of this administration who worked so hard to get this done." 

The district says administrators are in the process of reviewing the extensive court order and they'll explain the results and the next steps when they're done.

We'll keep you updated. 

Here is the district's full statement on the court order:

On Thursday, September 6, 2018, the federal district court in Tucson entered an order in the desegregation case originally filed in 1974, finding that the TUSD has complied in good faith with the most recent desegregation decree entered in 2013 in many respects, and setting a time table for completion of remaining issues by September 1, 2019, and termination of supervision after confirmation of completion of the remaining steps.

The current desegregation decree, together with the additional action plans required by that decree, amount to hundreds of different individual requirements with which the District must comply.   The Court’s order confirms that TUSD has met most of these requirements in the years since the decree was entered.  In particular, the Court ruled that TUSD has achieved partial unitary status in with respect to its operations in the areas of student assignment, transportation, teaching and administrative staff, quality of education, family engagement, extracurricular activities, facilities and technology. In each of these areas, most requirements have been met, with additional items set out by the Court for completion by TUSD.

While TUSD is disappointed that the Court did not grant full unitary status, and continues to believe that for many reasons termination of federal court intervention in local district operations is long overdue in this case, TUSD is committed to doing everything it can to complete the remaining tasks set out in the order as soon as possible.  But even more fundamentally, with or without federal court intervention, TUSD is committed to diversity, integration and equity for all of its students.