As open enrollment is set to begin for Tucson's largest school district, six of the TUSD magnet schools may be losing their magnet status for the upcoming school year.
This all stems from a decades-old TUSD desegregation order saying no more than 70 percent of the student body can be made of one ethnic group.
The schools were reviewed to see how well they implemented the district's integration plan (The Unitary Status Plan), but they did not meet those goals. Dr. Willis Hawley, the Special Master in the district's desegregation case, recommended stripping these six schools of their magnet status after they were given an additional year to bring more diversity to the school and did not succeed.
- Cholla High Magnet School and Pueblo Magnet High School
- Ochoa Community Magnet School
- Robison Magnet Elementary School
- Safford K-8 Magnet School
- Utterback Middle Magnet School of the Arts
So what does this mean? For this school year, each school in question will keep its magnet status--meaning the funding for transportation, staff, and after school programs will remain. The Tucson Unified School District board must decide the next steps to follow.
If the recommendations from the Special Master are accepted, these schools will need to meet with students and parents to get input on what classes or programs may be cut. Each of the six schools has a transition plan outlined for the 2017-2018 school year if magnet status is lost.
The TUSD board is expected to meet Tuesday to discuss whether or not they will accept this recommendation or ask the court for more time to meet the integration goals.
This is the response from TUSD, Dr. H.T. Sánchez, superintendent of Tucson Unified:
"We appreciate the extra time Dr. Hawley, the Plaintiffs and the court allowed for the schools to continue their hard work on integration of their student body, while also working to grow academic achievement," he said. "We will ensure we're communicating with each school in the weeks and months to come as the Governing Board, Plaintiffs, Special Master and court move through the decision-making process."
Open Enrollment will still begin Tuesday, as scheduled, for the 2017-2018 school year.