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TUSD agrees to raise lunch costs, hire more school safety officers

TUSD agrees to raise lunch costs, hire more school safety officers
Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 01:22:23-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Students are off for the summer. School hallways emptied. But in the community center of Duffy Elementary School, Tucson Unified’s Governing Board prepares for their return.

Before every school year, TUSD board members discuss safety protocols. But this year’s discussion held a little more uncertainty after 19 children and two teachers were killed in the Texas mass shooting.

“I just want to never hear about this sort of thing happening again," said Scott Thompson, teacher at Gridley Middle School. "I feel like it could be prevented”

“I don’t think having more armed people on our campuses is the solution," said Adelita Grijalva, TUSD Board President. "Unfortunately in Uvalde, there were 40 people on the lawn that were fully armed.”

TUSD has a school safety department made up of 34 staff members. On Tuesday night, board members agreed to hire eight more: five school safety supervisors, two dispatchers, and one field lieutenant. These armed officers would train school personnel for emergencies, and would improve daily security on campuses.

But local educators want to see more.

“Strong gates, high fences, I worked at a couple of schools with bars over the windows," Thompson said. "I always felt safer when I had that. Id like to see school resource officers on campus or TUSD school safety all the time.”

Board members also agreed to raise costs for food at school. Students from elementary to high school will have to pay 20 cents more for lunch, and 25 cents more for breakfast.

“The price of everything is increasing, and unfortunately, TUSD is experiencing that same situation,” Grijalva said.

This cost increase applies to schools and individuals that don't qualify for free meals. TUSD’s food services director estimates it would impact 1,748 students.