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TUSD could lose magnet school status due to low diversity

Posted at 6:07 PM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 21:18:20-05
Six Tucson Unified Schools schools may lose their magnet status and revert to regular public schools following a court recommendation.
 
Superintendent H.T. Sanchez said Special Master, Willis Hawley has recommended to the court to strip the magnet school status from the six schools due to lack of diversity. 
 
Sanchez says the schools aren't showing enough progress in diversity on their campuses. Therefore, "they can no longer be a magnet school because the magnet isn't drawing kids in."
 
Sanchez tells KGUN 9 that while enrollment in the schools have increased, diversity has not. 
 
According to the court ruling, student ethnicity populations within each magnet school cannot surpass 70%. Unfortunately, the Latino population in the schools reached within 74% and 89%. 
 
Sanchez says they don't have a high percentage of Caucasian and African American students enrolling in the schools because of their location. 
 
TUSD officials say they did the best they could to make sure they met the needs of the court order by advertising each school, making phone calls and sending out mailers.
 
Sanchez says another challenge is, "trying to go from one side of town to the other with no express freeways, highways, and there are stop lights every block. So that complicates further trying to draw in families that don't live in the neighborhood that might be from a different race or ethnicity." 
 
KGUN 9 asked Sanchez what is next for the students of these magnet schools. He tells us there is nothing that "prevents a school from offering a certain band or program. What we'll have to do is work with the schools."
 
Emphasizing that students who attend the magnet schools will not be asked to leave the schools. Adding, that they will ask the Special Master and the court to see if they can continue to get funded for transportation.