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TUSD Superintendent proposing HS boundary changes

Posted at 7:29 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 18:13:40-05

It's a move that could shuffle the attendance deck at some of TUSD's schools.

The district has been trying to tackle overcrowding at a few high schools. To alleviate the problem, superintendent Gabriel Trujillo is considering changing the district's boundary lines and will present his proposal to the Governing Board at Tuesday's meeting.

Trujillo wants to examine boundary lines at the schools bursting at the seams. KGUN9 caught up with him before he headed into his next meeting.

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Trujillo paints his High School Improvement Initiative as a bold action -- a requirement, he said, to fix the declining enrollment and boost student achievement. 

It's what Gabrielle Trujillo is calling the High School Revitalization Initiative. It's an action item which means board members can vote Tuesday on whether to move forward with the proposed plan. It can be found on the agenda under Timeline.

Action Items
8. High School Improvement Initiative and Re-invigoration Project
Action Request - High School Revitalization
Santa Rita Program Expansion

The plan shows TUSD operates 10 high schools on nine campuses. Two are overcapacity -- Tucson High and University/Rincon High schools share a campus.

Cholla, Pueblo, and Sahuaro meet the preferred range.

But four high schools are well below capacity. Palo Verde, Catalina, and Sabino hover around the halfway mark while Santa Rita is struggling to fill seats -- now only at 21 percent capacity.

His specific objectives include increasing enrollment and utilization at two Integrated high schools: Catalina and Palo Verde Magnet.

"We want to grow enrollment at two struggling high schools. We want to invest in Catalina. We want to grow enrollment there,"  said Trujillo. 

To achieve that goal, Trujillo's preliminary scenario would move one or more of the eastern and northern portions of the current Tucson HS boundary to the Catalina HS boundary. Trujillo says that would relieve overcrowding at Tucson HS. 

"Probably the most under-enrolled high school magnet school is Palo Verde," said Trujillo. His preliminary scenario would move one or more of the southern and/or eastern portions of the current Rincon HS boundary to the Palo Verde HS boundary. The objective is to relieve overcrowding at Rincon HS and University HS, where he's trying to facilitate growth and improve diversity. Mark Stegemen was behind a push for University High to take-over Catalina Magnet, but was met with public outcry. The initiative would shift some Rincon students to Palo Verde to allow University HS to expand.

"This is obviously just a first step," said Trujillo.  A step that he didn't want the public to get wind of yet. Trujillo wanted Tuesday's unveiling to be before the board.

Board member Michael Hicks says it'll take some convincing to sign off on any boundary changes. "I don't know if it's worth it to change the boundary lines. I don't understand why we're looking at the boundary lines," said Hicks.

Trujillo says any proposal requires buy-in from those involved in the desegregation court order. He also proposed a timeline that includes public hearings in April and May -- leading to a final vote by the board in June. 

Proposed Timeline
Proposed scenarios/concepts to SMP on 1.31.18 for initial feedback by 2.7.18
• Presentation of information to Governing Board (including initial SMP feedback) on 2.13.18
• Draft DIA to SMP on 2.28 for feedback by 3.7.18
• Governing Board vote (including SMP feedback) to initiate boundary review process on 3.13.18
• Staff Advisory Committee and Boundary Review Committee begin meeting the third week of March
and continue through April and May
• At least one public hearing in April
• Presentation of information to Governing Board on 4.10.18
• At least one public hearing in May
• Presentation of information to Governing Board on 5.22.18
• Final DIA to SMP on 5.30 for feedback by 6.6.18
• Governing Board vote (including SMP feedback) on boundary changes on 6.12.18
• Final NARA and DIA filed with the Court in June