TUSD children in a costly crisis

TUSD children in a costly crisis
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Parents and community members are crying foul as the Governing Board discussed what to do with two district-run Infant and Early Child Learning Centers.

Deciding at its meeting Tuesday night to have staff look into how the programs can break even.

Thanks in part to a limited description of the agenda item, only one sentence, dozens of parents mobilized and filled the boardroom. All were there to voice their concern over what was presented by TUSD Board member Mark Stegeman. All concerned that the program would be closed at the two infant and early child learning centers run by the district.

In a news conference on Tuesday, TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said he couldn't support a continued loss of money to run the centers.

The school district had already increased the cost by 15 percent a year ago.

Parents and community members concerned about what they perceive to be a lack of transparency, spoke for two hours during a lengthy call to the audience.

"If the centers are operating at a loss, why isn't there more communication and collaboration with parents? We are stakeholders, just as you are as board members," said one parent.

"If you don't invest in us, we have no problems enrolling them into other districts. Partner with us. Let's end this debate. Let's put this on the table and end it tonight."

Stegeman said the district is subsidizing the two programs with $1 million and voiced his concerns that other schools that could use the funding are being left behind.

Trujillo stated during the earlier news conference that the district is exploring several options, including partnering with a non-profit.

As the motion stated, the district can expect to see all those financial packages and options within the month.

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