Public comment on possible $17 million TUSD budget gap - Tucson News Now

Public comment on possible $17 million TUSD budget gap

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Plan for deep cuts now and hope that will make the tough times hurt less. This is Tucson Unified School District's approach to the public right now as it asks how to bridge a $17 million budget gap next summer.

A handful of people filled out comment cards and spoke to the board about their concerns about closing schools.

The board took comments from the public tonight about how it has been forming plans to bridge an anticipated $17 million budget deficit next summer.

It has three scenarios if proposition 204 doesn't pass and three if it does.

If it doesn't, the scenarios go from balancing the cuts between cutting administration and other services and closing 13 schools, to more focus on school closures while having teacher raises and decreasing class size.  All to keep the district attractive.

Some complain the process feels rushed or say the turnout tonight, about fifty including board members, is disappointing because people don't know what schools will be closed.

But others say closures are unavoidable and will help focus resources on students.

"Achievement improved with the students because more money was spent in the classroom, they had better library services and better nurse services and that's what I'm for, better services for the children.  Pay more attention to the children than the buildings," said Ruth Blunier, a district resident. 

"TUSD doesn't seem to have asked people, 'if we don't close them, how can we change them so we can afford to keep them?' I don't think that's a question they've ever asked,'" said Tres English, former TUSD student and parent. 

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