Hundreds of people filled the auditorium at Catalina Magnet High School. Parents, teachers and students from the 14 schools that are being considered for closure, had a message for the Tucson Unified School Board. "Not our school."
TUSD held it's first of 2 public hearings on the school closures. The closures are part of the district's "School Master Plan." The school board is trying to fix a $17 million budget deficit. According to the district, the deficit is a result of declining student enrollment, reduced state funding and higher building maintenance cost. "The reality, we have too many schools and the schools are draining operational money that should be going into the classroom," said John Pedicone TUSD Superintendent.
Despite the reasons for the proposed school closings. Hundreds showed up to support their school. The group chanted "Save Our Schools" and held signs. The call to the audience session started at about 11am and ended by 1pm. Dozens of speakers approached the mic and tried to convince the board, why their school should be saved. Daniel Stoker is a parent of a Sewell Elementary School student. "What kind of message is it sending, to TUSD schools when you close down a school that is rated as high or higher than most schools in the district," said Stoker.
There will be 1 more public hearing on the closures. That meeting is scheduled for Monday December 10th at 6pm at Catalina Magnet High School. The board is expected to make their final decision on the closures on December 20th.
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