TUSD magnets face scrutiny - Tucson News Now

TUSD magnets face scrutiny

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Magnet schools have been in Tucson Unified School District since the 1980s to bring together students from different parts of the city and encourage diversity.  The pendulum has swung the other way in some areas.

As TUSD seeks to satisfy a federal desegregation order and follow a unitary status plan, it has to show that its magnet schools are racially diverse.  They must have no more than 70 percent enrollment by students of one ethnicity.  A variety of magnet schools exceed that level.

A magnet school offers a specific curriculum or them that is unique in the district.  Robison Elementary offers an international baccalaureate program that give students academically rigorous classes.  And the students can follow the IB program to Safford K-8 and on to Cholla High School.

But Robison has 86.9 percent Hispanic students.  About 20 people, mostly Robison faculty and a few parents gathered in the school cafeteria to discuss how to change that.

"We left the Sunnyside school district to come to Robison because of the IB program, due to the fact that it is a magnet school.  We did leave an A-plus school to come here, so it's very important that they keep it a magnet school," said Jovanna Durazo, a parent who joined the discussion on how to change Robison's enrollment numbers.  "Doing an outreach to parents within the school to be able to promote how good the school is to other children and other parents who aren't familiar with the IB program."

The district will have meeting at four more magnet schools by November first.  The board will vote on the recommendations from the meetings.  But the federal court will have the final say on whether the district and the schools should get more time.

For a schedule of the remaining magnet school meetings, click here: http://tusd1.org/contents/events_magnet.html

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