Emotions ran high at SUSD Community meeting last night - Tucson News Now

Emotions ran high at SUSD Community meeting last night

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Emotions ran high last night in the Sunnyside Unified School District, as school leaders explained the reasons behind steep budget cuts.

The district needs to cut $6 million to $7 million over the next few years after voters did not approve an override that would have brought more money into the district. 

Tucson News Now was at Los Ranchitos Elementary School for last night's discussion.  The community got a chance to ask questions of the school board.   The ones who have the most at stake are the teachers working at the two schools slated for closure, Los Ranchitos Elementary was one of them, the other is Chaparral Middle School – teachers and counselors there are worried.

"Twenty percent of us have been here for twenty years," said Barb Mathers, a counselor at Chaparral Middle School.  "With no guaranteed jobs people are worried.  We have to keep it together in the classroom for the kids."

Dozens of jobs, along with the two closures are on the chopping block.  School Superintendent Dr. Manuel Isquierdo says they strived to make sure they weren't cutting programs or increasing class sizes.  Many in the community are very critical about these proposed cuts.  Some residents feel there has been no community input and the decisions of what to cut – were made too quickly.

One school board member who attended Tuesday night's community meeting stated he too has concerns about the list of cuts.

"Dr. Isquierdo says this is his best plan for cuts.  Do you think it's the best plan?"  stated Buck Crouch, a Sunnyside School Board member.  "I don't think it's fully thought out.  I don't know what the details are.  As a board member I would like to know more before I vote on it.

"It's hard, but I feel positive that we're going to sustain our programs here.  Sustain what makes Sunnyside, Sunnyside. And keep our technology," said Dr. Isquierdo.

Nothing is final yet.  Board members will vote on the cuts at their meeting next month. 

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