TUSD approves magnet plan - Tucson News Now

TUSD approves magnet plan

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tuesday night saw unanimous support by the Tucson Unified School District governing board to make sure that its magnet schools are diverse and academically successful.

"It focuses resources and additional support so that magnet schools can comply with diversity and integration," said Davis Bilingual Magnet principal Carmen Campuzano.

But not everyone in the crowd was pleased. Parents from Drachman Elementary said that they were left out of the discussion this year.

"It was actually after school was out that we've got phone calls, a robocall that said you're invited to one of these three meetings that was after the school year. So a lot of the parents have not been included, the site council hasn't been included. So it feels like it has been a crunch," said Drachman parent Kristen Bury.

A five pillar approach evaluates diversity and academic achievement at TUSD magnet schools and scores those that can continue as magnets. Those are schools that offer art or science and technology as a focus. Those that fall short have a year or two to improve. One concern about racial diversity has been the number of schools that are more than 70 percent Hispanic. Some parents point out that students who are a combination of races with a Hispanic background are automatically counted as Hispanic. The district noted that earlier this year as it consulted the plaintiffs in a decades-old discrimination suit about the challenges with diversity in magnet schools.

"You don't bring the community in to build a plan and then turn your back on that plan. And so, that plan that I'm going to bring forward tonight will be one we craft with the community, in concert with them through a lot of dialogue and interaction," said TUSD superintendent HT Sanchez.

The new plan has a year to be put in place. But attendance boundary changes and other plans to make a school like Drachman more diverse, could also be a factor.

"I know there are parents that are already planning to leave if it is not going K-8 as planned. And so, that would be leading the district and they're out of district parents," Bury said.

"It's always a problem but we're always under deadlines and I always want to make sure that all of our communities and our voices are heard. It's never a good time in the summer when everyone's away," Campuzano said.

 Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
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