TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson Unified School District has announced a plan to address disciplinary issues at Booth-Fickett K - 8 at Broadway and Kolb on Tucson's east side.
The school, which is a just a step above failing, has been troubled by fighting on campus, truancy, bullying and classroom disruptions for years.
Much of the problem, according to new district Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo, can be traced to acute shortage of teachers.
"Because of the staff shortage and not having no subs in place, daily subs, the intervention teams that are really on the ground and supposed to be working with kids are in classrooms," he said.
The school has a 15 percent vacancy rate for teachers right now. The school is nine teachers short in a staff of 55, the biggest shortage in the district.
"I think having more teachers will help us take a step in solving the problems," Dr. Trujillo said. "I don't think they're going to solve everything."
Too that end, Booth-Fickett is also one of eight schools that will get a school resource officer from the Tucson Police Department, thanks to a $2.2 million gr ant.
The school will also add three school monitors, a social worker, and case support for teaching staff and administrators. The additional support will allow for more direct parental intervention at the school.
It is also in the process of adding teachers and hopes to have that issue solved in the next ten days.
One item which is supported by Dr. Trujillo and will be discussed by the full school board, is the addition of extra incentives for teachers at Booth-Fickett.
"I don't want to create the impression that this support is going to be the magic bullet," Dr. Trujillo said. "It designed to get us back in the right direction."
He believes for the changes to take hold and begin the road to improvement will come from a change in the culture and climate of the school.
Booth-Fickett has 950 students in K-8.
Two years ago, amid charges of extreme bullying at the school, the students formed their own bullying patrol, carrying cameras to record bad behavior.
Trujillo says he hopes to see improvements in as little as three weeks.