TUCSON - A major milestone passed for Tucson's largest school system.
After years of wrangling and appeals, the TUSD Governing Board approved a unitary status plan designed to end a decades-old desegregation order.
A federal judge issued the order in 1978 following a class-action lawsuit by Hispanic and African American students.
Unitary status is a legal term meaning the district no longer has a dual system for white and minority students.
Tuesday's vote also gave supporters of the defunct Mexican American Studies program new hope for MAS classes to return.
The governing board passed the plan by a unanimous vote.
A motion to modify verbiage in the plan did not, giving new hope for MAS supporters.
Included in the final draft plan is a requirement that African and Mexican American perspectives must be taught in Literature and Social Studies.
Objections by some board members to remove this item failed because the motion didn't get enough votes. It will stay in the plan without any objection.
Supporters of the banned Mexican American Studies program view this as a possible avenue for MAS classes to return.
MAS supporter David Morales says, "we're all shocked out here. We were not expecting this. It's just been a roller coaster of a ride, it's time for healing to begin."
Sylvia Campoy represents the Mendoza family, one of the plaintiffs involved in the desegregation case. "An evolution of MAS studies I think is coming forward. And it will probably be bigger and better." she says.
So what happens now?
A federal court will have to approve it. And if it's passed, a version of Mexican American Studies could return in fall 2013.