Dec 4, 2012 11:12 PM by Rebecca Taylor

Brichta parents take action against possible school closure

TUCSON - As TUSD moves forward with school closures, parents are speaking out.

The district is still considering which schools to close, to help fill the $17-million budget gap for the next school year.

Fourteen schools are being considered for closure, but there are two public hearings before that can happen.

Tuesday night, people gathered at Brichta Elementary to share concerns and solutions.

Brichta students, parents and folks from neighboring schools also on the chopping block came together.

It was a packed house full of Brichta blue t-shirts.

Their school spirit not wavering in light of possible closure.

Kathleen Gutierrez attended Brichta, and has two children who go there. "I love Brichta. It's very family oriented, very multi-cultural."

"Well the teachers here are just great," says third grader Pablo Lujan.

His sister Annaliese Lujan is in second grade. "I like how I have all my friends here and I like to play with them."

Parents have formed the Brichta Community Action Network, drawing up their own proposals to present to the TUSD board for consideration.

Parent teacher organization Vice President Maryann Estrada Lujan says, "since we weren't involved with the closure list, we'd like to be involved with the solution."

One plan proposes to keep Menlo and Brichta open, but close Maxwell.

Another proposes to merge Brichta to Maxwell and become a K-8 school.

Closing schools is not popular, but district leaders say they have no choice.

TUSD has experienced a drop in enrollment over the last five years, about two thousand kids a year.

The Superintendent says fewer students, means less funding from the state.

Even so, parents are circulating a petition trying to save Brichta.

Gutierrez says, "I wouldn't send my kids anywhere else."

Brichta students hope the reciting of their school pledge lives on.

"I will take care of the school and other people, I will do my best every day at work at play," they say in unison.

The governing board will hold two public hearings to discuss proposed closures:

Saturday December 8, at 10 am.
And Monday December 10, at 6 pm. Both at Catalina High Magnet School.

The governing board is expected to make a final decision December 20th.


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