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Nov 27, 2012 1:39 AM

TUSD hears from public on MAS program and desegregation plan

TUCSON - Already facing $17 million in budget cuts Tucson's largest school district, TUSD, must now deal with desegregation.

The district's been under a federal desegregation order since 1978. After years of wrangling and appeals, TUSD appears poised to offer a so-called "Unitary Status Plan" designed to ensure white and minority students operate under the same system.

In the meantime, supporters of the banned Mexican American Studies program see the plan as a possible avenue for MAS classes to return.

On Monday, the first of three forums was held at Tucson High School to get public input.

Most of the comments, at Monday's forum, were about MAS and bringing the program back. Many touted the Cabrera Report, a study done by researchers at the University of Arizona. The study cites high percentages of students who participated in the MAS program out scoring and out graduating latino students not involved in the program.

A few of the people who spoke at the forum accused TUSD of attempting to play down the results of the report. TUSD Superintendent, Dr. John Pedicone, says that is not the case,"It is no different than the other information that we have that provides support for the MAS program," he said, "there are studies that our own team did that indicated of the students that were participating, that it helps improve student achievement, we have never denied that."

TUSD has already put together a proposed unitary plan. After the public forums it may be revised. When completed it is supposed to bring equality to all students.

Two additional public forums will be held Tuesday at the Pueblo Regional Center, at 101 W. Irvington and Palo Verde High School, at 1302 S. Avenida Vega, on Wednesday.

Click here to view the Cabrera Report.

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