Kristi's Kids

Aug 21, 2013 1:00 AM by Kristi Tedesco

TUSD talks to Kristi's Kids about parent's class-size concerns

TUCSON - A local mom contacted Kristi's Kids worried about overcrowding in her child's school. She tells there were more than 40-students in some classes.

The Tucson Unified School District closed several schools in the past two years.
Most of the closed schools are elementary and middle schools. Howenstine High School was also closed.

So how is the district adjusting?

Arayla Waite is a freshman at Sahuaro High. She says during first week there wasn't enough desks for several students.

"I was sitting in what they call the overflow seats for a few of my classes which was pretty much a table in back or the front of the class with three or four other people, sometimes up to 6, and we would have to like turn around and look to the board."

Arayla has five brothers and sisters in various schools so her mom, Michelle, was worried about the closures. She attended two meetings, this summer, where staff assured parents the district was prepared for change.

The first day of school?

"I have one student that said she has 52 kids in her anatomy class," says Michelle.

Kristi's Kids went to the district for answers.

"We not going to turn kids away from schools. We want them to come in," says Yousef Awwad, Deputy Superintendent for Operations.

He says it is normal at many schools in several districts to have more students than projected. Also, Sahuaro is not on the list to receive kids from closed schools.

"We have a process and we have a system in place where we revisit our schools and all their classes and we make adjustments in the first two to three weeks of school."

T.U.S.D. projected 1,843 students would attend Sahuaro High. Actual enrollment is 1,875; 32 more than expected. That number was calculated last week after the tenth school day. That's when all schools are required to drop students who never showed up.

Looking at Sahuaro's enrollment over the last 16 years we see some variance:
Last year: 1,744 -- 131 fewer than this year.
Highest attendance: 1,908 - 2003/04.
Lowest attendance: 1,643 - 2009/10.

The district tells Kristi's Kids it will add at least two full time teachers at Sahuaro right away.

Michelle says, since school started this year some core classes like English have shrunk but electives remain packed.

Sunnyside and Marana tell us this is normal for them too.

If you have something going on, in your child's school, send an email to kristiskids@


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