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Jul 16, 2014 12:25 AM by Rebecca Taylor

TUSD votes to approve magnet school plan

TUCSON - The Tucson Unified School District called a special board meeting Tuesday night.

The Governing Board tackled topics that could satisfy a decades old federal desegregation order, magnet status and boundary plans.

After a year of discussion the Governing Board voted to approve the magnet plan.

About 50 community members and educators filled the Catalina High School auditorium. Some voiced concerns, others support the comprehensive plan as is.

"Why are you spending desegregation money, segregating Mexicans in ELL classrooms? That's a gross injustice," said a man in the audience.

A woman whose children attend TUSD schools said, "The system unfairly put every African Americans into the Hispanic box without the opportunity to say whether they identify as African American."

Another woman expressed her support saying, "If I can stand up here and speak two languages, it's because we have schools that have created that opportunity for children."

For now, no programs will be stripped of their magnet status. Schools will be given at least one more school year to improve before any action is taken.

Superintendent Dr. H.T. Sanchez said, "This magnet plan took a year to develop, it involved the community and it involved as many people as possible. It wasn't something that was just my design that I rolled out. It really was a dynamic conversation with the public."

Magnet schools are designed to attract diversity. Governing Board members are now weighing boundary proposals, to bus students from racially concentrated schools to Howell Elementary and Sewell Elementary, schools with high academic ratings.

A final recommendation and vote on boundary changes is expected next month.

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