/ Modified mar 27, 2024 5:14 p.m.

TUSD looks to reallocate $3.5 million out of its desegregation plan

The proposed changes come as the district looks to retain roles that were funded by pandemic era aid.

360 tusd banner A banner for the Tucson Unified School District hangs in the school board's meeting room at the Duffy Community Center.
AZPM Staff

Tucson Unified School District is looking to reallocate funding used for its desegregation plan and instead use it to retain academic interventionists who assist students who need extra help. 

The district is trying to retain the positions, which were funded by federal pandemic aid. Those dollars are expected to end in September. If approved, the district would move more than $3.5 million out of its desegregation plan. 

On Tuesday, community members, like TUSD alum Joe Tolliver, raised concerns to the board saying this would be taking away from students–not helping them.

“If it's permanent, it's not coming back,” he said. “Where's the money going to exactly?”

Others like Sylvia Compoy, who represented the Latino plaintiffs in the district’s 1978 desegregation case, told the board that the district’s annual desegregation report has dropped in its quality. That report is used to show how the school system is working to eliminate historic segregation.

“I think the reports that went to the court, this administration knew it was going to be read,” she said. “I’m not so sure they thought this report was going to be read. The court’s presence makes a big difference and that's unfortunate.”

In 2022, a judge ruled that the district no longer operates as a dual-segregated system. That meant oversight of its desegregation plan no longer fell to the court, but to the TUSD governing board. 

The proposed changes come months after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the 1978 desegregation case. Former TUSD students contend that the “district failed to monitor, track, review or analyze the effectiveness of its programs and policies” that pertained to desegregation. The school district’s attorney disagreed.

“Near perfection is not the standard,” TUSD’s attorney said during the December arguments. “The question is have the vestiges been eliminated to the extent practicable. The district court found that they had.”

The governing board is expected to vote on the move during its April 9th meeting.

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