TUSD Candidate Forum – School Closures

We asked candidates:

  • Do you believe closing and consolidating schools is a practical approach to addressing a budget shortfall and will you protect the over $1 million in Magnet funding that South and West Side schools receive?
  • ¿Creés que la clausura y combinación de escuelas es una estrategia práctica para abordar una escasez presupuestal y protegerás los más de $1 millón de dólares de fondos para las escuelas especializadas que reciben las escuelas en el sur y el oeste?

*Some of the candidates’ responses seemed to contradict previous statements or actions or conflict with our experiences and information. We include comments with the videos below when necessary.

Why is this question important?

For the past few years the Special Master who was appointed by the court to oversee the implementation of the unitary status plan, or the plan to progress in desegregating our schools, has recommended that TUSD remove Magnet status from South and West side barrio schools. This would mean that our barrio schools would lose over $1 million dollars used to support their unique programs.

Historically, the underfunding of South and West side schools has caused enrollment to drop, especially enrollment of Anglo students who are fleeing the district while enrollment of students of color stays the same or increases. Because funding is tied to enrollment, TUSD closed many South and West side schools as a solution to balance their budget in 2011.

Durante los últimos años un tal “Special Master” (literalmente “Maestro Especial”) quien fue designado por la corte para supervisar la implementación del plan de condición unitaria, o el plan para avanzar en la desegregación de nuestras escuelas, ha recomendado que TUSD elimine el título de escuela especializada, o “Magnet” en inglés, de las escuelas de los barrios del lado sur y el lado oeste. Esto quiere decir que nuestras escuelas en los barrios perderán más de $1 millón de dólares que se usan para mantener sus programas únicos.

Tradicionalmente, la falta de fondos para las escuelas del sur y oeste de la ciudad han causado bajadas de matrícula, particularmente en la matrícula de estudiantes angloamericanos que huyen del distrito mientras la matrícula de estudiantes que son minorías étnicas permanece igual o aumenta. Ya que la financiación está relacionada con la matrícula, TUSD cerró varias escuelas en el sur y oeste de la ciudad como una solución para cuadrar el presupuesto en 2011.

CLOSURES:
In 2012, Mark Stegeman voted to close Wakefield, Hohokam and Maxwell Middle School. He also voted to close Brichta, Menlo Park, Lyons, Schumaker, and Corbett elementary schools.

He claims that he did not support the closures of Ochoa and Mission View. Well, that seemed weird to many of our neighbors here. In October 2012, we held a TUSD candidate forum at the El Casino Ballroom. We asked candidates, “Will you vote to close small schools?” Many of the candidates specifically discussed Ochoa and Mission View. Stegeman did not take that opportunity, in front of 600 people with kids at these two schools and who live in the surrounding neighborhood, to mention Ochoa or Mission View specifically. What he did say in response to the questions is:

“I can’t give a Yes or No response to that question at this time.”

MAGNET FUNDING:
Stegeman, Betts and Rustand all claim that TUSD is not getting all the magnet funds to the magnet programs. Parents at Ochoa heard these same warnings from Betts when she was running last time.  When the parents approached TUSD about this, TUSD acknowledged the problem and corrected it–which is exactly what should happen.

When we followed up last week about these most recent claims we again learned that funds were distributed to magnet programs–some schools overspent but on average they each spent over 90% of their funds. Those that used less than 100% of their magnet funding were allocated the remaining for instructional technology. 

Make your own decision.

Check our sources:
Closure Vote
Stegeman response at 19:00

This statement seems to contradict previous statements from Rachael. At the Hispanic Chamber forum, Sedgwick suggested that the District should follow the Efficiency Audit’s recommendations which include school closures. You can find that at around 1:12:40 here.

This response is consistent with previous statements from Betts.

MAGNET FUNDING:
Stegeman, Betts and Rustand all claim that TUSD is not getting all the magnet funds to the magnet programs. Parents at Ochoa heard these same warnings from Betts when she was running last time.  When the parents approached TUSD about this, TUSD acknowledged the problem and corrected it–which is exactly what should happen.

When we followed up last week about these most recent claims we again learned that funds were distributed to magnet programs–some overspent but on average they each spent over 90% of their funds. Those that used less than 100% of their magnet funding were allocated the remaining for instructional technology. 

Make your own decision.

MAGNET FUNDING:

Stegeman, Betts and Rustand all claim that TUSD is not getting all the magnet funds to the magnet programs. Parents at Ochoa heard these same warnings from Betts when she was running last time.  When the parents approached TUSD about this, TUSD acknowledged the problem and corrected it–which is exactly what should happen.

When we followed up last week about these most recent claims we again learned that funds were distributed to magnet programs–some overspent but on average they each spent over 90% of their funds. Those that used less than 100% of their magnet funding were allocated the remaining for instructional technology. 

Make your own decision.

This statement is consistent with other statements and actions by Kristel.

This statement is consistent with both Cam’s statements and actions.

 

 

One comment

  1. […] about the responses to our school closure questions at the TUSD Candidate forum on October 13 here, where we include background necessary to aid our neighbors in making an informed […]

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