The Main Stream

Dec 7, 2012 10:40 PM by Sam Salzwedel

Ecology investment might be wasted if school closes

TUCSON - The Tucson Unified School District board might close a school after more than $100,000 of investment in ecology programs.

Manzo Elementary School on the West Side is on the list of possible closures. The district will almost definitely close some schools.

Donations have provided funds to build learning tools like a garden, rainwater harvesting, a chicken coop, tortoise habitat and a new $35,000 green house.

"We think this is a gem," Principal Mark Alvarez said, "and we think this is just a superstar in the making."

The school is suffering academically.

The only weak area is math, according to the principal.

"We feel very confident that we're going to see a pretty good jump in our scores," Alvarez said, "but just like anything else, it needs time to develop."

Paul Martinez went to Manzo when he was a kid. His granddaughter is in 2nd grade at the school.

"There's probably others that they can close," Martinez said, "but this one, they're putting too much effort into it, to teach the kids and give them an education."

The school is about 30% under capacity, running a $300,000 deficit. It is a small school that only holds about 370 students.

About 75 Manzo kids come from outside the area because of the quality education, according to the principal. He believes that number can grow.

If Manzo closes, most students would go to Tully Elementary School, 1 mile away. It is partly empty with a capacity of 600 students, and it is performing better academically.

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