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Dec 8, 2012 7:46 PM by Erika Flores

Parents speak out about TUSD school closures

TUCSON-Hundreds of people pleaded with the TUSD Governing Board to keep their schools open.

The district is considering shutting down 14 schools to make up for a 17 million dollar budget shortfall.

It held a public hearing Saturday to listen to the concerns of the community.

For several hours parents, teachers, students and faculty voiced their concerns about the proposed school closures.

Some parents even threatened to take their students out of the district and send them to charter schools.

It was a packed house at Catalina High School.

Hundreds showed up with signs even a school mascot hoping to persuade the governing board against closing the schools.

"Your master plan only thought of the kids as walking dollar signs," said Corey Walker.

TUSD said they need to make changes to keep from falling more into the red.

"I want the younger kids to have the same experience at Cragin," said 5th grader Sharmela Day.

TUSD's governing board will vote on December 20 on whether to close 14 schools.

"Even significant reductions through out-sourcing in services and in service staff, we still have to cut at the schools," said Bryant Nodine, TUSD's planning manager.

TUSD tells us enrollment is down with 13 thousand empty seats, and they insist consolidating the schools could save five million dollars.

"If we have too many schools operating, it's at the expense of the things that we can provide to your children in the classroom," said John Pedicone, TUSD superintendent.

Those speaking out here are against the closures.

"As a mom who has to feed a family of five on 50 dollars a week, I can do a lot better job than your budget analyst," said parent Cary Hutchingson.

Their fear is that class sizes will increase and their children will not have the same quality education.

"If you don't have education, you don't have anything," said parent Richard Smith.

There will be another public hearing on the school closures at 6 pm, December 10 at Catalina High School.

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