Aug 21, 2012 2:30 AM by Sean Mooney
TUCSON - At this point it is no longer a matter of how much but where. The Tucson Unified School District Governing Board must cut $17 million from the 2013-2014 budget.
On Monday, the TUSD board held the first of three town hall meetings to let the voices of parents, employees and members of the community be heard. The meetings are part of a master plan to involve the community in the process of deciding where cuts should be made and how allotted funding should be spent.
The panel began the night by telling those who attended where the TUSD school district stands today, a district with declining enrollment and less and less funding to operate it. According to TUSD Superintendent, John Pedicone, next years budget must balanced and it's going to hurt, "Clearly there are going to be some unpopular choices no matter which way we go," he said, "but the choices will be better formed if we take the input from the community and use it effectively."
At this point the board says no decisions have been made regarding cuts. People at the town hall meeting were encouraged to offer their input on how the districts money should be spent.
One parent expressed her frustration with the district by saying, "I am tired of the children being the first ones to take a hit or a cut. That is not how you run a district."
Dr. John Pedicone said salary cuts, including administrative cuts across the board had not been ruled out.
The town hall meetings are part of a three phased plan. The next phase will include taking recommendations from the town hall meetings and presenting it to focus groups and site councils.
Once a final plan is put together the governing board will take a final vote on it in November.
Two more town hall meeting are scheduled this week. On Wednesday, August 22, Cholla Magnet High School will host a meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. This Saturday, August 25, Catalina Magnet High School will host a meeting from 10 am to 12 pm. For more information go to tusd1.org/SchoolMasterPlan, or call 520-255-4949.