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Nov 14, 2012 12:55 AM by Rebecca Taylor

TUSD moves forward with closing schools

TUCSON - On Tuesday night Tucson Unified School District leaders decided how to decide which schools to close.

TUSD faces a projected $17 million budget deficit next year.

The Governing Board, and administrators have hosted a series of forums since the Summer for public input.

The board will use criteria like cost savings, and academic success to determine which schools to close.

The number of proposed school closures originally ranged from 10 on up to 30, but it was decided during the meeting to limit the number of schools closed to 10.

Board member Dr. Mark Stegemann says the fewer the better. So far, no schools have been named.

"I think if we adopt criteria then a discussion will move to that. I'm proposing a short list of schools that we can effectively execute," said Dr. Stegemann.

Betts Putnam-Hidalgo opposes any school closures, "I don't believe in consolidating schools. Rent out space in schools. But we don't do it, we don't pursue it aggressively."

During the last round of closures in 2010, nine schools were closed.

At Tuesday's board meeting, the Crabtree family wore blue their school colors. They're hoping for consolidation into their school Dunham Elementary, and to avoid closure.

"They have extracurricular activities, sign language, my other son is doing violin. They offer these programs when there is no funding, they find funding," said a concerned parent.

The board would like to make final decisions by late December, in time to prepare January's budget. You can count on News 4 to bring you updates.

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