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TUSD to slash $4.5 million due to declining student enrollment - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

TUSD to slash $4.5 million due to declining student enrollment

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Tucson’s largest school district is facing a mid-year budget crisis.

It has to slash $4.5 million after more than 800 students projected to attend schools throughout the district, instead opted to go somewhere else.

In 2015, state lawmakers made it so schools are funded based upon current enrollment numbers.

Before, districts were able to go off the previous year’s student numbers and budget accordingly.

"In the last two years, we kind of had this warm up period so we could really decide what we're going to have to do but until you actually experience the decline and know what's going to happen, you really can't plan for it,” said Ricky Hernandez, chief financial officer with the Pima County Schools Superintendent’s Office.

Hernandez noted the fall semester is usually when school districts experience turnover of students, which could spell a need to cut more than $4.5 million.

Parents like Yvette De La Rosa are worried how the impending cuts could impact students including her own 4th grader’s day-to-day classroom experience.

"Are they going to get cut -- like the tools they need to learn on an everyday basis, are teachers going to have less to work with now? It's definitely concerning,” De La Rosa said.

TUSD officials said in an emailed statement, “There is no impact on students and schools this year 17-18.  As far as next year goes, we are just beginning to work on the budget for 18-19.”

With cuts comes the possibility of layoffs, although at this time, it’s undetermined.

TUSD Governing Board’s Mark Stegeman is adamant about slimming down administration.

"TUSD is over-staffed in the administration by any data that we know in comparison to other districts. We're spending about $11 million more in administration relatively than other districts and we need to make cuts there,” Stegeman said.

There’s also need for improving community outreach efforts across all schools, according to governing board member Adelita Grijalva.

This is one step toward keeping students in TUSD, she said. 

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