/ Modified dec 21, 2012 10:07 a.m.

11 TUSD Schools Set to be Closed

Board spares 3 amid outcry from parents, students, teachers

Eleven Tucson Unified District schools will be closed at the end of this academic year to help the district save money, the Governing Board decided Thursday night.

At a lengthy and emotion-charged meeting, the board decided to close one high school, four middle schools and six elementary schools to save about $4 million. That will leave $13 million for the district to find in savings elsewhere before adopting its 2013-14 budget.

Yet the specter of other closures was put forth by board member Mark Stegeman.

"I don't think we're done," Stegeman said. "I think especially at the high school and middle school level, we probably have more work to do in the near future. But these decisions are very hard to reverse and I think it's more important to do it all right than to do it all at once."

Parents reacted emotionally, saying the closures would hurt their children and their neighborhoods.

"I think it was very tough when they first announced the closures," said Kari Hotchkinson, parent of a girl at Brichta Elementary, which is on the closure list. " ... It's Christmas, and we should all be at home thinking about our families and preparing, and we're seeing if our kids will have a place to go to school next year, and that's not a place anyone wants to be this time of year."

Parent Maria Morones, whose son attends Lyons Elementary, also on the closure list, said she may have to relocate to get her special-needs child appropriate schooling.

"It is a struggle for me," Morones said. "And, in all honesty, if I have to move to get him what he needs, that's what I will do."

Besides Brichta and Lyons, schools on the closure list are Howenstine High School, Carson Middle School, Corbett Elementary School, Cragin Elementary School, Fort Lowell/Townsend K-8, Hohokam Middle School, Maxwell Middle School, Menlo Park Elementary School, Schumaker Elementary School and Wakefield Middle School. 

Three elementary schools on the preliminary closure list were spared. They are Sewell, Manzo and Cragin.

MORE: News, Tucson
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