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MALDEF Objection to TUSD School Closures

MALDEF Objection to TUSD School Closures

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Published by DA Morales
MALDEF Objection to TUSD School Closures
MALDEF Objection to TUSD School Closures

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Published by: DA Morales on Jan 27, 2013
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MENDOZA PLAINTIFFS’ OBJECTION TO TUSD REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF SCHOOL CLOSURES
LOIS D. THOMPSON, Cal. Bar No. 093245 (Admitted Pro Hac Vice)lthompson@proskauer.comJENNIFER L. ROCHE, Cal. Bar No. 254538 (Admitted Pro Hac Vice) jroche@proskauer.comPROSKAUER ROSE LLP2049 Century Park East, 32nd FloorLos Angeles, California 90067-3206Telephone: (310) 557-2900Facsimile: (310) 557-2193NANCY RAMIREZ, Cal. Bar. No. 152629 (Admitted Pro Hac Vice)nramirez@maldef.orgMEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE ANDEDUCATIONAL FUND (MALDEF)634 S. Spring St.11th FloorTelephone: (213) 629-2512 ext. 121Facsimile: (213) 629-0266Attorneys for Mendoza PlaintiffsUNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONARoy and Josie Fisher, et al.,Plaintiffs,v.United States of America,Plaintiff-Intervenors,v.Anita Lohr, et al.,Defendants,Sidney L. Sutton, et al.,Defendant-Intervenors,Case No. 4:74-CV-00090-DCB
MENDOZA PLAINTIFFS’OBJECTION TO TUSD REQUESTFOR APPROVAL OF SCHOOLCLOSURES
(Assigned to: Hon. David C. Bury)For Consideration by the Special Master
Case 4:74-cv-00090-DCB Document 1423 Filed 01/22/13 Page 1 of 19
 
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MENDOZA PLAINTIFFS’ OBJECTION TO TUSD REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF SCHOOL CLOSURES
Maria Mendoza, et al.,Plaintiffs,United States of America,Plaintiff-Intervenor,v.Tucson United School District No. One, et al.,Defendants.Case No. CV 74-204 TUC DCBIntroductionTUSD seeks to eliminate a $17 million budget gap with a plan to close elevenschools that will result in savings of $4-5 million dollars. However, TUSD fails to explainhow it intends to meet the remaining shortfall of $12-13 million dollars. The Districtrushes to close schools causing disruption to thousands of students
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without a plan forclosing the entire deficit and without adequately considering the impact of the closures onits constitutionally imposed mandate to increase integration in the District.The District has failed to use the Master Plan and school closure “process” tomeaningfully advance integration by utilizing the strategies provided in the joint UnitaryStatus Plan
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including magnet schools, shaping of attendance boundaries, feeder patterns,clustering, open enrollment and the location of certain educational programs such as duallanguage programs. The “process” the District utilized for deciding which schools to closewas flawed as it neglected to consider these critical factors. The District should not beallowed to proceed with its school closure plan until it effectively utilizes the strategiesincorporated in the USP for achieving integration.
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According to the District, “approximately 14, 768 students will be directly affected byschool closures.” TUSD Notice and Request for Approval of School Closures, Docket No.1419, filed 1/2/13 (“Notice and Request for Approval”), Exhibit I at 2.
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Joint Proposed Unitary Status Plan Noting Areas of Party Disagreement (“ProposedUSP”), Docket No. 1411, filed 12/10/12.
Case 4:74-cv-00090-DCB Document 1423 Filed 01/22/13 Page 2 of 19
 
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MENDOZA PLAINTIFFS’ OBJECTION TO TUSD REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF SCHOOL CLOSURES
TUSD’s “Process” for Identifying Schools for Closure was FlawedThe District failed to consider the impact of the school closures on desegregation aspart of an overall plan to enhance integration and educational equity in the District. OnNovember 20, “the Board initiated the closure process for eight schools” and at the samemeeting it received “preliminary information on ethnic and racial enrollment of theremaining schools if all of the proposed school closures were approved.” (Notice andRequest for Approval at 4, 5.) An assessment of how closures could maximize integrationshould have been part of the discussion around school closures from the onset of theDistrict’s planning and certainly this should have been a critical factor to consider duringthe focus group meetings which took place beginning in August 2012.The District could have considered strategies such as pairing and clustering schoolsthat were racially concentrated with schools that had significant numbers of different racialor ethnic groups in order to provide the racial balance that is required in an integration planfrom the start of the “process” to consider school closures. The District could have alsoconsidered sending students from racially concentrated schools to receiving schools thatwould promote integration. The District failed to look at an overall integration plan and toact affirmatively to create opportunities to maximize integration in the District.The District’s consideration of additional school closures at its November 27meeting did not include any analysis of the impact of the school closures on the integrationplan. Exhibit H to the Notice and Request for Approval, which includes the informationthe governing board received on additional school closures does not include any referenceto integration goals or the demographics of the schools proposed for closure or thedemographics of the receiving schools. The District only conducted “a preliminary impactanalysis of school closures on student assignment” at the conclusion of the process toapprove the school closures at the Board’s December 20 meeting when the Board voted onfinal approval to close eleven schools. (Notice and Request for Approval at 5.)As the Mendoza Plaintiffs stated in a previous submission to the Special Masteropposing the District’s request for approval of construction projects, “the District cannot
Case 4:74-cv-00090-DCB Document 1423 Filed 01/22/13 Page 3 of 19

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