Wednesday, December 12, 2012

'Flying High': A Wrap-Up of Last Night's TUSD Votes Regarding MAS and the Deseg Plan

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Last night, the Range talked with Sylvia Campoy, the Mendoza representative for the district's decades old desegregation complaint (Fisher-Mendoza v.Tucson Unified School District) after last night's TUSD governing board meeting, where she said she was floating and even turned around to say thank you to the board as she left the board room.

Why, you ask?

One of last night's items for the board's regular agenda was, “Fisher-Mendoza v. Tucson Unified School District — Approval of or Objection to the Proposed Unitary Status Plan/Consent Decree.”

When it came up, board member Mark Stegeman read a board resolution approving of the unitary status plan. What he was referring to was the latest incarnation of the plan put together by deseg special master Willis Hawley and released Monday, Dec. 10.

However, Stegeman also wanted to add to the agenda the district's objection, as well as a list of other objections.
Board member Adelita Grijalva said during the meeting that she would really like to vote yes on the deseg plan, because there are a lot of items in the plan she agrees with, but she could not do that if the objection to culturally relevant core courses remained in Stegeman's motion before the board.

Board president Miguel Cuevas asked Stegeman if he was willing to split his motion in half, first bringing forth a motion on the deseg plan before them, then bringing second motion on the objections.

Stegeman agreed. The board voted 5-0 to approve the unitary status plan — keep in mind the plan, with objections still filed with U.S. District Court Judge David Bury remain and the plan must go through final approval before Bury. That's the next step.

Stegeman then brought the second motion regarding the objections; namely, the objection that the TUSD legal team filed last month against the MAS classes being returned as core curriculum classes for literature and social studies.

That resolution was defeated 3-2, with Grijalva, Cuevas and Alexandre Sugiyama voting no, and Michael Hicks and Stegeman voting yes.

But later, after most people in the board room left for the evening — it was a long board meeting that went past 11 p.m. after a long executive session — Stegeman brought the second motion on the objections up for a revote. Hicks asked to go into executive session and when the board came out the second motion returned to the board. This time, the board's vote against the objections was unanimous — 5-0 against, with Hicks and Stegeman changing their vote.

Regarding the first vote, Campoy told the Range it was important became of the message it sends to Bury. “The court is going to know that the vote was 5-0, because let's say it was a 3-2 vote or split, it wouldn't have been as strong,” she said. “It's much more likely the judge is going to back us.”

Why the public change in heart?

“I honestly believe that all of the studies have had a cumulative impact on those three board members. Each of the studies have shown that these courses have had a significant impact on all students — achievement and graduation rates. That's finally reached the level of consciousness. … Something good is going on with these courses. A lot has to be attributed to that,” Campoy said.

“Also people showing up at all of these forums … all of these board meetings saying, 'We want these courses,'” we want these teachers.

But while MAS supporters and others like Campoy are flying high last night and this morning, others looked at Grijalva's Facebook status update posted late last night:

Unfortunately the TUSD board vote tonight regarding Culturally Relevant Courses only voted down an ADDITIONAL objection to CRC's as core classes. The initial objection filed by TUSD still in effect. This issue will be rectified at 1st meeting with new board in January.

So here we are, and where is that? The Range is making a few calls and will have more on the deseg plan this afternoon.

After the jump take a look at a video from Three Sonorans on last night's meeting and vote.

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