Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Make space for teachers, not cars


Charlie Zoll

May 20 is coming up for this ready senior, but the end of the school year is ominously encroaching on 21 teachers at our school – 21 out of 600 who received pink slips from Tucson Unified School District.

At Tucson High School, we are set to lose two language teachers – in American Sign and Chinese – and three music teachers in piano, band and mariachi.

All of them are the only teachers of their respective subjects. This means our fine arts magnet school will be devoid of three of six music programs and two of only four languages.

We’re taking a 50 percent reduction in some of our most widely attended programs. What for?

The summer vacation is expected to be the start of work on our parking garage, adding 81 student parking spots to the approximately 250 existing spaces and costing $2.5 million as part of a voter-approved bond.

Could anyone reallocate the money to save teachers? If you’ve ever gotten tangled up in the red tape that exists in TUSD and the Budget Oversight Committee, then you know the answer.

I’ve already pointed out examples of wasteful spending as a student rep on THS’ Decision Council.

We have a building that we’ve partially renovated and could occupy with more students who get THS state monies.

We heavily air-conditioned our gymnasium for players who should be training in warm conditions, we leave the fluorescent lights on during the weekends and rarely do we turn off our computers because they must be continually “updated.”

A veteran teacher (my mom) has shot out this idea, also: a furlough day every week. Not just for a few teachers, but for students, too. Turn off the lights, shut down the computers and give the AC a break every Friday.

Make it a day for students to venture out into the community and, with their magnet-oriented minds, do something relevant and helpful.

For instance, I’m a music magnet student. I could walk over to Roskruge Middle School and give piano lessons on Fridays.

What’s my incentive not to ditch school altogether? Simple; on the following Monday, my teacher grades what I did. (There’s also the good feeling of doing something I like to do).

As a teacher who just received a pink slip, how would you feel knowing that the allocation of money for a parking garage could have resulted in your not coming back next year?

Charlie Zoll is a senior and the newspaper editor at Tucson High Magnet School, where his mother, Mimi Zoll, teaches. E-mail: charlitozolo @yahoo.com.

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