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2 TUSD schools may go without principals

Citizen Staff Writer



Two schools in Tucson Unified School District will go without principals next year, opting for less costly assistant principals so they will have more money for things like school supplies and staff members.

Those decisions, at Holladay Intermediate Magnet and Richey Elementary, and hundreds more on cutting expenses were included in reports by school site councils in the last several weeks and turned into TUSD last month.

Superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen had authorized schools this spring to make the cuts instead of having central administration do it. Site councils consist of parents and staff.

Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the documents tell a bare-bones story for next year if potential cuts of up to 18 percent are realized. Schools had to turn in two plans – one for cuts of 10 percent, another for 18 percent. They should find out which level is needed in June.

The no-principal plan was one of many in which school communities tried to creatively deal with expected legislative cuts to TUSD’s budget of $20 million to $45 million for fiscal 2009-10, which starts July 1.

Spending for campus monitors dwindles or disappears at many high schools. So does funding for fine arts.

Reports from Utterback Middle Magnet School of the Arts, Hohokam Middle School and Booth-Fickett Math/Science Magnet appear to keep spending for supplies and some staff relatively the same at both the 10 percent and 18 percent levels, but have the number of teachers decrease.

Alice Vail Middle School’s biggest cut is in supplies. It’s allotting itself nearly $17,829 in main office and attendance office supplies under the 10 percent cut scenario, but only $1,114 if the cuts are at 18 percent. Teaching supply allocations there go from $11,143 at 10 percent to $6,686 at 18 percent.

At other middle and elementary schools, counselors, librarians and monitors are too costly to keep. But they kept their principals.

Richey and Holladay this year already have only half-time principals. Richey shares Ruben Diaz with Carrillo Magnet; Holladay shares Teri Melendez with Borton Primary Magnet.

But the schools chose to let Diaz be full time at Carrillo next year. Melendez will be at Borton four days a week. The fifth day she’ll be at Holladay, where an assistant principal will be in charge most of the time, said Chief Academic Officer Maggie Shafer.

Shafer said she has faith in the plans. At Richey the assistant principal will “continue the positive momentum created this year by Diaz . . . and at Holladay, the assistant principal will continue to make the school a more robust magnet.”

Other dual-principal schools took the opportunity for self-determination to change their circumstances.

Davis Bilingual Magnet Elementary and Roskruge, both an elementary and bilingual middle school, which shared a principal this year, will each have a full-time principal next year. Roskruge will lose an assistant principal.

Manzo and Rogers elementaries will go from a half-time to full-time principals next year. Bloom Elementary will go from a half-time principal to one four days a week, as will Sewell Elementary.

Marshall Elementary, at 18 percent cuts, will opt for a two-thirds-time principal.

Another Chief Academic Officer, Ross Sheard, said he worries there will be fewer chances to offer advanced classes next year and fewer people to supervise students – and employees.

Said Tucson Education Association President Steve Courter: There could be some real implications, especially for schools that don’t get any federal funding. “And still we are not hearing anything positive from the governor or the Legislature.”

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