More than four decades later, Tucson USD desegregation order fully lifted

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 6:22 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 7:16 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A federal judge said the Tucson Unified School District has finally done enough to get out from under court supervision in a decades-old desegregation case

It goes back to 1974.

The district faced class-action lawsuits on behalf of African-American and Latino students.

Since then, the case has touched on everything from district transportation and taxes to facility improvement and student suspensions.

The court said the district made a lot of progress since then.

TUSD had desperately tried to get out from under the federal court order saying it’s been far too long and a lot has changed since the 1970s.

The district developed a Unitary Status Plan to fix the remaining segregation issues.

In 2018, the order was partially lifted.

The court found TUSD complied “in good faith” and met requirements in eight areas:

  • Transportation
  • Students assignment
  • Teaching and administrative staff
  • Quality of education
  • Family Engagement
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Facilities
  • Technology

But the district still needed to work on transparency and accountability.

This time, the court ruled the district did not fall short of its goals and TUSD promised to continue with the USP.

So as it stands now -- all control returns to the district and governing board.

KOLD reached out to Tucson Unified for a response.

A spokesperson sent us this statement:

“Yesterday’s court order formally recognized the good faith effort, and success, that our district has exhibited over the years in addressing the vestiges of past segregation, and most importantly, the order relinquished supervision, control, and authority by the court over the Tucson Unified School District and returned full control and authority to our duly elected Governing Board. Our administration and district community are proud of the work we do every day to ensure we remain committed to the principles of equity and opportunity for every child and young person in the district and will continue our commitment to this important work under the direction of TUSD Governing Board.”

KOLD also reached out to the plaintiff representatives in the case.

Court documents reveal they objected to the latest ruling citing the district hasn’t shown good faith in its handling of the most at-risk kids in the DAEP program.

Sylvia Campoy sent KOLD this response: “It is necessary for me to speak with the Mendoza Plaintiffs and our legal team before making any comment.”

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