Sunnyside OKs bids for Chaparral remodel

The Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board voted Tuesday to give the district approval to solicit bids from architects and contractors to remodel Chaparral Middle School.

The board previously voted to close the school for one year as a $1 million cost-saving measure and reopen it as a K-8 fine arts magnet school in 2015-16.

At a previous meeting, board member Buck Crouch expressed concern about how the district would find the money to reopen Chaparral.

Hector Encinas, the district’s chief financial officer, gave information at a study session that showed the bulk of the school’s operating expenses would come from an increase of state funding based on a projected increase in the district’s attendance numbers.

Crouch voted against the measure, and said he didn’t feel the district had provided an adequate vision of how much of the district’s maintenance and operations budget was available to support the school.

The board also unanimously voted to add sixth grade to Gallego Basic Elementary School next school year.

Many families have requested that Gallego become a K-6 or K-8 school, said Jan Vesely, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

She added that Gallego does not have a traditional feeder pattern, and each year the district loses students to other districts or charter schools.

Three portables from Chaparral Middle School will be moved to Gallego to accommodate the new sixth-grade classes.

Friday is day to walk, roll to school

Families are encouraged to participate in the annual Walk n’ Roll to School Day Friday.

Thousands of families across Pima County are expected to participate in the event, which encourages active ways for children to get to school and to improve air quality around schools and in neighborhoods.

Walking, riding bikes, skating or riding scooters improves health through physical activity.

Participating schools will receive a prize for each student actively commuting to school. Schools registering before Wednesday will receive a scooter while supplies last to raffle off to one student.

To find out which schools are participating or for information on how to register, contact Olga at or 724-2453.

TUSD operations official retiring

Tucson Unified School District’s chief operations officer, Candy Egbert, is retiring at the end of June.

Egbert oversees facilities, transportation, school safety and other areas.

Stuart Duncan, the director of business services for the Vail School District, will replace Egbert.

Duncan’s hiring was approved by the TUSD Governing Board 3-2 Tuesday. Mark Stegeman and Michael Hicks opposed the appointment, voicing concerns about whether Duncan has the necessary expertise.

TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez responded that Duncan started off as a painter and did maintenance work, adding that Duncan can share lessons on good operations and procedures.

Other appointments made Tuesday include:

  • Maria Marin
  • , principal of Wright Elementary School, was named director of elementary schools,
  • Kathleen Scheppe
  • , principal of Gridley Middle School, was named director of K-8 schools,
  • Janna Acevedo
  • , principal of Palo Verde Magnet High School, was named the district shepherd.

The district shepherd is a new position that will be paid for using grant funds. It is a two-year position in which Acevedo, who has worked to raise achievement at Palo Verde, will coordinate efforts between TUSD and the University of Virginia as part of a school-improvement program that will be implemented at six campuses.

DeGrazia celebrates 30th anniversary

DeGrazia Elementary School is celebrating its 30th anniversary with student performances, art displays and music Friday.

Students, parents, staff and community members are invited to the celebration at the Marana school, 5051 W. Overton Road, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Festivities will include a spaghetti dinner and a performance by Domingo DeGrazia — a master of Spanish guitar and the youngest son of Ted DeGrazia — with his band from 7 to 7:30 p.m. in the courtyard.

DeGrazia Elementary is a K-6 elementary school serving 507 students.

Compiled by Alexis Huicochea and Veronica Cruz. Contact Alexis at or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

Education writer for #ThisIsTucson. Mom of one.