A plan intended to guide Tucson's largest school district on how to bring its schools into racial balance will not be released to the public until September.

A draft of the plan was scheduled to be filed in federal court Friday. However, court records show an order from U.S. District Judge David Bury outlining the delay.

The request for the change in release date was initiated by Special Master Willis Hawley, who is charged with overseeing the development and implementation of the new unitary status plan.

Under the new timeline, a draft of Hawley's plan was released only to the parties involved - the Latino and black plaintiffs - on Friday, with an order that it and any related communications be considered confidential.

The delay will allow the parties to review the draft and come to agreement about elements of the plan.

"This, of course, would enhance the development of public support and minimize issues that might otherwise have to be addressed through more formal means," Hawley wrote in his request.

For more than 30 years, the Tucson Unified School District operated under a federal court order to desegregate its schools.

In 2009, the desegregation order was lifted and TUSD began operating under a post-unitary plan that established a good-faith commitment to the future operation of the district.

Hawley was brought on by the federal court at the beginning of 2012 to create a new plan after it was determined that TUSD did not act in good-faith compliance while it was under the original desegregation decree, and that court oversight would resume.

Hawley is now expected to put together a finalized version of the plan by Sept. 10 to present to the parties.

It will not be until Sept. 21 that the plan will be filed in federal court for public review.

Public hearings will be conducted Oct. 10-12.

From there, the plan will be taken under advisement and the court will rule on whether to adopt the unitary status plan to be implemented in TUSD.

If approved, implementation of the plan likely would not occur until the fall of 2013.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@azstarnet.com or 573-4175.