Tucson Unified School District will spend more than $32,000 on a demographic study to find out where students are going and whether district neighborhoods will grow.

The study, to be conducted by an outside consultant, will assess and project student enrollment in TUSD for the next decade.

Governing Board member Michael Hicks was the sole dissenting vote, preferring to incorporate that type of a study into the district’s already approved $300,000 marketing plan. However, TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez said the marketing plan has a different focus.

Board member Mark Stegeman supported the analysis, saying “we need to understand what our potential market is and focus on that.”

The firm — Applied Economics — will assemble a database of demographic, enrollment and development information, which will include an inventory of active, planned and proposed residential development, and an estimate of the enrollment generated by that development.

The anticipated completion date for the study is Nov. 27.

IN OTHER ACTION

The board also unanimously gave the district the green light to use $2.2 million in grant funds to buy technology equipment in preparation for a new online assessment.

That test will be piloted across Arizona in the spring as an option to replace the high-stakes AIMS test. However, the new PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test may not be the final version that Arizona students will take , as the state’s Education Department is still soliciting proposals from test-makers.

The uncertainty has left many superintendents nervous about both the investments being made to prepare for the test and whether the test will align with what is being taught in the classroom.

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

Education writer for #ThisIsTucson. Mom of one.