The Tucson Unified School District will not get the oversight relief it sought in court as part of its decades-old desegregation lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge David C. Bury denied the school district’s request for partial unitary status in the areas of transportation, family and community engagement, technology, facilities, evidence-based accountability system and extracurricular activities.
In March, TUSD asked the court to lift oversight in those areas, arguing that there are no remaining traces of discrimination. The district declined to comment on the judge’s decision.
Without considering the merits of TUSD’s petition, the court does not have enough information to make that decision, Bury said in his order. The special master who oversees the district’s desegregation efforts has not yet submitted the 2015-16 annual report.
Special Master Willis Hawley recommended in May that the court defer action on the matter.
The Latino and African American plaintiffs in the case opposed TUSD’s appeal for partial unitary status, calling it “premature.” They argued that the areas the district wanted relief in were too closely intertwined with the remaining areas of the unitary status plan, which are student assignment, quality of education and discipline.
Sylvia Campoy, who represents the Latino plaintiffs, said the district should focus on fully implementing the unitary status plan instead of pursuing “other avenues.”
“The Mendoza plaintiffs passionately desire that TUSD obtain unitary status. However, doing so must be through a bona fide effort in its implementation of the USP and based on verifiable evidence of its full compliance,” Campoy said.