Students in Tucson’s largest school district won't be able to return to classes Friday, as Tucson Unified School District has decided to keep its schools closed until Monday.
In an email to parents, district officials wrote that because TUSD is such a large district, “it takes a little more time for us to mobilize and ensure that each of our 86 schools sites will have transportation and sufficient staffing.”
Officials at TUSD — the second largest in the state serving more than 44,000 students, and employing roughly 3,200 teachers — said the school year will not be extended, and high school graduations will proceed as planned.
At many schools, however, the district will likely have to crunch extra instruction time into the day to meet state requirements.
“Being such a huge district, we’re not going to open until we’re 100 percent certain we have transportation and staffing,” district spokeswoman Michelle Valenzuela said, noting the district is aiming to reopen Monday, but will let parents know by Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile Sunnyside Unified School District, the second largest in Tucson, will reopen its doors Friday, after six days of historic teacher walkouts that shuttered most of Arizona’s public schools.
Superintendent Steve Holmes wrote in an email to parents that the district will not have to extend its calendar at any schools, and that graduation will continue on time.
He said the budget signed by Gov. Doug Ducey Thursday morning “placed us one step forward to where we need to be when it comes to more adequate funding of our public schools.”
Marana and Catalina Foothills school districts announced they would also reopen Friday, with no need to extend the school year as a result of the six-day walkout, and that graduations would continue as planned.
"These past weeks have been a historic time for education," Superintendent Doug Wilson said in a statement. "The state has seen hundreds of thousands of educators and staff stand in solidarity on behalf of their students and education. These activities brought attention to the issue of low public education funding and the need for sustainable solutions to Arizona’s educational funding crisis."
Students and teachers in Amphitheater Unified School District also will return to classes Friday, but it had not yet determined the affect the six-day closure on its school year. That information is expected be available on the Amphitheater website by Friday afternoon.
Several school districts had planned to reopen Thursday, but were thwarted when #RedForEd movement leaders declared the strike would extend an extra day after lawmakers worked late into the night Wednesday to approve a budget.
Arizona Educators United, the grassroots group behind the movement, declared on Twitter that with the education budget signed Thursday morning, the strike was over.
Vail, Sahuarita, Tanque Verde and Flowing Wells school districts had all reopened all of their schools by Thursday morning.