TUSD 'turnaround' upsets parents, students, will move forward

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The TUSD governing board's decision to 'turnaround' Rincon and Palo Verde High Schools is still creating controversy across the town.

A town hall meeting at Rincon High Wednesday night gave parents a chance to voice their concerns.

The district says, what's done is done. The decision stands.

The town hall meeting crowd was small but loud, and definitely very angry.

"Our input, our students' input, means something,  but it doesn't to TUSD, because nobody knew about this.  It took my child coming in tears to find out about it," said Rincon parent Jamie Norush attending the town hall meeting.

The unexpected news of a turnaround at Rincon High has shocked parents, and upset students.

Wednesday, the district faced the aftermath of a 3-2 school board vote last week in favor of a turnaround.

"I'm appalled as a parent that they're making such drastic measures," said Norush.

Desperate times, call for drastic measures.  At least that's what the district says.

They say Rincon's Aims scores have plummeted in recent years and the school needs new direction top to bottom, even if that means firing all staff and only hiring up to 50% back.

"I understand what is at stake, but at this point our number one goal is student achievement," said TUSD Board Member Miguel Cuevas.

Teachers say they feel like they're being scapegoated.  Blamed for a bigger problem in education, the lack of funding and resources.

"I think it's sad that effects of previous years have been pushed to teachers," said Rincon Science Teacher Thomas Murrin.

And students are standing by their favorites, willing to take some of the blame themselves.

"Half the school, half the students ditch class, don't care.  It's not just the teachers fault," said Rincon student Blue Norush.

But it's teachers who will take the fall.

"They consider it an insult."

And many fear they won't want to come back.

"A lot of my science colleagues are looking to go elsewhere where they can get signing bonuses and get treated better," said Murrin.

The district says they plan to hold more town hall meetings to discuss the turnaround process, but in the meantime, they're moving forward with it.

TUSD plans to introduce the new Rincon principal to parents and students after the March 8 governing board meeting.