TUSD fights Ethnics Studies ruling

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The drama involving the future of the Mexican-American studies program continued Friday.

The school board met behind closed doors to decide what to do next. Hours earlier, teachers held a press conference of their own. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick for TUSD to take action.

The state school Superintendent John Huppenthal's verdict, not in compliance. 

Even after an audit of the classes stated there was no evidence of anything wrong.  Forty-eight hours later it was the school board's turn to act.

"This audit says we are clearly not in violation."

Superintendent John Pedicone asked the board for a vote to appeal Huppenthal's decision.

"Without going forward into an administrative hearing we have no understanding of what a remedy is," said Superintendent Dr. John Pedicone.

The first time around, the motion failed. But Pedicone pleaded with "No" voting board members to reconsider.

"A 10% cut will cripple my ability to run this district.  I'm asking for a reconsider of this vote," said Pedicone.

Dr. Mark Stegeman would not budge.

"I find it despicable that you have stalled this and don't offer an alternative," said TUSD Board member Judy Burns.

But Michael Hicks and Miguel Cuevas did change their vote, and that was enough to pass the motion.

Earlier in the day, Mexican-American studies teachers and their attorney called on the board to appeal.

Now that the board has voted to appeal, the clock is still ticking.  In 60 days TUSD could lose $15 million of its funding.

Richard Martinez, the lawyer for the Mexican-American studies teachers tells me he plans to seek a temporary injunction in court to prevent Huppenthal from cutting TUSD's budget.

At least until pending legal action is resolved.  The district will file its formal appeal next week.