TUSD votes to dismantle ethnic studies

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A 4-1 vote by the Tucson Unified School District board to scrap its embattled ethnic studies program was met with derisive outcries by program supporters Tuesday night.

A surprise vote by ethnic studies supporter Miguel Cuevas to dismantle the program was met with particular outrage.  Cuevas was forced to endure epithets and charges of being a 'sellout' and was warned to 'not come to the west side.'

Cuevas said in light of the cut in funding that would affect all students in all courses, he could not put the education of all students at risk.

The Tucson Unified School District had a few options, scrap ethnic studies, change the program or lose millions of dollars in funding while fighting for it.

In a statement released Friday morning, State Superintendent of Public Education, John Huppenthal, upheld a judge's decision that the program violates a state law passed in 2010.

He says TUSD's Mexican-American studies program violates House Bill 2281, a law passed by the state legislature in Phoenix, banning ethnic studies programs throughout the state.

If it had done nothing, the district would have faced a 10% cut in state funding equaling about $15 million a year.