After hearing from educators, Arizona 360 wanted a clearer picture of what it's like to run a district post-Red for Ed. Gabriel Trujillo is in his second year as superintendent of the state's second-largest school district. The Tucson Unified School District serves more than 40,000 students and has nearly 90 schools and programs. Trujillo said his administration has made systemic changes to address ongoing issues within the district, such as teacher retention and AzMerit scores. TUSD also has plans to meet all requirements of a court order that would bring an end to a desegregation case that has loomed over the district for more than 40 years.
"We have an aggressive commitment to compliance," Trujillo said of a judge's recent ruling that the district was in partial compliance with its court order.
Other persisting challenges include declining enrollment for the 11th consecutive year. Between 700 and 1,200 students leave each year, according to Trujillo. Ultimately the district loses out on tax dollars that would have followed them into the classroom. TUSD also struggles with funding shortfalls needed to maintain its campuses and facilities.