The Tucson Unified School District voted late Tuesday to end its controversial Mexican-American studies program, after part of its state funding was set to be cut off on the grounds that the curriculum violated state law.
The school district voted 4-1 to dismantle the program, meaning classes will be suspended immediately, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal said Friday he was cutting the district’s state funding by 10 percent until it came into compliance, amounting to more than $1 million per month and leaving the district facing an immediate $4.9 million shortfall.
The state had long been at odds with the Tucson district over the program, with state officials contending that the classes promote reverse racism. An Arizona law passed last year — which directly targeted Tucson’s program — bans classes designed for a particular ethnic group or which “promote resentment toward a race of class of people.”
These documents were distributed as handouts within the Tuscon school district’s Mexican-American studies program. (Image source: Tucsonans United for School Districts)
The district appealed Huppenthal’s original conclusion that the program violated state law, but an administrative law judge in December upheld his decision, clearing the way for funding cuts. The board opted not to pursue the matter further, citing prohibitive legal costs.
According to the Daily Star, all district board members who voted to suspend the program support revamping either the program or individual classes to make them more comprehensive and include the contributions of all ethnicities.