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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The troubled Tucson Unified School District will spend $300,000 on a public relations campaign to improve its image amid budget cuts and national criticism for shutting down its Mexican American Studies program.

The district's governing board voted 4-1 Tuesday to hire Tucson-based Gordley Group for the marketing campaign to promote the district's programs and increase enrollment.

However, employees said the money should be spent on education and workers.

The move comes as the Tucson Unified School District faced heat over its interpretation of a new state law that banned classes which critics said encouraged the overthrow of the U.S. government.

District officials ordered the end of its much debated Mexican American Studies program, sparking protests from Latino writers around the country who donated books for "underground libraries."

Mexican American Studies teachers denied that the classes taught racial hatred.

Associated Press,

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