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Austin ISD budget document suggests consolidating 12 schools to cut costs

Thursday, December 13, 2018 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Facing a shortfall and declining enrollment, the Austin Independent School District is considering consolidating schools, among other options, to cut its deficit by as much as $55 million over the next few years.

A budget document sent to the Austin school board shows the district is considering two possible options. One would consolidate 12 under-enrolled campuses, saving the district $12 million over the next three years.

News of the draft was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.

The district also suggests less drastic options to cut costs, like reducing its secondary staff, charging fees for students to attend magnet programs, increasing the student-to-teacher ratio, and reducing spending at the central office. The list of more than 90 cost-saving measures is not final and is subject to change.

The recommendations were sent to the board the same week the Budget Stabilization Task Force was supposed to send its proposals. The task force is a committee of educators and community members that was created to study the district’s budget and make recommendations.

The district has seen six straight years of declining enrollment. That’s on top of its increasing payments to the state’s so-called recapture program, which requires wealthier districts to pay property tax revenue back to the state to supplement low-income schools. Last year, Austin ISD paid a record $670 million in property tax revenue back to the state.

Read the full document below.

Download (PDF, 530KB)

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT.

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