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Austin ISD says it needs more time to announce school closure plan

Friday, August 2, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

The Austin Independent School District will not publicly announce which schools it is considering for closures until Sept. 6.

The board of trustees had been planning to review possible options at its August meeting. Now it will discuss scenarios at its Sept. 9 work session.

In a letter to AISD community members, Superintendent Paul Cruz wrote:

“Austin ISD has received an incredible amount of feedback from the community throughout the School Changes Process, and we’re excited about the innovative ideas and solutions that are being shared. With so much information to synthesize, district leaders need a little more time to thoughtfully prepare scenarios before presenting them to trustees.”

Once the board discusses the options, parents and community members will have two months to provide feedback. Final scenarios will be presented to the board at its Nov. 18 meeting and trustees will then vote on which schools to close.

The district announced in February it needed to close and consolidate schools as the district’s enrollment continues to drop. Over the last 10 years, thousands of students have left AISD for charter schools and districts in surrounding towns. The district says it’s too expensive to maintain a school that is under-enrolled.

AISD officials have said throughout this process that if they close schools and save money on overhead, they will be able to reinvest in programs parents want, like dual language, STEM and college-level classes.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT.

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