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Under new proposal, Austin ISD gives itself more time to consider closing eight schools

Monday, November 4, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Instead of closing 12 schools over the next five years, the Austin Independent School District is now proposing to close four schools over two years.

In a revised school changes plan released Friday, AISD says it will take more time considering whether to close the eight other schools on its original list.

The revisions come after two months of listening to feedback from the community, which disagreed with many parts of the proposal.

Schools Still Proposed For Closure

Sims Elementary: Under the plan, it would consolidate with Norman Elementary in the 2020-2021 school year.

Metz Elementary: Would consolidate with Sanchez Elementary in the 2021-2022 school year.

Pease Elementary: Would close in the 2020-2021 school year.

Brooke Elementary: Would close in the 2020-2021 school year. Students will go either to Govalle or Linder elementary schools. Update: On Saturday, the district said it wants to talk more with families and staff about the school’s proposed closure because students there would be split into different schools rather than consolidating at a new school together. It’s possible the school could be taken off the list, staff said.

The school board could vote on these four schools at its Nov. 18 meeting.

Schools Getting More Time For Discussion

The following schools were initially proposed for closure, but have been taken out of immediate consideration. The proposal says the district wants to “continue conversations with the communities” and look at individual situations more closely before deciding if it wants to close them.

  • Ridgetop Elementary
  • Maplewood Elementary
  • Joslin Elementary
  • Dawson Elementary
  • Palm Elementary
  • Pecan Springs Elementary
  • Webb Middle School
  • Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Scenarios Removed From the Plan

The district has decided not to move forward with adding grades 6-8 to Northeast High School. It is also not expanding Covington Middle School to include grades 9-12 and make it a fine arts academy. It removed International Baccalaureate programs at Kocurek Elementary and elementary schools feeding into Anderson High School.

What’s Next?

The school board meets Monday for a work session to go over this new version and discuss revisions. On Nov. 18, board members will be voting on the following options:

  • Closures of Pease, Metz, Sims and Brooke elementary schools in the next two years
  • District-wide cultural proficiency training for staff
  • District-wide improvements to special education
  • Expanding child care at schools from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • A strategic staffing plan

The new proposal doesn’t say how long the district will take to consider schools removed from immediate closure, so it’s unclear when a final decision will be made. AISD will be holding public meetings leading up to the vote:

  • Thursday, Nov. 7: Brooke Elementary School, 6:30-8 p.m.; Pease Elementary School, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 8: Sims Elementary School, 7:30-9 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 9: District-wide, Travis Early College High School, noon-2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 12: Metz Elementary School, 5-6:30 p.m.

Following the release of the new proposal, AISD explained the changes to the plan. More on that can be found here.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT: Austin ISD staff talk with members of the community about the second draft of its school closure plan, at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Center on Saturday.

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