Some AISD schools may shut down due to conditions, enrollment

Parents react to potential school closures and additions from AISD's report.

Concrete floor damage to T.A. Brown Elementary School in Austin (AISD Photo)
Concrete floor damage to T.A. Brown Elementary School in Austin (AISD Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — At least 10 schools in Austin ISD have been identified for potential closure, according to a consultant’s report given to the AISD’s Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee.

Consultants recommend the closure, reconstruction, or consolidation of 10 schools in the district based on various reasons such as the school’s condition, enrollment numbers and future needs of the district.

The district says the committee “received preliminary options that will help address the needs of the district for the next 20 to 25 years. These options are the starting point for a discuss that aims to ensure 21st century learning spaces for all students.”

Immediately, parents started reacting to the news. Dobie Pre-Kindergarten in North Austin is one of the schools potentially on the chopping block. A group of parents protested Thursday afternoon with chants and signs.

“We have babies right now that we want them to come to this school, we love this school,” said parent Lourdes Rodrigues.

The committee’s recommendation states they would: potentially send Dobie PreK students to Graham and Hart. The report cited poor to average physical condition, under enrollment and the lack of future growth in the area around Dobie.

In the Mueller Development, one option suggests building a new elementary school — Not the middle school some parents, like Erin Fonner, were really hoping for.

“Why would there be a need for another elementary school if the other surrounding elementary schools are not at capacity? And I think that’s an important question to ask.”

Fonner says she still has a lot of questions she hopes to get answer for her family before really weighing in.

“We’re grateful to be invited into the conversation and yes, between now and when the bond election happens, we want to know as much information as we can get,” she said.

In coming weeks the Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee will have a series of meetings to determine which options to present to the public. If all goes as planned, the district would like to get feedback from parents and student sometime in February. Then by March, approval by the school board and a bond election in November.

This is all a part of AISD’s Facilities Master Plan. 

Schools flagged for consolidation/relocation (possible closure):

  • Sims Elementary School – Consolidate into Norman following Full Modernization; Repurpose for partners since a better site / Average FCA, below utilization target.
  • Pecan Springs Elementary School – Relocate to Mueller site within new school with some of Blanton’s boundary / Poor FCA, and below utilization target.
  • Brooke Elementary School – Consolidate into Linder and Metz after Full Modernization at Linder; Repurpose for other use / Poor FCA, below utilization target, no increase in square footage needed. Potentially consolidate, send students to Linder and Metz. Potentially repurpose Brooke for alternative use such as art space at market rate or other use.
  • Ortega Elementary School – Consolidation into Govalle following Full Modernization; Repurpose for other use / Average FCA and within target utilization. Potential consolidation with Govalle to increase program sizes. Potentially repurpose Ortega as temporary swing space.
  • Dawson Elementary School – Consolidate into Galindo following Renovation project; Repurpose for other use / Average FCA, and below the utilization target. Potentially use site as swing space and/or repurpose.
  • Joslin Elementary School – Consolidate into Sunset Valley and Zilker or Galindo following Renovation projects; Consider repurposing for science annex from Pleasant Hill. Galindo would need an addition to fit more kids if Joslin sends / Average FCA and below utilization target.
  • Sanchez Elementary School – Consolidate into Zavala following Renovation project is completed, Repurpose for other use such as staff / Poor FCA and below utilization target. Sanchez has more projected students over time, however, Zavala is historically and culturally significant to Mexican-American community. Sachez’s location nearly the highway would make it a good repurposed site for staff due to the access it provides.
  • Lucy Read Pre-K School – Consolidate students back to home schools after projects occur and repurpose facility / Very poor FCA and within the utilization target. Consider consolidating school and sending students back to their modernized schools. Potentially consider re-purpose or swing space.
  • Ridgetop Elementary School – Consolidate into Reilly following Modernization project; Consider for repurpose / Average FCA and above utilization target and very small capacity at 224. Location is undesirable due to railroad tracks and proximity to Airport Rd. Student population is mostly transfers and not in-boundary students.
  • Dobie Pre-K Center – Potentially consolidate Dobie Pre-K and send students to their home boundaries of Graham and Hart.

The average age of an AISD school is 40 years old. Some of the schools have been around for more than a century.

Last month, AISD shut down T.A. Brown Elementary School after inspectors found serious structural problems with the building. AISD moved Pre-K and Kindergarten students to Reilly Elementary. All other grades went to Allan Elementary.

Three years ago voters passed a $500 million bond. The majority of the money went to repairing and renovating aging schools; including replacing old air-conditioning, plumbing, and fixing leaky roofs. However, the report says more work needs to be done.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s