AUSTIN (KXAN) — School consolidations and closures have been part of the bond conversation for the last six months with nothing set in stone.
This week, KXAN obtained a document sent to the school board that lists these six properties to be sold for a total of $73.9 million to offset the $1 billion bond:
- Norman Elementary
- Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy
- Rosedale School
- Sanchez Elementary
- Metz Elementary
- Brooke Elementary
As of Tuesday, district officials acknowledged they were looking at aging, under-enrolled schools in the LBJ High School vertical team in east Austin for potential closure.
“At this time we do not have schools specifically identified, but I do think after those conversations with our community we will then provide that information to our different school communities,” said Austin ISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz during a press conference.
Trustee Jayme Mathias tells KXAN he spent the month of April and May holding community meetings with families at Sanchez, Zavala, Metz and Brooke Elementary, which are all located east of I-35 between Seventh Street and Lady Bird Lake. Those who attended the meetings were shown a PowerPoint presentation from a demographer who says over the next 10 years AISD cannot sustain the four elementary schools that have hundreds of empty seats.
During the Facilities Master Plan process, consultants recommended 10 schools for closure.
AISD says no schools will be closed until those families have something better, a modernized campus, to move into.
“We have to invest in our schools,” said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin. “Our kids, our families deserve it, and on the east side it’s just a desperate situation — we have to have more investment not less investment.”
The $1 billion bond project list includes $25 million Mathias says could go toward a new facility in east Austin for students who are part of a consolidation.
“We’ve got to come up with some creative solutions,” said Mathias. “How can we create a win?”
Property sales is one way the district is going to offset the cost of the bond and keep the property tax rate the same.