Brooke Elementary is 1 of 4 schools in the Austin district still targeted for closing.

Austin (Texas) district scales back school closing proposal

Nov. 4, 2019
The latest facilities plans calls for closing 4 schools instead of 12.

Administrators in the Austin (Texas) district have pared down the number of schools they want to close soon from 12 to four.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the four campuses still targeted for closing are Pease, Brooke, Metz and Sims elementary schools.

The latest version of the district's facilities plan, which includes 12 scenarios, essentially puts off until further notice closure of the eight other schools that had been on the list. They are Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy; Pecan Springs, Ridgetop, Maplewood, Palm, Dawson and Joslin elementary schools; and Webb Middle School.

The Austin school board would still have to approve closing the four schools, a decision expected Nov. 18.

“You will see a phased timeline ... that creates space for even deeper community conversations and planning,” Austin district Superintendent Paul Cruz said in a letter to the community. “At the same time, my team and I believe deeply that no change at all is not an option.”

District administrators say that to usher in better academic programs and improve equity in the school system, the district must close low-enrolled and aging facilities and consolidate students at modernized campuses. The district is also recommending equity training for teachers to better understand cultural differences among their students.

Many families and school employees of the 12 campuses on the initial closure list have said they were blindsided by the district’s proposal when it was released in September. The district has held numerous meetings with affected school communities over the past several weeks as they developed their latest revisions.

The plan is to move Brooke, Metz and Sims students into modernized schools that are under construction — Govalle, Sanchez and Norman elementaries.

Pease children, all of whom are transfer students, will have to find other school options. Parents of that Central Austin school’s students are particularly upset by the latest revision. The September version had Pease closing toward the end of 2021. Now Pease students’ last day would be in May, parents say.

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