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4 elementary schools will close in the Harlandale (Texas) district

April 13, 2023
The district has seen enrollment drop by about 3,000 students in the last decade and faces a $12 million deficit.

The Harlandale (Texas) school board has voted 4-3 to close several campuses and reorganize the district to save money as it faces declining enrollment and a $12 million budget deficit.

The San Antonio Report says four elementary schools will be closed: Columbia Heights, Morrill, Rayburn and Carroll Bell

Almost 20 teachers, students and parents from the affected campuses spoke during an emotional hour-long public comment session before the vote.

Harlandale’s move comes just days after the South San Antonio school board, facing a similar situation, voted to close three campuses.

The consolidation in Harlandale will involve merging several schools within the district, while moving administrative offices and departments into the empty schools, which school officials say will result in cost savings and increased efficiency.

The funding troubles that necessitated the move come in part from declining enrollment in the district, which has dropped from over 15,000 in 2013 to just over 12,000 in 2023. 

The students remaining in the district are also attending school less often, according to data presented by the district. School funding in Texas is based on average daily attendance. That metric has fallen from 93% in the 2018-19 school year to 89.77% in the 2022-23 school year.

Part of that enrollment decline can be attributed to charter schools, which have been recruiting near the campuses slated for closure, according to public comments by parents.

Harlandale Superintendent Gerardo Soto has said that the consolidation is necessary in order to ensure the financial stability of the district. Without change, the district faced the possibility of staffing cuts.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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