Austin ISD announced in February its plan to close and consolidate schools, and now it has a clear plan for how to choose which ones.
To make this decision, AISD administrative staff divided the district into seven regions. The regions aren’t based on attendance zones, and don’t match school board districts. The point of this is to make sure closing and consolidations don’t happen in just one area of the city.
The district and board of trustees are going to make decisions about which schools to close in the context of these regions, which Matias Segura, AISD’s operations officer, says may vary from region to region. For example, one region may want more dual-language learning programs and more AP classes at the high school, while another region may prioritize school overcrowding and better teacher retention.
Once each region's priorities are set — which the board will approve in May — district staff will start experimenting with ways to meet the goals of each region. Eventually, this will lead to consolidating some schools.
Segura says by focusing on the needs of these different regions, closures shouldn’t happen only in the areas where schools are under-enrolled.
"If an underutilized school has a good program, the facility is in good condition," Segura said. "I mean that school could very well become a welcoming school."
Segura said these conversations could also lead to adjusting attendance boundaries for schools in the various regions.
The district is collecting input about what people what to be considered for each region.
The board of trustees will vote on approving which schools to close in October.