School Closures

Save Pease signs
Julia Reihs / KUT

Parents of students at Pease Elementary, one of four schools the district voted in November to close, say they are dismayed the Austin Independent School District has revoked previously approved transfer requests.

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Paul Cruz
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Even though Superintendent Paul Cruz said he's leaving the Austin Independent School District, the process of school closures that started under his watch likely will not end. But where it goes from here is unknown.

Five Bertha Sadler Means students
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District put off a decision last fall on whether to close eight schools as part of its districtwide overhaul. Since then, students, staff and parents at those schools have been waiting in a sort of limbo, and it could be months before they learn their schools' fates. 

Stephanie Hawley, chief equity officer for AISD, at a school board meeting.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui.

When the Austin Independent School District announced it needed to close and consolidate schools back in February, it also posted a job for its first-ever chief equity officer.

Austin ISD Cief Equity Officer Stephanie Hawley, at a school board meeting Aug. 26.
Julia Reihs / KUT

School closures and consolidations are not "equity strategies," the Austin Independent School District's chief equity officer says in a report released Monday.

Children and community members hold signs asking that Pease Elementary not be closed.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s board of trustees discussed transition plans for the four schools it voted to close at last month’s meeting at a work session Monday night.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted to close Brooke, Metz, Sims and Pease elementary schools – despite the district's chief equity officer calling the closure plan racist.

A crowd holds signs protesting the proposed closure of AISD schools
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees approved a plan to close Pease, Metz, Sims and Brooke elementary schools as part of the first phase of the district's "school changes" process.

Residents hold signs during an AISD school board meeting
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When Juan and Rachael Torres bought their house two and a half years ago, they chose a specific neighborhood in Southwest Austin, Oak Parke, not just because of the quality of the schools, but because their three children would attend schools with the same kids until they graduated from high school. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Click here to read this in English.

El Distrito Escolar Independiente de Austin anunció en Septiembre su plan de cerrar y consolidar escuelas. Pasé casi todos los días después de esa noticia platicando con miembros de la comunidad, maestros, estudiantes y sus padres sobre estos posibles cambios. De las 12 escuelas en la lista inicial de posibles cierres, gran parte de la comunidad solamente habla español.

El edificio nuevo de la escuela primaria T.A. Brown, una escuela consolidada y "modernizada," esta en construcción en el norte de Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Click here to read this in English.

Terminó la jornada escolar y un grupo de maestros de la Primaria T.A. Brown y la Primaria Webb están parados afuera de un remolque de construcción, vestidos con chalecos de seguridad, cascos y gafas de protección. Están a punto de hacer un recorrido por su escuela nueva. 

El edificio nuevo de la escuela primaria T.A. Brown, una escuela consolidada y "modernizada," esta en construcción en el norte de Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui.

The school day is over, and a group of teachers from T.A. Brown Elementary and Webb Primary are standing outside a construction trailer, wearing safety vests, hard hats and protective glasses. They are about to get a tour of their new school. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui.

The Austin Independent School District announced in September a plan to close and consolidate schools. I spent almost every day after that announcement talking with parents, teachers, community members and students about these possible changes.

Of the 12 schools on the initial list for closure, a good portion have a community of parents who speak only Spanish.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Click here to read this in English.

En lugar de cerrar 12 escuelas en los próximos cinco años, el Distrito Escolar Independiente de Austin ahora propone cerrar cuatro escuelas en los próximos dos años.

Austin ISD staff talk with members of the community about the second draft of its school closure plan.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Staff from the Austin Independent School District explained changes to the district's latest school closure plan at a town hall Saturday.

A crowded school closure meeting at Ridgetop Elementary.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui

Instead of closing 12 schools over the next five years, the Austin Independent School District is now proposing closing four schools over two years.

Hazel O'Neil / KUT

The word “equity” has been thrown around a lot over the last month, since the Austin Independent School District announced its plan to close and consolidate 12 schools. On the first page of the district’s proposal released on Sept. 5, it says these changes are being made “with equity in mind.”

But the meaning of the word “equity” means different things, depending on who you talk to.

Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees Jayme Mathias
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District finished its third week of community meetings to get feedback on its plan to close and consolidate 12 schools. Now, district staff will revise the proposal before the school board votes in late November.

Parents and community members attend a public meeting at Ridgetop Elementary
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District held its second week of community meetings to discuss its plan to close 12 schools and increase programs districtwide

Shuronda Robinson, a contractor with AISD who has been helping the district moderate school closure meetings, talks with families at Metz Elementary School on Wednesday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is wrapping up its first week of meetings in communities affected by its proposal to close 12 schools, listening to parents who at times yelled and cried as they asked for clarification. 

Pease Elementary
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is holding a series of public meetings at schools affected by its proposal to close and consolidate 12 campuses across the district.

Jennifer Stayton, Claire McInerny, Matias Segura and Lisa Goodnow during a live Morning Edition taping.
KUT video screengrab

At a live discussion of the Austin Independent School District's proposal to overhaul the entire district, school officials said the idea is about more than just closings. Meanwhile, city leaders said there's room to grow to bring more equitable opportunities to students. 

Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy is among the 12 schools AISD has proposed closing.
Julia Reihs / KUT

KUT hosted a live, one-hour conversation during Morning Edition about the Austin Independent School District's plan to consolidate schools. You can watch the conversation on Facebook or on this page below.

Stephanie Hawley is the Austin Independent School District's first equity officer. She started her job Aug. 1, after serving as associate vice president of equity and inclusion at Austin Community College.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Stephanie Hawley was hired this summer as the Austin Independent School District's first equity officer. The position is intended to help ensure all students have an equal shot at academic success – a request many have been making for years.

Dawson Elementary School
KUT

Isela Guerra spent Thursday night at her first back-to-school event at Dawson Elementary. Her son had just started pre-K there, and she was excited to be an involved parent at the school she herself attended as a child. 

Then she found out Dawson was on the list of schools the Austin Independent School District has proposed closing.

Austin Independent School District officials and school board memebers
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District said it will save about $240 million in maintenance costs by closing 12 schools in the district and moving students to other campuses. But school officials say this plan wasn't proposed to just save money, it will also help students academically.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Independent School District announced Thursday its first draft of a plan for closing and consolidating schools. The move is something the district has said it needs to do as enrollment continues to drop.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Independent School District released a plan Thursday to close 12 schools and move those students to other campuses. The district is also proposing boundary changes and wants to add academic programs at more than 30 schools.

Aaron Booe, LASA student
Julia Reihs / KUT

When 17-year-old Aaron Booe was applying to the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Austin ISD's elite magnet high school, he was excited about what the school could offer. When he showed up to take the admissions test, though, something aside from academics stuck out.

Ali Takata and her two daughters
Julia Reihs / KUT

A large frame filled with 1,001 paper cranes hangs above the fireplace in Ali Takata’s living room. A Japanese and Hawaiian wedding tradition, people fold the cranes and give them to the bride. On a summer morning, Takata decided to teach her daughters, ages 8 and 10, how to make them.

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