AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees has voted in favor of closing four elementary schools within the district.
Many had hoped that the vote would be postponed but the meeting went on as scheduled and nearly 90 people signed up to speak. Most were opposed to the plan but the decision was made right before midnight, in a 6-3 vote, to close the schools and now those students will soon be sent to other campuses.
The four schools being shut down are Metz, Sims, Brooke and Pease.
Officials say the reason these schools are closing is due to poor facilities scores and declining enrollment.
Students from Sims will now go to Norman and students from Metz will now go to Sanchez.
Brooke students will either go to Govalle or Linder depending on which side of Lady Bird Lake they live on.
Pease students will go to Zavala campus and operate as a separate school within the building.
The four schools will close at the end of this school year. Students attending any of the four schools that are closing have the option to return to their assigned school before it's shut down or transfer to another campus.
Pease is said to be the state's longest continually operating public school and students from the elementary school walked to City Hall before the meeting began to protest and ask for their school to remain open. The school started back in 1876.
Officials say the Pease site will be repurposed to support AISD's media and archives as well as a social justice center.
The closures are all part of Phase 1 of AISD's School Changes plan. The original plan had 12 schools on the list but after several community meetings and negative feedback the list was narrowed down to four.