Austin ISD releases map as starting point on closure and consolidation decisions

The City of Austin is ever-changing, and Austin ISD feels it's time for them to do the same. “This is the creative space, we are reinventing what is happening in our system,” said Amber Elenz, district 5 trustee.

The district recently released a planning map, a starting point for making decisions on any changes to schools or district lines. “We want to be more open in what the answers might be,” said Elenz.

The map divides the city into regions.

It connects some neighborhoods east to west, something trustees believe shows their intentions for making equitable decisions for the eastside community and the westside.

“We are all parents, we understand what this means to our students, our parents and to us. We're going to be very respectful of that,” said Dr. Paul Cruz, superintendent.

Some possible scenarios from this that could take effect in a couple years are consolidations, boundary changes, closures and repurposing...but this early, nothing is set in stone. “If we were to put down closures, consolidations and boundaries, that would limit the way the administration might think of this opportunity,” said Elenz.

“Part of that facilities master plan and the bond was three new schools. So with those three new schools, we will have to have a boundary change. One school is in Southwest Austin, one school is in Southeast Austin, and there is a northeast middle school,” said Cruz.

Trustees say some east side schools remain under-enrolled. They hope to utilize facilities more efficiently and get families over to eastside schools.

“You've made a decision where to rent, where to buy your home. He's not moving away from that particular recommendation. That seems to be in our conversation something the board has been supportive of as well, also providing choice options,” said Cruz.

The board will vote Monday on a set of guiding principles they want to use during this process, but the big vote and decision on possible closures and consolidations comes in October. 

“What's going to really matter is the fact that we made the right vote for the next generation for the next 10 years for the next 20 years,’ said Geronimo Rodriguez, board president.