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To place more students into higher-performing academic environments and improved physical conditions, we are having a thoughtful process to reinvent the use of our campus facilities–resulting in more students learning in exemplary physical and academic environments. We are committed to supporting the kinds of innovative instruction our students want and deserve.
We understand that many believe there is an existing list of schools identified for closure. This is false. While in the past there may have been conversations about individual schools, we are committed to taking a new, more comprehensive approach. By looking holistically across the district and considering numerous factors–not just enrollment–we will arrive at more creative and equitable solutions to ensure we do not target any one area of the district.
AISD has lost 6,000 students in the past five years and is predicted to lose another 7,000 in the next 10 years.
With 80,000 students, AISD is operating enough building space to accommodate 88,000.
One in 10 seats will be empty in the 2019–20 school year.
27 elementaries, six middle schools and four high schools are currently operating below 75 percent capacity.
In five years, it is estimated that an additional five elementaries, three middle schools and one high school will also be below 75 percent capacity.
The average AISD school is 47 years old and has a facility condition assessment score at 55 on a 100-point scale.
AISD will send $670 million to the state in recapture for 2018–19 and it is estimated that number will grow to more than $900 million in 2020–21, absent legislative action.
This process will allow us to reinvest resources, better ensuring alignment with district goals.
AISD must swiftly assess buildings and consider other factors in order to determine which facilities no longer best serve our students’ academic needs, then discuss and decide if they need to be consolidated or closed.
The staffing formulas at under-enrolled schools lead to limited staff size. This necessitates a focus on core subjects and a limited ability to offer the array of more robust elective courses often found in schools that at or near capacity.
Cost per student at under-enrolled campuses can be significantly more than that of a fully enrolled school, which means more dollars are going toward overhead and fixed costs, when they could be used to support student learning.
Working Toward Community Benefit
Schools are the heart of a community, where people learn, play, meet, share ideas and access resources. Wherever possible, AISD will work to ensure that whatever replaces an affected school will serve the needs of the community in a positive way.
Examples could be parkland, a community building, an affordable housing site or a resource center. The district will work with affected communities to reimagine and determine the best use of the property.
The Role of Equity
The district has adopted the National Equity Project definition of Equity:
Educational equity means that each child receives what he or she needs to develop to his or her full academic and social potential.
Working Toward Equity Involves:
- Ensuring equally high outcomes for all participants in our educational system
- Removing the predictability of success or failures that currently correlates with any social or cultural factor
- Interrupting inequitable practices, examining biases, and creating inclusive multicultural school environments for adults and children
- Discovering and cultivating the unique gifts, talents and interests that every human possesses
Many students are meeting and surpassing performance standards, but we do have gaps to close, particularly within some student demographics.
We know that where our families choose to enroll their children can be shaped by public perception of school quality which can include programs offered, academic performance and the physical building.
We realize a starting point is analyzing current policies and practices. We are committed to doing so.
Some potential implicated district changes could include:
- Boundary criteria and process
- Transfer policy
- Transportation policy
There are several initiatives AISD has taken to address equity, including:
- Establishing six Early College High Schools across the district.
- Early college high schools enable students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and up to two years of transferable college credit—tuition free.
Providing districtwide transportation to our single-gender school, Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy.
Adjusting the application process for magnet schools to recruit a student body that is more reflective of the diversity of the district, giving more students access to theme-based curriculum in specific subjects that match their talents, skills or career path.
Transfer and school choice policy, which includes:
- Majority-to-minority transfers: Students may transfer from a school where the student’s ethnic group is more than 50 percent of the school’s population to a school where the student’s ethnic group is less than 50 percent of the school’s population.
- Diversity choice: Elementary students residing in certain elementary attendance areas are given an alternative option to enroll for their middle and high school choices and transportation will be provided.
With regard to equity, there is still more to do and we need community input to help us realize opportunities.