Austin ISD school change scenarios outline 12 possible closures, new programs, realignments

Austin ISD superintendent Paul Cruz, shown here attending a modernization groundbreaking in 2018, said in a statement the district's school changes process will change the way the district delivers education to students and will ensure access and opportunity for all.

Austin ISD superintendent Paul Cruz, shown here attending a modernization groundbreaking in 2018, said in a statement the district's school changes process will change the way the district delivers education to students and will ensure access and opportunity for all.

Austin ISD has released a draft of 39 individual scenarios for its ongoing school changes program, including 12 scenarios that would close current district schools.

Schools with proposals to close include Brooke, Dawson, Joslin, Maplewood, Metz, Palm, Pease, Pecan Springs, Ridgetop and Sims elementary schools, Webb Primary and Middle, and Sadler Means Middle School, according to the scenarios released Sept. 5.

A map of proposed school closures—with statistics about each school's performance, enrollment, demographics and bond investments—can be found here:


Other scenarios outline numerous new programs throughout the district, and some of the proposals would realign district feeder patterns to minimize how many schools individual elementary and middle school campuses feed into.

School changes Community Engagement Coordinator Ali Ghilarducci told Community Impact Newspaper that the scenarios were developed in a way in which the district’s board of trustees could approve it as an entire package, or trustees could pick and choose which individual scenarios to approve.

“All of the scenarios could be adopted,” she said. “Ultimately we arrived at a place where all of the scenarios could be implemented all as one big package or trustees could choose to take one or more out or modify them.”

Of schools with scenarios that call for closures, seven are located east of I-35. The majority of schools are located within Central Austin, with three schools located south of the Colorado River.

“The School Changes Process offers our best thinking for how we can perform better as a district,” Superintendent Paul Cruz said in a statement to the district. “Our goal is to have a positive effect on the outcomes for our students. Trustees will vote on these changes in November.”

According to the draft scenarios…

  • Webb Middle students would be consolidated into a modernized campus at Dobie Middle School beginning in the 2024-25 school year, while Webb Primary would be closed in the first quarter of 2020

  • Brooke students would be relocated and split between modernized Govalle and Linder elementaries beginning in the 2020-21 school year

  • Metz students would attend school at the modernized Sanchez Elementary campus beginning in the 2021-22 school year

  • Ridgetop students would move into a modernized Reilly Elementary beginning in the 2023-24 school year

  • Pease students would move to Zavala Elementary beginning in the 2021-22 school year

  • Joslin and Dawson would close and send students to a modernized St. Elmo Elementary and renovated Galindo Elementary beginning in the 2024-25 school year, with new boundary lines for both schools

  • Sadler Means would close, with students given the opportunity to attend the Ann Richards School for Young Woman Leaders beginning in the 2022-23 school year

  • Palm would close, with students moving to Perez Elementary beginning in the 2024-25 school year. Some Perez students would be relocated to Langford Elementary through boundary changes

  • Maplewood students would move to a modernized Campbell Elementary beginning in the 2023-24 school year

  • Sims students would be relocated to modernized Norman Elementary school in the first half of 2021, while Pecan Springs students would be relocated to Norman and Winn elementaries beginning in the 2021-22 school year.



Ghilarducci said that with consolidations, the goal was to send students to campuses being modernized through the 2017 bond, which will offer more resources and opportunities for 21st century learning than their current schools.

"We believe that when [parents] see those new, modernized schools come online [beginning in January], they will absolutely be saying, yes, we want this for all kids, particularly for the kids who will experience consolidated," she said.

Cruz said the scenarios release "are not final."

"Each one is a starting point for conversation. We want to know what you think about the draft School Changes scenarios and what you believe is missing. We want you to show up at our meetings and participate in our online discussions," he said.

The AISD Board of Trustees will discuss the draft changes for the first time on Sept. 9 at a work session. The board is scheduled to approve any changes it chooses to make on Nov. 18.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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