New version of AISD School Changes plan focuses on 2020-21 changes, includes 4 updated consolidation scenarios

Pease Elementary School is one of four schools being considered for consolidation for the 2020-21 school year. 
Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper
Pease Elementary School is one of four schools being considered for consolidation for the 2020-21 school year. Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper

Pease Elementary School is one of four schools being considered for consolidation for the 2020-21 school year. Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper

The second version of Austin ISD’s ongoing School Changes plan outlines four schools Austin ISD trustees could consider later this month for future consolidation: Sims, Metz, Pease and Brooke elementary schools.

The new version—which was released Nov. 1—focuses on 12 total scenarios, most of which could be implemented for the 2020-21 school year if approved by trustees Nov. 18. Over 20 additional scenarios are listed as needing more planning and community engagement before being voted on possibly this spring. The full updated plan can be viewed here.

The Brooke scenario would relocate students north of the Colorado River to Govalle Elementary School, while students south of the river would attend Linder Elementary. According to the district, consolidating Brooke into a modernized Govalle will “help support the district’s underserved Black and Hispanic students” with opportunities created by combining teaching staff, academic resources and programs. The scenario also “addresses the challenges of declining enrollment at each school.”

According to the updated Pease scenario, Pease would be “repurposed to support the districtwide Social Justice Center and the AISD archives” because a full modernization for school uses cannot be supported by the district due to the school’s small enrollment capacity. Funds that could be used to address maintenance at Pease will be used elsewhere in the district.

Metz will close and students will learn at a modernized Sanchez Elementary School beginning in August 2021, according to the new version. Sanchez is being modernized with $25 million from the district’s 2017 bond.


Sims would close with students learning at the modernized Norman Elementary School. According to the district, combining the two school communities permanently “will build on the unity, strength and momentum of the currently co-located students.” The modernized school will open in spring 2021.

Although not a scenario that would be implemented for the 2020-21 school year, the plan to realign elementary schools in the North Menchaca Road area now includes Zilker Elementary School. The original scenario released in September listed Dawson and Joslin elementary schools as possible closures, with Galindo and St. Elmo elementary schools receiving those students.

The district did not specify whether Zilker would close, accept students from other schools, or otherwise be involved in the changes in the Menchaca Road area. While a fully updated scenario for the Menchaca Road area was not included in the updated version, the document states that further planning and community engagement is needed. Joslin Elementary School recently secured a grant to “transform” the campus into the Joslin Foreign Language Elementary School, a plan that needs to be evaluated further by the district. Also, St. Elmo would likely need to be modernized and increase its capacity through a future bond if the scenario was approved by the board and schools were closed, according to AISD.

The updated scenarios also list eight previous scenarios that are “no longer under consideration.” Campus specific programs no longer being considered include:

  • the expansion of engineering and computer science programs at Bowie High School and its feeder schools;

  • individual baccalaureate programs at Kocurek Elementary School and Anderson High School;

  • the 6-12 baccalaureate fine arts program at Covington Middle School

  • the expanded esports programs for Austin, International and Eastside Memorial Early College high schools;

  • the 6-12 Early Steps to College Prep program at Northeast Early College High School;

  • the personalized learning program for homeschooled students at the Anita Ferrales Coy Facility; and

  • proposed academies extensions for Austin High School and related feeder schools.


The information was released along with an agenda for a Nov. 4 board informational session, in which trustees will discuss the new version of the plan for school changes for the first time. Trustees are expected to vote on the 12 current school changes at a meeting later this month.

Community engagement opportunities will also be held Nov. 7-12, at the following times and locations:

Nov.7

  • Brooke Elementary School: 630-8 p.m.

  • Pease Elementary School: 5:30-7 p.m.


Nov. 8


  • Sims Elementary School: 7:30-9 a.m.


Nov. 9


  • Travis Early College High School: noon-2 p.m.


Nov. 12


  • Metz Elementary School: 5-6:30 p.m.

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By Nicholas Cicale

Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.


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