A Plano ISD committee recommended district officials shut down four schools following a months-long process to consider facility efficiencies within the district. The board of trustees will vote on the recommendations next month.

What happened

Members of the Long Range Facility Planning Committee, which was established in September, presented recommendations for the future of the district's facilities to the board of trustees on May 21.

Recomendations include the closures of Armstrong Middle School, Carpenter Middle School, Davis Elementary School and Forman Elementary School.

Davis and Carpenter both feed into Plano Senior High School, while Armstrong and Forman feed into Plano East Senior High School. The committee recommended that staff perform further research on schools that feed into Plano West Senior High School due to the west cluster’s already high capacity and unpredictable growth.

The campuses were chosen for potential closure based on capacity, facility assessment scores and operating costs, according to the presentation. The presentation also explained that 80%-85% of capacity is “ideal.”

If approved, the four campuses would close following the 2024-25 school year. PISD Deputy Superintendent Johnny Hill said no staff would lose employment as a result of school closures.

Dig deeper

Forman Elementary School was recommended for closure due to its low facility and structure assessment scores—47 and 33, respectively, both out of 100. Forman was also built in 1971, and surrounding campuses have excess capacity to take on current Forman students, according to the presentation.

Armstrong Middle School had facility and structure assessment scores of 56 and 39, respectively, and is also operating at 48% capacity.

Both Armstrong Middle School and Forman Elementary School are located in the same neighborhood, just south of Bob Woodruff Park in southeast Plano.

Armstrong Middle School Principal John Tedford added that the school has struggled to provide students with a full offering of programming. Tedford also served as a member of the Long Range Facility Planning Committee.

“I hate this because I love my school,” he said. “But I know my kids deserve everything, and it’s becoming harder to provide that.”

Davis Elementary School had facility and structure assessment scores of 46 and 38, respectively. Carpenter’s facility and structure assessment scores were 41 and 23, respectively. The middle school is also operating at 36% capacity, the lowest in the district.

Superintendent Theresa Williams said all four campuses are near the point of replacement. The cost to replace an elementary school campus is estimated to be around $60 million, and the cost to replace a middle school campus is estimated to be around $110 million, Hill said.

Data on capacity, facility scores and structure scores for all PISD campuses can be found on the district's website.

How we got here

The district initiated the process as a result of declining enrollment across the district. The total number of PISD students has decreased every year since its peak of 55,700 in 2012. The district’s current enrollment sits at 47,800.

PISD officials have attributed declining enrollment to several factors, including home costs in the city. The median price of homes sold in Plano was $287,000 in 2015, while that number was $511,750 in March 2024, according to data from the Collin County Area Realtors.

District officials have also cited growth in northern districts with lower housing prices as well as a decrease in birth rates as contributing factors to declining enrollment.

More information on the long range facility planning process can be found online.

Quote of note

“This process brings up strong emotions, and it’s a sensitive issue” trustee Angela Powell said. “School closures will impact that neighborhood for years to come.”