The Richardson ISD board of trustees is set to make a decision on whether to close and consolidate multiple campuses across the district in an effort to address ongoing budgetary issues.

On March 21, trustees are expected to vote on the initiative, called Project RightSize, which would close Greenwood Hills Elementary, Springridge Elementary, Spring Valley Elementary and Thurgood Marshall Elementary in the 2024-25 school year, and move students there to other existing nearby campuses.

Trustees are also expected to vote on whether to do away with noncontiguous attendance boundaries, meaning students who are currently bused to schools with different attendance zones would attend the school nearest to them.

In a nutshell

The decision comes as district officials expect to see a $28 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2024-25, which would be the fifth consecutive budget shortfall adopted by the board. Superintendent Tabitha Branum said the district’s past and future expected budgetary issues stem from a lack of increase to public education funding from the Texas Legislature since FY 2018-19.

The move to close and consolidate the four elementary schools—all of which are nearly 60% undercapacity, have declining enrollment numbers and high maintenance costs due to aging—would reduce expenditures by around $10.8 million annually, in addition to bringing in an estimated $10 million in one-time funds, according to a Feb. 22 presentation made to the board of trustees.

Removing noncontiguous boundaries is expected to save around $300,000 annually, according to district officials.

What else?

Under Project RightSize, as presented in February, Thurgood Marshall would be repurposed as the Thurgood Marshall Learning Center, which would house a center for the district’s new law program as well as become the new location for RISD’s alternative education program. Spring Valley would be repurposed to house RISD employees currently working at the Professional Development Center.

District officials plan to adopt the FY 2024-25 budget in June. However, Branum said the board wants to finalize plans for elementary school consolidations by the end of March to give staff time to prepare for the upcoming school year.