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San Antonio ISD asks the public what factors should be used to close schools

The outside of San Antonio ISD's new Central Office Building in September 2021.
Camille Phillips

The San Antonio Independent School District has published its first draft of a framework that could determine how the district reorganizes or closes schools.

Board trustees voted last month to move forward with a study of school building capacity amid an ongoing decline in student enrollment for more than two decades. The district says this has left schools under-enrolled or with small student bodies.

“In the past, we have resisted closing schools as our enrollment declined,” SAISD Superintendent Jaime Aquino said in a statement. “As a result, our schools have gotten emptier. We invested in innovation and it worked, but we have not recovered enough students to reverse the trend. At this time, our resources are spread thin, and this leads to our students and their families experiencing inequities.”

The district describes this process as "rightsizing." It may involve closing school buildings, co-locating schools to the same campus, or consolidating schools into one. Recommendations from the study would take effect starting the 2024-2025 school year.

The framework will be used to generate a list of schools considered for closing or consolidation, and schools that will receive the students affected. It includes three primary criteria to determine whether buildings are being underused, including facility usage, enrollment, and the facility cost per pupil.

Community input on the draft will be shared during public meetings beginning in August. Feedback will be considered before the draft is finalized.

Click here to view the preliminary framework and provide feedback.

"Rightsizing, if done thoughtfully, can be an opportunity to build higher-quality schools," said Aquino.

A coalition of community groups spearheaded by the union that represents SAISD teachers and staff recently held a press conference calling for even more community input than the measures currently implemented by the district. They want parents to have final say on whether or not a school closes, using the same method SAISD uses to decide if a campus will become an in-district charter school.

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