RISD Proposes Elementary School Consolidation Plan

Project RightSize

Five elementary campuses would be consolidated or repurposed

Continuing budget planning discussions that began more than a year ago, RISD proposed the consolidation of five current elementary campuses at the February 22 regular board meeting.

“The factors that have led us to this point have been well documented over the previous year,” said superintendent Tabitha Branum. “With more than 9,000 empty seats, RISD operates the least efficient elementary school model among our competing districts. Our decreased student enrollment reflects a state and national trend, and RISD has not received any additional per-pupil funding from our elected officials in Austin since before the pandemic, while inflation has continued to rise dramatically. All are reasons we are considering a variety of budget reductions and enhancements, including elementary school consolidations.”

“Our overall goal is to address our budget challenge in a way that does not impact the programs and services we offer to students, and allow us to continue to provide educators with competitive compensation so we can continue to attract and retain the quality staff necessary to continue our students’ academic growth.” 

After cutting central and support expenditures by $14.4 million last June, a community budget steering committee of parents, community members and campus staff met for six months to arrive at recommendations for additional ways RISD can operate more efficiently or generate additional revenue. One major recommendation was consolidating elementary schools to operate more efficiently, as RISD operates the least efficient elementary model among comparison districts. 

Under the consolidation plan, named Project RightSize, attendance boundaries of Greenwood Hills Elementary, Springridge Elementary, Spring Valley Elementary, and Thurgood Marshall Elementary would be consolidated with neighboring elementary schools starting with the upcoming 2024-25 school year. Dobie Pre-Kindergarten School would cease to operate as a school starting in 2025-26. The overall plan would reduce operating expenditures by an estimated $10.8 million per year, and also result in an estimated $10 million of one-time funds.

In addition, the plan would end the decades-old practice of transporting students away from their neighborhood school across attendance zones to other schools, known as non-contiguous boundaries. Overall, the plan would reduce the number of elementary students requiring transportation and increase the number of students able to safely walk or bike to school. 

No secondary schools would be consolidated under the plan. Comprehensive details, rationale, and proposed new boundary impacts are available in the Project RightSize plan. Starting the week of February 26, the district will host a series of listening tour meetings for parents and staff impacted by the proposed consolidations and boundary changes to ask questions and offer feedback.

Listening Tour Meetings
Elementary school impact in Pearce Learning Community
February 26, Pearce High School Commons Area – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Elementary school impact in Berkner Learning Community
February 27, Berkner High School Auditorium – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Elementary school impact in Richardson Learning Community
February 28, Richardson High School Auditorium – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Elementary school impact in Lake Highlands Learning Community
March 4, Lake Highlands High School H Building Auditorium – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
(H Building is the former Freshman Center – 10200 White Rock Trail)

Dobie Pre-Kindergarten School Impact
March 5, RISD Academy – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Superintendent Branum encouraged stakeholders to continue to have their voice heard with elected officials in Austin, as RISD students, staff and taxpayers deserve to have public schools fully funded so the district can continue to offer the best educational experience possible. Learn more about legislative issues and RISD’s elected representatives in Austin at risd.org/legislative

While the 2024-25 budget will not be adopted until June, a decision on the proposed elementary consolidations will be needed by the end of March so district staff can prepare for the changes and implement support for impacted families and staff. 

Watch the February 22 Board meeting presentation and discussion

See the proposed Project RightSize plan

Learn more about budget planning discussions, factors, and decisions

Provide feedback or ask a question through Let’s Talk

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