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Pflugerville ISD discusses updated plans on possible school closures, rezoning

Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Dr. Douglas Killian first announced in December 2022 that challenges in the district could lead to closures.

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Pflugerville ISD leaders met Thursday night to further discuss plans that could include shutting down at least one elementary school in the district.

Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Dr. Douglas Killian first announced in December 2022 that the district is facing a number of financial challenges that are forcing it to consider closures. Killian said the purpose of doing this is to cut at least $10 million in costs. 

Plans on how to do this have shifted and combined since the initial announcement. 

Originally, Pflugerville ISD officials laid out 10 proposals for redrawing district boundaries to address uneven enrollment for the 2023-24 school year. While some campuses are at capacity, others are underutilized. 

Throughout the process, the following schools have been considered for closure: Parmer Lane, River Oaks, Dessau, Spring Hill, Brook Hollow and Pflugerville elementary schools.

Pflugerville ISD officials said they're seeing declining enrollment in the southwestern part of the district but growth in the northeast. If nothing is done, schools in the northeast will exceed capacity and schools in the southwest will continue to operate well below capacity.

According to district officials, by making these changes, the schools that students would be moved to will operate efficiently. The plans show that there wouldn't be overcrowding for at least five years, but some parents refute that sentiment.

On Thursday, the district shared its "Elementary Plan Nine." This plan is a combination of two of the district's original proposals.

Elementary Plan Nine would close Dessau Elementary and repurpose the building, and students at Dessau would move to either Wielend, Delco or Pflugerville elementary schools. However, as a result, some students from Delco would be rezoned to Copperfield Elementary.

Pflugerville ISD also shared "High School Plan Three " on Thursday.

This plan for the high school would relieve the overcrowding issue that the campuses experience, according to Pflugerville ISD. It would also rezone the areas in such a way that would allow the district to be a 5A UIL District.

Hendrickson High School's boundaries would stay the same, however parts of Weiss High School's boundary would be rezoned to Connally and Pflugerville high schools' boundaries.

Killian said these plans all stem from the district not getting enough money from the State of Texas – the base funding per student in Texas has been stagnant since 2019. State lawmakers raised the basic allotment from $5,140 to $6,160, but funds have not been adjusted for inflation. 

School funding is also determined by average daily attendance rates instead of enrollment numbers. Pflugerville ISD has reported a decline in enrollment numbers and daily attendance.

During Thursday's meeting, Killian stated that he is not going to recommend any closures and will instead recommend that the district continue to make smaller cuts elsewhere and lobby the State for more funding.

"I am not going to make a recommendation to close a school tonight. Not going to make a recommendation for a closure for next school year at all. I'm going to continue to try to work magic with smaller cuts and state advocacy," Killian said. "Without any intervention with more State aid, we're going to be right here, back here in January of 2024 with little options."

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