AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo ISD is weighing its options to offset issues due to declining enrollment. On Wednesday night, Pleasant Valley Elementary School hosted a meeting for parents and the community to address concerns about potential school closures.
AISD officials said enrollment has fallen by 12% since 2015. Lisa Morgan, an assistant superintendent for AISD elementary schools, said there are several factors.
“Birth rates, changes in demographics, Potter County decreasing in population, and 37 out of 55 of our schools are in Potter County,” Morgan said. “We have fewer children that are starting school each year.”
AISD also said limited housing development plays a part.
Morgan said that impacts enrollment as kids move through the school system.
For the district, lower enrollment means less funding.
AISD has cut payroll expenses by more than $18 million over two years, losing 35 full-time positions through attrition. Now, AISD is looking at other options, including closing and consolidating schools.
For those at Wednesday’s meeting, they hope Pleasant Valley will not be one of the schools that shuts its doors.
“The possible threat of them shutting the school down, for the north side of town is traumatic,” said Tiffany Barnes, a parent at the school. “We don’t want to go, you know, some of us don’t want to go further north.”
Jeri Starr, a grandmother at Pleasant Valley, said, “This is a really good top elementary school and I don’t want my kids, my grandkids going out somewhere else where there is a lot of crime.”
When looking at potential school closings, the board started its hypotheticals with those with the lowest enrollment, but Morgan said no decisions have been made and the board is continuing to weigh all the options.
“We’re seeking input from our communities from our families and again, just as we continue to look at all that, we’re going to make decisions that are best for our students and the community,” Morgan continued. “As of now, there are no 100% decisions made or announcements as to what we will do to support that decrease in enrollment.”
Morgan emphasized that no schools in AISD were on the chopping block as of Wednesday. She also said if any decisions are made, the district will give families and communities notice and work with them to ensure kids have the best opportunities.
According to a video released by the district earlier this week, the board does not anticipate any layoffs.