AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Enrollment in Amarillo ISD is falling and the Board of Trustees met for a special work session on Monday to discuss options to address the lack of revenue.
AISD officials said enrollment is currently at 29,771 and has fallen more than 10% since peaking in 2015-2016 at 33,673, which affects their funding from the state.
“That trend that we’ve studied is showing that we’ll lose quite a few more over the years just because of complex issues like birth rate, lower birth rates, Potter county is shrinking, while Randall county is growing and so we have schools that are shrinking,” said AISD Board President Doyle Corder.
As they lose students, AISD said they have too many facilities.
No decisions are being made yet, but the board started weighing options on Monday, including the possibility of consolidating schools to save money on payroll.
Corder said nothing is set in stone at this point.
“There’s gonna be hard decisions made. I mean, there’s, like you said, you look at the data that we have to adjust. You can’t do things like you’ve always done it,” he continued. “But what those decisions are, that’s what we’re addressing right now, trying to investigate what would be the best thing to do for our district.”
He said the next step would be meeting with the community, giving them all of the information and options, and hearing plenty of feedback before making any decisions about whether to consolidate schools or potentially cut programs.
“So there are a lot of options. It’s very complex in a district this size, but places to, when you start talking about cutting, you’re cutting things that we don’t want to cut because it’s very important for our students and our families in our community. So those are things that we don’t want to do at all. So you have to make hard decisions.”
AISD Superintendent Doug Loomis said there are not many entities that have lost $18 million in revenue over the past two years without staff reductions. He said the district has absorbed that cost.
“We are lean, as far as staffing positions. Which if you get too lean, it’s not healthy, right? So we’re trying to walk that line of being lean, but also being healthy for our students, because that’s where that’s where it all goes to,” Corder said. “So we, the staff, have been able to do that and present a balanced budget. There’s many school districts in the state that have adopted deficit budgets this year, and we just don’t think that’s responsible.”