Brooke Elementary parent reacts to closure, student body splitting up between two schools

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — After months of meetings, Austin Independent School District Board leaders have voted and four Austin schools will shut down.

IN-DEPTH: Austin ISD board votes to close 4 elementary schools

“I don’t know what the I’m going to tell my kid in a few moments when she wakes up,” Jessica Wilson, a Brooke Elementary School parent said. “Our whole community is devastated. We had hoped that the school district was listening. We spent a lot of time, we brought forward strong alternate proposals, we brought in supporters from the city, the county, the state, national nonprofits like the national wildlife federation and our plans and our voices were not listened to.”

Starting next year, students from Sims will go to Norman Elementary. Kids from Metz will go to Sanchez, students downtown at Pease will go to Zavala and operate as a separate school within the building, and students from Brooke will go to either Govalle or Linder, depending on which side of Lady Bird Lake they live on.

“It’s amazing to know that she’s made such strong friends already and I have no idea who lives north or south of the river,” Wilson said. “Kids don’t understand boundary lines and borders and we shouldn’t either. This school is going to be ripped apart and it’s more than in two directions.”

After Monday night’s meeting, the board president and district superintendent talked to KXAN.

“Tonight we’ve just seen a lot of passion, commitment and love for our schools and that’s exactly what we want to see and what I want to see,” Dr. Paul Cruz, the district’s superintendent. “It has always been about access and opportunity for our students. Making sure we are serving our students in the best ways.”

RELATED: AISD’s own equity officer calls school closure plan ’21st century racism’

“What you saw was an intentional, thoughtful deliberation based on all the information we have at the time,” AISD Board President Geronimo Rodriguez said. “You saw the will of the board came through in the vote.”

A total of 89 parents spoke at Monday night’s board meeting and every single one of them spoke out against the closures. Wilson was one of those parents.

“We don’t know where we are going to go and it impacts me twice because I have a kindergartener at Brooke but I also have a toddler that’s in daycare at Metz Elementary so we need to get on waitlists for daycares,” Wilson said. “I have no idea if my daycare is ending at the end of the school year or at the end of the summer.”

Wilson also said she is unsure what the future holds for her children’s education at this time.

“Most of the families that I speak with aren’t looking at Linder or Govalle. We are being heavily marketed to by charter schools so people are looking at charters and homeschooling.”

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