AISD unveils plan to reduce portable classroom use by 25%

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin ISD staff unveiled a plan Monday to reduce portable classrooms within the district 25% by 2022.

With 622 portables on campuses district-wide, the district is looking to cut roughly 155 of them.

In his first year at Murchison Middle School, sixth grader David Cromey said he’s been spending a lot of his time inside the school’s portable classrooms.

“It’s kind of a pain,” he said.

With 16 on campus, Murchison has more portables than any other middle school campus. District-wide, Akins High has more with 20.

“These are a lot older you know, and they have leaks,” David’s Mom Tina Cromey said.

The average useful life of a portable is 20 years, according to AISD. However, it’s oldest portable is 68-years-old, while its newest is still 23.

“Really it is time to either replace the portables or build permanent capacity for those kids to be in,” said AISD Planning and Assets Management Executive Director Beth Wilson.

Of the district’s 113 schools, 88% have portables.

When the district last assessed its portables in 2016, 78% were listed as being in poor condition, with another 11% listed as failing. Just 10% were average, and none were assessed as good or excellent.

Wilson said it’s important to get students out of the portables so that they can better interact with the rest of the campus.

“We’d really like to get those students into the building and have access to those collaboration spaces with their peers,” she said.

The Cromey family believes the change can’t come soon enough.

“This is a community, and the closer to a community, then I think it turns out better,” Tina Cromey said.

District staff is also proposing a plan to help ensure campus enrollment is between 85 and 110% of the school’s intended capacity.

For the schools over 110%, staff recommends considering changes to the school’s boundaries that it pulls students from.

All of this will be voted on at the next school board meeting.

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