PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — The Pflugerville ISD Board of Trustees discussed declining enrollment trends and shifting district growth areas Thursday night, including the possibility of closing several elementary campuses.
Superintendent Doug Killian confirmed there are 10 proposals for consideration, with multiple different campus models proposed for closure. Six elementary schools are being considered for possible closure: Parmer Lane, River Oaks, Dessau, Spring Hill, Brook Hollow and Pflugerville.
“I heard some of the schools they would be zoned into already had a problem with overcrowding and this would just make it worse,” said Pflugerville Elementary parent Luke Ortega.
No decisions were made Thursday night, with the attendance boundary process expected to continue until the late winter, when a final vote will be considered.
Only one of the options presented by the Citizen Facilities Advisory Council featured a scenario where an elementary campus wasn’t closed. None of the proposed scenarios featured middle school changes.
Beyond elementary campus closures comes impact to high school attendance tracks, where students will be transferred between campuses.
“There will be a massive move of high school students to make sure that we do not build another high school,” Killian said. “We cannot afford to operate it.”
Killian referred to the decision-making process as a legislative issue, critical of the current school finance system in place. He said the district has struggled with inflation impacts paired with the need to make recapture payments to the state — $12 million in state allotments due.
He encouraged parents to reach out to Texas legislators on state-level school financing systems. The Texas Legislature is set to convene for its 88th legislative session in January.
“This is a legislative issue. It’s been a legislative issue for years,” Killian said before adding: “It’s ridiculous because our Legislature doesn’t fund public schools right.”
For students exiting the district and going to a neighboring school or a charter system, that results in a decline in funding PfISD receives.
“If we hadn’t lost those students to charter schools they would still be here in PFISD we would not be talking about closing campuses we would be talking about building new campuses,” said a speaker at Thursday’s school board meeting.
Over the course of several years, Killian said the district saw a huge surge in students entering the district. Following the 2019-20 academic year, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an approximate 900-student decline in enrollment.
“We’re at our wits’ end on how we’re going to fund this,” he said.
This comes as Killian noted extensive district surges east of SH 130, where the city has seen tremendous growth in recent years.
District leaders will present the possible changes to impacted elementary school campuses and high schools Jan. 3-4, with a planned drive of the proposed boundaries planned for Jan. 3.
Community meetings will be held Jan. 9-20, with a second board update on Jan. 19. A third board presentation is scheduled for Feb. 2, with a fourth presentation and possible action by the board planned for Feb. 23.
A recording of Thursday’s meeting and proposed attendance boundaries discussion is available online.