AISD to Discuss Closing Barton Hills and Zilker Elementary

As a Zilker neighborhood resident, I subscribe to our neighborhood news group and recently came upon some disheartening news.

According to sources in the newsgroup, Zilker Elementary and Barton Hills Elementary are at risk for being closed.  Fox News is reporting that Zilker and Barton Hills may be closed, and students could be rolled over to Becker and Dawson Elementary Schools.

Posted on the “Keep Zilker Elementary School Open“ Facebook page is, “From an email from the Zilker PTA: ‘The AISD Facility Master Plan Task Force is charged with reviewing options for all AISD facilities. One of the options the task force is taking to the Community Meetings on January 12 and 13 is to close Zilker and Barton Hills.”  Here is a link to the meeting minutes discussing the scenarios for various school closings and their projected cost savings to the district.  As you can see on Page 9 of the link above, the Task Force has reported that the largest Capital Cost Avoidance comes from closing both Zilker and Barton Hills Elementary Schools and moving all students into Becker and Dawson.

Although I don’t have children in the schools yet, this news saddens and shocks me.  Both schools earned ‘Exemplary’ ratings in 2010 and are important structures of our community.  According to a study on Austin schools from mid-2010, approximately 524 kids go to Zilker, and 347 go to Barton Hills. Many families will be affected by this – even ones who do not have children in these schools (think property values!).

This is the preliminary stages of the discussions surrounding how to overcome the AISD budget deficits, but we wanted our viewership to be aware of these issues.  If you would like to help voice your opinions on how to support Zilker Elementary, there are ways to do so listed on the Zilker Elementary page.

About Shannon Ensor

Shannon Ensor is a Broker Associate with Sky Realty, the founder of our team and a published author. She began her Austin Real Estate career in 2005 and has earned her ABR and GRI designations. Shannon helps residential real estate buyers and sellers all around Austin and Central Texas. Shannon graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University, earning her degree in Journalism/Public Relations from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications and a minor in Business Advertising & Marketing.

4 comments

  1. Rebecca Williamson

    Definitely disappointing news as these two schools are so highly rated. I know a lot of parents enjoy walking their kids to Zilker and have gotten to know other neighbors that way. Having to drive them across town will take away from that. Hopefully they will decide not to close them.

  2. I am a former student of Zilker Elementary and am currently working on my masters in teaching. I had planned on moving back to Austin once I graduate and wanted to teach at Zilker. I am very saddened by this news and really hope this does not occur.

  3. Schools like Barton Hills and Zilker have become an intrical part of the community. Many families will feel displaced by this, since these are well regarded schools that simply can’t be substituted.

  4. I had the opportunity to see a very compelling documentary about the importance of schools like Barton Hills and Zilker. “Where Do The Children Play?” beautifully presents how critical neighborhood schools – walk to schools – are for healthy children.

    http://michigantelevision.org/childrenplay/

    The film will be shown at the Hideout Theater later this spring.

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