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.