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4 Plano ISD schools will close next summer

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CBS News Texas Live

PLANO — It's official: four Plano ISD schools will close next summer.

It's a possibility many North Texas districts are facing as budgets get tighter. For Plano, the decision came late Monday night. Plano ISD's superintendent called this decision "hard and emotional."

That's certainly true for the students of Davis Elementary, some of whom attended Monday night to try to save their school.

"I don't want my school to close," said 9-year-old Wyatt Crockett, a Davis student. "It's really sad for... there's a lot of kids probably crying since their school is... might close down."

A student at Davis Elementary, he's grown up with deaf classmates, like Jack, Katrina Christensen's son.

"The lunch lady, everyone, all of these people, the other students, these kids here, they love our children," said Christensen. "They know tap them on the shoulder, get their attention so that they look at you and they see your face and they read your lips."

The campus houses both general education students and the Plano regional day school for the deaf, serving roughly 150 deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Plano and 15 surrounding school districts.

A "hard and emotional" night as students, parents wait for official word on Plano ISD school closure 03:46

"Our kids have never gone to school in a school that didn't have deaf people in it, and so nobody is seen as different," said Jessi Kuehn, a Daivs parent. "Like, it's just a part of life."

A committee last month recommended shutting down Davis along with Forman Elementary, Armstrong Middle, and Carpenter Middle in response to declining districtwide enrollment and a statewide school funding crisis.

The two middle schools are half-empty, serving less than 50% of the students they have the capacity to serve.

All four campuses are about 50 years old and in need of repair. But some parents say there are other campuses in worse shape.

The committee's proposal would also split Davis in two, sending its deaf students to a campus their parents say is hardly any better.

"Forty-six years old. Harrington Elementary is 46 years old," Christensen said. "If it was a brand new school, I'd be like, 'Okay, we never have to worry about this for 50 more years.' But it's not. It's just as old. That's what I worry about."

The district says three-quarters of Davis students will move to Harrington together, a campus that's scheduled to receive major renovations.

In explaining the decision, though, the superintendent drove home the funding issues, saying the district has been operating on a deficit budget and has cut expenses down to the bare bone.

She also warned many North Texas districts are in the exact same boat and will need to look at closing campuses too, if they haven't already.

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