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Which Plano schools should shut down? Plano ISD to hear recommendations

Plano ISD to hear recommendations of which schools should be closed
Plano ISD to hear recommendations of which schools should be closed 02:43

PLANO — Plano ISD trustees will hear recommendations Tuesday from the Long Range Planning Committee on which campuses should close amid declining enrollment. 

The district has lost 7,000 students over the last 12 years and it expects to lose another 1,800 in the next four years. 

Twenty-two campuses have less than two-thirds of their total student capacity enrolled. Five are operating half-empty. 

One example is Carpenter Middle School in central Plano, which can accommodate nearly 1400 students. 

As of this fall, only 505 students were enrolled, which is 36% of its total capacity. 

The district attributes lower enrollment to families having fewer children, a slowdown in new construction as the city is nearly "built-out" and the increasing cost of housing, which has made it less affordable for young families. 

A recent district audit determined that "continuing to operate schools that are not needed represented an unnecessary and inefficient expenditure of funds." 

"We understand that the school district and the school buildings within the school district belong to our community," said Deputy Superintendent Johnny Hill, during one of several community meetings throughout the year to explain the situation and get input. 

The final decision will be up to the school board, which is expected to vote in June following Tuesday's recommendations.

It's not yet known which schools it will recommend for closure, or even how many. 

The committee is comprised of community members. They were asked to consider the condition of buildings, feeder patterns, transportation and the impact to the district, as a whole. 

The district has said it will be at least a year before any campuses close their doors. 

Trustees have already started making plans for what to do with vacant school buildings. Earlier this month, they voted to give the city of Plano the first right to purchase them to use for a community benefit. 

The link to Tuesday's agenda can be found here, and resources can be found here.

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