Anthony, a fifth grader at Parmer Lane Elementary, stood at the front of his school’s cafeteria on Tuesday night, microphone in hand. He told a packed house why the school, which he’s attended since the third grade, is special to him.
“All the other schools I’ve been through in Dallas, Irving, Addison and also Houston, I have not been able to fit in,” he said. “And I feel like at this school, I have been able to fit in very well with my friends.”
Parmer Lane is one of six elementary campuses the Pflugerville Independent School District is considering closing to save money because it is facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit. PfISD officials largely blame the shortfall on the state’s school finance system, which they argue underfunds public schools throughout Texas.
Anthony was one of many people who urged district officials not to shutter schools and find other solutions during a recent community meeting.
PfISD held 10 community meetings over the last two weeks on 10 proposals the district has come up with to cut costs. Administrators presented the options to the school board for the first time in mid-December.
Seven of the proposals would close two to three elementary schools located west of State Highway 130. The affected elementary schools are Dessau, Parmer Lane, River Oaks, Spring Hill, Brookhollow and Pflugerville. All of the campuses are Title 1 schools, which means they have a high concentration of economically disadvantaged students. The district has said it will repurpose any campuses that are closed. Administrators have said that could mean turning them into child care centers or offices for staff.