Plano ISD addresses declining enrollment, plans for the future with online long-range facility plan

Photo by Jennifer Shertzer
Community meetings are planned for Feb. 10 at Williams High School, March 6 at Clark High School and April 9 at Shepton High School.

Over the past 12 years, district enrollment in Plano ISD has been declining, according to the district, with peak enrollment in 2012 at 55,700 and current enrollment at 47,800. Due to the decline, discussions surrounding the best plan going forward to reduce costs surrounding facilities, particularly those with low enrollment, have been ongoing. Now, the district’s long-range facilities plan is in place, with studies and community meetings ongoing now.

Though the district attributes much of the decline to the rising cost of homes, growing districts to the north and a decrease in birth rates, a long-range plan to both encourage movement into the district and adjust district resources was set in place in May of 2023.

Currently, the plan is in its study phase, where district officials will examine current facilities, enrollment, long-range planning and programmatic equity. Once all schools have been assessed, enrollment has been analyzed, building use has been considered and resource distribution has been determined, some schools may be closed or consolidated by adjusting attendance boundaries within the feeder pattern to allow for a more equitable disbursement of district resources.

In a community meeting on Nov. 13, the a district-led presentation indicated that 13 elementary schools, five middle schools and five high schools are operating at 65% capacity or less. The district hopes to see campuses operating at 80-85% efficiency or higher “to create the best scenario for maximum curriculum offerings.”

With many schools over 45 years old and others in need of renovations, PISD has estimated that between $450,000 and $750,000 per year can be saved from the maintenance and operation budget for each elementary school retired, $2,000,000 for each middle school and $4,000,000 for each high school.

To assist in making the decision of which schools to consolidate, the school board established an external advisory committee consisting of current or recent Plano ISD parents from each senior high school feeder pattern and each level (elementary, middle or high school) as well as district-appointed members from the Future Forward Taskforce and principal and staff representatives.

What now?

Between October and May, eight advisory committee meetings will take place. Between November and March, six community feedback meetings, one at each 9-10th grade high school, will occur. The next community meetings are planned for Feb. 10 at Williams High School from 9:30-11 a.m., March 6 at Clark High School from 6-7:30 p.m. and April 9 at Shepton High School from 6-7:30 p.m.

In May, the advisory committee will present their findings to the school board, which will be submitted for board approval in June, followed by communication of the plan to the public within a year of approval.

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