Everyone who has been paying attention understands that AISD cannot continue to tap dance around their impending budget crisis. Nor can we as a community continue to fail to address the real and longstanding disparities in how public education is provided in different areas of our city. Both issues must be addressed – swiftly and in earnest. Parents, students, staff, and faculty are ready to hear some hard news. Some are waiting for long-promised relief. However, a mystery remains: The district’s current proposal to close and consolidate a dozen schools is astonishing considering how quickly Austin has grown recently, and that AISD officials have repeatedly communicated to parents and media that a districtwide redrawing of school zones is both imminent and inevitable ["AISD Releases Plans for School Closures and Consolidations
," News, Sept. 5]. So why is the school board hellbent on closing inner-city schools (within a breathtaking two- to three-month period, from announcement to decision) if a full-scale opportunity to reorganize funding, relocate students, and improve equity is just around the corner? Do they think that when this zoning battle comes they’ll have a better chance of getting what they want if they have fewer moving pieces, and fewer communities to answer to? The more prudent and humane course of action – one that minimizes waste and trauma –would be to wait for a full and considered assessment of how these looming boundary changes might be leveraged as low-cost starting points to simultaneously address campus underpopulation and economic segregation. Only after that should we consider shuttering schools, which eviscerates the communities that grow (and grow up) around them.