Forgione Now Suggests Closing Becker and Oak Springs Outright

"Repurposing" has turned into "closure."

Forgione Now Suggests Closing Becker and Oak Springs Outright Austin Independent School District Superintendent Pat Forgione on Monday tweaked his much-debated proposal to "repurpose" Becker and Oak Springs elementaries. Instead of turning them into prekindergarten centers, Forgione suggested closing them outright, with Becker shuttering this spring, and Oak Springs the following year. The plan, he said, would cut about $400,000 out of AISD's budget.

That option was only one of several trustees must choose between, including proposals from the Becker community for ways to fill the half-empty school. Although he did not officially recommend any of the Becker suggestions, Forgione got visibly excited about the community's idea to seek out grants to make Becker an in-district charter school with some sort of specialized curriculum (the arts or dual-language instruction has been kicked about). However, he said that to be successful, the charter would have to find ways to bring new students into AISD from private schools or other districts, and not simply suck students from other nearby elementaries, many of which only stay full themselves through transfers. "If we just redistribute the kids at Zilker and Barton Hills, I'll have to recommend closing one of them," he said.

While some trustees expressed support for the closure, it's unlikely next Monday's vote will be unanimous. Cheryl Bradley, who represents Northeast Austin, expressed passionate opposition. She pointed out that under the last few years of a school-improvement "blueprint" program, both Oak Springs and Blackshear (where many Oak Springs students would attend if their school were closed) had shown marked advancement. "I do believe that if you consolidate Oak Springs and Blackshear, you'll defeat what you started out with the blueprint model," she said.

Bradley was not alone in her concerns. Trustee Mark Williams said the cost savings were tempting, but stressed the need to weigh the dollars in their wider context. "It's $400,000, but how much goodwill are we losing with our community?" he asked.

The Board of Trustees will make the final decision Monday, March 27 at the board meeting at 7pm at 1111 W. Sixth.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

  • More of the Story

  • Naked City

    Headlines and Happenings from Austin and Beyond

    Evacuee Limbo, Eviction Trickle

    FEMA stops sending money at the end of the month to cities for paying the rent of hurricane evacuees; apartment eviction notices are already showing up on some New Orleanians' doors; thousands of displaced evacuees are in rental properties throughout the area; talk amongst yourselves
  • Capital Judicial Pinball

    Rodney Reed Case Back in Court

    Edna Injustice Update

    After more than a year-and-a-half in prison for a crime he insists he did not commit, Rick Patterson, one of 29 blacks arrested and charged with selling drugs in Edna, Texas, was granted parole.

    The Rhythm of Peace

    Anti-war weekend warriors mark third anniversary of Iraq invasion in Million Musician March

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Austin Independent School District
AISD Weighs Schedule Change to Fix Budget Woes
AISD Weighs Schedule Change to Fix Budget Woes
Proposal would cut planning time for teachers in half

Morgan O’Hanlon, Jan. 28, 2022

AISD Tells Parents, Teachers: Keep Calm and Omicr-On
AISD Tells Parents, Teachers: Keep Calm and Omicr-On
Amidst classroom outbreaks, in-person learning continues

Morgan O’Hanlon, Jan. 14, 2022

More by Rachel Proctor May
Chartering Middle School
Chartering Middle School
Hoping to reach middle-schoolers who could go off track in a regular school setting, district moves forward with charter school plans

June 2, 2006

TAKS Scores Show Both Improvement and Trouble for AISD
TAKS Scores Show Both Improvement and Trouble for AISD
Numbers down for the crucial third and 11th grades

May 26, 2006


Austin Independent School District, repurposing, Becker, Oak Springs, Cheryl Bradley, Austin ISD, Mark Williams, Pat Forgione

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle