Richardson ISD planning to close schools to budget cuts

Richardson ISD is making plans to do away with a number of schools in order to deal with budget cuts and declining enrollment.

It’s the latest school district to propose budget cuts for the upcoming school year.

Superintendent Tabitha Branum says without any changes, the district is looking at a potential budget deficit of $28 million. 

"We are in 2023-24, and we are receiving the same basic allotment from Austin that we received in 2018-19," she said.

Enrollment has been consistently declining.

The district says it currently has 37,00 compared to the 39,300 in 2019, and the district also has capacity that was never utilized.

"Today, we have 9,000 open elementary seats. Ultimately, that is just not sustainable over time," Branum said.

The proposed plan would close Greenwood Hills, Spring Valley, Springridge and Thurgood Marshall elementaries after this school year. 

Dobie Pre-Kindergarten School would close after the 2024-25 school year.

If approved, Branum says they would save the district around $11 million a year. 

"I know this is disruptive for our students, our families, our teachers," she said. "But I also know that if we’re going to pay our teachers and keep and maintain the programs that we love for our kids, then something has to change."


Texas school districts making cuts after state fails to pass funding increase

Texas school districts are faced with making cuts because lawmakers did not increase school funding.

The district says it will work with teachers at the impacted schools to find a new home within the district. Students will be placed in surrounding elementary schools. 

"As I talk with my superintendent colleagues, most of us are having to have the same discussions," Branum said.

Plano ISD is currently considering school closures of its own after forming a committee late last year to look at options.

Last week, the Fort Worth ISD Board approved budget cuts that include cutting 133 non-teaching employees at the end of this school year.

"Each district may have a slight in difference in the strategy they have to right size their budget," Branum said. "But we’re all faced with these same challenges."

Richardson ISD is just one of several districts who are making cuts as funding for public schools is held up in the Texas Legislature.

The board is expected to officially vote on the proposal on March 21.

The district will hold five meetings before the school board votes on the plan at the end of the month so district staff can prepare for the changes.

Richardson ISD Listening Tour Meetings

  • Elementary school impact in Pearce Learning CommunityFebruary 26, Pearce High School Commons Area – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Elementary school impact in Berkner Learning CommunityFebruary 27, Berkner High School Auditorium – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Elementary school impact in Richardson Learning CommunityFebruary 28, Richardson High School Auditorium – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Elementary school impact in Lake Highlands Learning CommunityMarch 4, Lake Highlands High School H Building Auditorium – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.(H Building is the former Freshman Center – 10200 White Rock Trail)
  • Dobie Pre-Kindergarten School ImpactMarch 5, RISD Academy – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.