At a special called Board meeting on February 19, the Amarillo ISD School Board decided not to close any schools, at least for the 2024-2025 school year, and instead ask for community input and continue to study possible additional revenue sources for the District.
Citing a number of current unknowns, Board members said the District needs to consider every option available before closing a school. “It behooves us to get everyone involved to make the best decisions regarding the path forward,” said Board Vice President Kayla Mendez.
Superintendent Doug Loomis said all indications are the downward enrollment trend will continue for the foreseeable future. “I really believe the day is going to come when we will need to close and consolidate a number of schools, I just struggle with whether that is now. We need a longer runway. We need to have community conversations about what our parents and citizens want for the future of our schools, and we need to consider all possible efficiencies and sources of additional revenue.”
The Enrollment Crossroads
Amarillo ISD faces a significant challenge as shifting demographics in our community contribute to a decline in enrollment. The school board and district administration have been evaluating the enrollment changes and have conducted a demographics study to identify key points of concern.
Population Decrease in Potter County where most of AISD’s schools are located:
The overall population in Potter County, where most AISD schools are located, has dropped two percent over the last decade, while the average age continues to rise. Meanwhile, Randall County’s population grew by 17 percent.
Local Birth Rate Decline Mirrors Drop in Kindergarten Enrollment:
At the same time, the birth rate in zip codes served by AISD schools has also dropped significantly. This is reflected in our kindergarten enrollment numbers which are declining at an almost equal rate.
Limited Housing Development:
Potter County has seen a slowdown in housing development. This presents an obstacle to attracting new families to older neighborhoods and revitalizing our community.
These trends have contributed to a 12 percent drop in AISD’s overall enrollment since 2015. Today, there are about 3,000 fewer elementary-age children in AISD.
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AISD Enrollment by AISD Communications
The school board and district administration are considering ways to mitigate the enrollment decreases, while looking to identify solutions that will help the district become more efficient and effective as our community and schools change. AISD remains committed to prioritizing the needs of our students and teachers while staying focused on our mission of preparing students for life and success beyond high school.
For an even more in-depth dive into enrollment, click here to view a comprehensive presentation to the AISD Board of Trustees on October 9, 2023.
Feel free to contact your campus principal with questions.