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Budget cuts could impact some AISD campuses

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TWC News: Budget cuts could impact some AISD campuses
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Some schools are on the possible chopping block as officials with the Austin Independent School District look for ways to cut spending. The action comes in anticipation of expected shortfalls in state funding for schools.

The principal of Barton Hills Elementary sent a letter to parents Thursday warning that the Central Austin school could be up for permanent closure.

The letter also stated that a previous idea to combine several area schools in one location was no longer an option.

For parents like Mimsie Cavelier, the news is worrisome for her family.

“I was blown away by the fact that they were saying we were going to have this kind of gigantic budget cut,” she said. “I mean obviously having two children here, it’s a very personal matter.”

On Thursday, Allan, Dawson and Zavala elementaries were identified as schools possibly affected. On Friday, the district said that is no longer the case.

However, some campuses remain in the mix. District officials say nine schools could be closed, consolidated or repurposed.

Those include Pearce Middle School, Hills, Brooke, Joslin, Oak Springs, Ortega, Pease, Sanchez and Zilker elementaries.

AISD faces a $20 million, district-wide shortfall. A budget task force met Thursday night to discuss how to save $7 million in 2012.

AISD Task Force Co-Chair Janet Mitchell said no proposals are final, and any ideas have to be presented to the public before the district trustees make the final decision.

The final plan must be submitted to the school board by Feb. 12. The board will then vote to enact the proposals for the 2012 school year.

Members of the community can weigh in with their thoughts during two upcoming public input meetings.

The first is on Jan. 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Delco Center on 4601 Pecan Brook Drive. The second meeting is on Jan. 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Burger Activity Center on 3200 Jones Road.

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