Harlandale ISD to hold special school board meeting on consolidation of 5 schools

Meeting will take place at 6:15 p.m. at STEM Early College High School

Harlandale ISD

SAN ANTONIO – The Harlandale Independent School District will hold a special school board meeting on Monday to vote on the possible consolidation of at least five elementary schools after years of financial hardship and declining student enrollment.

The meeting will take place at 6:15 p.m. at the STEM Early College High School. It is open to the public.

Last week, the school board heard from several members of the community who expressed their concerns about a potential proposal.

The district’s school board will now vote on three potential options. The district says they are considering consolidating as many as five schools or keeping the schools open, along with laying off staff.

The original proposal suggested the district consolidate the Jewel Wietzel Center and four elementary schools: Columbia Heights, Morrill, Rayburn and Vestal. The district says they are all operating on at least 50% capacity, with Rayburn Elementary closer to 60%. Two administrative buildings are also on the proposal for consolidation: the central office and the SCHEH building.

If any consolidation is approved, district officials said they will help to facilitate the transition of all affected staff and students to other schools within the district.

The district said there has been a 19% decrease in resident elementary students over the course of four years, from 2018-2021, and that a “significant loss” is expected through 2026. It is also facing a $12 million deficit.

Low birth rates, declining market share and a lack of residential development are also seen as reasons for the decreasing student population, Harlandale ISD said.

About the Authors:

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.