Cowtown Campuses At Risk of Closure

Fort Worth ISD Administration Building
Fort Worth ISD Administration Building | Image by WFAA

Roughly four dozen Fort Worth ISD campuses are less than 70% occupied, making them likely targets for future closings.

Fort Worth ISD officials have discussed the need to make some hard decisions due to challenges driven by dwindling enrollments and underutilized facilities. However, they are still in the early stages of formulating a master facility plan, which will include designating schools for closure.

As previously covered by The Dallas Express, the district announced in September that it had approved allocating $2 million in taxpayer money to a facility capacity study in order to identify areas where potential adjustments could be made in light of declining student enrollment.

This “rightsizing” initiative comes as the student body has plunged from 87,233 students in 2016 to just 72,783 students in 2023. Superintendent Angélica Ramsey projected that this number would continue to drop before leveling out at 55,000 students, according to the Fort Worth Report. Meanwhile, many of Fort Worth ISD’s 140 campuses, which were designed to accommodate a maximum of 90,000 students, remain underutilized.

“Despite a decline in enrollment, the district has not proportionally reduced the number of schools it operates,” reads a news release announcing the school board’s approval of the capacity study. “This has led to underutilized facilities and smaller student populations in some schools, resulting in higher operational costs and fewer academic offerings.”

Although the results of the capacity study aren’t expected until spring 2024, the Fort Worth Report compiled a list of schools in the district currently operating below 70% capacity. Many of the 48 schools (see list below) are in the southern and eastern parts of Fort Worth ISD’s attendance zone.

“It’s not an accident that the neighborhoods that are affected by declining enrollment tend to have greater needs in their schools,” said Carrie Hahnel, senior associate partner at the nonprofit Bellwether, commenting on the results of the Fort Worth Report’s analysis.

Poor student achievement scores may have contributed to Fort Worth ISD’s falling student enrollment numbers, with growing numbers of parents turning instead to charter and private schools.

Fort Worth ISD saw just 32% of its students score at grade level on the STAAR during the 2021-2022 school year, and its on-time graduation rate was 85.7%, according to the latest Texas Education Agency accountability report.

Meanwhile, nearby Dallas ISD saw only 41% of students score at grade level on the STAAR exam that school year, while almost 20% of the district’s graduating Class of 2022 did not graduate on time.

Several districts across North Texas have seen enrollment declines due to factors like tumbling birth rates and high housing costs, as covered by The Dallas Express.

While Fort Worth ISD’s rightsizing plans point to the district’s challenges, they might also provide opportunities to solve other existing issues.

“I think there might be things that we haven’t thought of that could actually create opportunities to see upticks in teaching and learning — which is ultimately what we need in order to stem the declining enrollment,” said Hahnel.

Here is the list of Fort Worth ISD schools at less than 70% capacity:

  • Morningside Elementary
  • Maude I. Logan Elementary
  • De Zavala Elementary
  • Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary
  • David K. Sellars Elementary
  • Harlean Beal Elementary
  • Christene C. Moss Elementary
  • Burton Hill Elementary
  • A.M. Pate Elementary
  • Glen Park Elementary
  • Sunrise-McMillan Elementary
  • Lowery Road Elementary
  • Atwood McDonald Elementary
  • S.S. Dillow Elementary
  • I.M. Terrell Academy
  • West Handley Elementary
  • Rufino Mendoza Sr. Elementary
  • Maudrie Walton Elementary
  • George Clarke Elementary
  • Worth Heights Elementary
  • W.J. Turner Elementary
  • Daggett Elementary
  • Como Elementary
  • Dunbar High School
  • Hazel Harvey Peace Elementary
  • Westcreek Elementary
  • Eastern Hills Elementary
  • Sam Rosen Elementary
  • Sagamore Hill Elementary
  • Helbing Elementary
  • Meadowbrook Elementary
  • Oakhurst Elementary
  • Riverside Applied Learning Center
  • Carroll Peak Elementary
  • Western Hills Elementary
  • Morningside Middle
  • Springdale Elementary
  • Western Hills Primary
  • Morningside Elementary (post-bond project)
  • Edward Briscoe Elementary
  • Bruce Shulkey Elementary
  • Kirkpatrick Elementary
  • Benbrook Elementary
  • Applied Learning Academy
  • Young Men’s Leadership Academy
  • Washington Heights Elementary
  • W.M. Green Elementary
  • Stripling Middle
  • Western Hills High School
  • Bill J. Elliot Elementary
  • Woodway Elementary
  • John T. White Elementary
  • Versia Williams Elementary
  • Seminary Hills Park Elementary
  • Wedgwood 6th Grade School
  • Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School
  • Diamond Hill Elementary
  • Oaklawn Elementary
  • Monnig Middle
  • East Handley Elementary
  • Luella Merrett Elementary
  • J. Martin Jacquet Middle
  • Mitchell Boulevard Elementary
  • Eastern Hills High School
  • Forest Oak 6th Grade
  • Carter-Riverside High School
  • Hubbard Elementary
  • James Middle
  • M.H. Moore Elementary
  • McRae Elementary
  • T.A. Sims Elementary
  • Natha Howell Elementary
  • Mclean 6th Grade
  • Kirkpatrick Middle
  • Greenbriar Elementary
  • Meacham Middle
  • M.L. Phillips Elementary
  • Carter Park Elementary
  • Bonnie Brae Elementary
  • Benbrook Middle/High School
  • Cesar Chavez Elementary
  • Leonard Middle
  • International Newcomer Academy
  • Wedgwood Middle
  • South Hills Elementary
  • South Hi Mount Elementary
  • Daggett Montessori
  • Daggett Middle
  • Trimble Technical High School
  • Tanglewood Elementary
  • Alice D. Contreras Elementary
  • J.T. Stevens Elementary
  • Dolores Huerta Elementary
  • World Languages Institute
  • Southwest High School
  • Elder Middle
  • Jean McClung Middle
  • Ridglea Hills Elementary
  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy
  • South Hills High School
  • Riverside Middle
  • Meadowbrook Middle
  • O.D. Wyatt High School
  • Polytechnic High School
  • Richard J. Wilson Elementary
  • Paschal High School
  • Arlington Heights High School
  • Manuel Jara Elementary
  • Waverly Park Elementary
  • Rosemont Middle
  • Mclean Middle
  • Lily B. Clayton Elementary
  • Forest Oak Middle
  • Charles Nash Elementary
  • North Side High School
  • Westpark Elementary
  • Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center
  • Westcliff Elementary
  • Clifford Davis Elementary
  • North Hi Mount Elementary

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