Local Collegiate Academy Campus To Close

Keller Collegiate Academy
Keller Collegiate Academy | Image by Keller Collegiate Academy/Facebook

Keller Collegiate Academy will relocate this May as the district said it cannot afford the estimated $10 million needed to maintain its facilities.

Confronted with a budget shortfall of around $27 million, Keller Independent School District officials decided to shutter the early college high school model campus in Fort Worth for good once the school year ends in May. Starting this fall, its students will share classroom facilities at the Keller Center for Advanced Learning (KCAL), which is roughly 10 minutes away from its original campus on Summerfields Boulevard. It has not yet been disclosed what will happen to the building.

Keller Collegiate Academy was established in 2021 thanks to dual enrollment partnerships with Tarrant County College (TCC) and the University of Texas at Arlington. Academy students could pursue associate degrees in health care, providing a direct pathway to enter the workforce after graduation or giving them a headstart on a four-year degree in a related field.

As The Dallas Express reported, dual enrollment opportunities have been highly sought nationwide as students seek to earn college credit before graduation to mitigate growing college tuition costs.

As of last fall, Keller Collegiate Academy had a student body of 282 in grades 8 to 12. While officials project about 300 students to enroll next fall, it will not include 8th graders due to the academy transitioning to a high school alone. They will attend class within 16 classrooms allocated to them at KCAL, a Career and Technical Education (CTE) campus offering engineering, human and animal science, visual arts, and public service programs.

While CTE students from Keller ISD’s four high schools commute to the building to attend courses periodically, academy students will be housed there daily, meaning the two groups will have different class schedules and bells. Some adjustments had to be made to the academy’s academics; notably, students will satisfy their physical education credit — a state requirement — through dual-credit kinesiology courses via TCC due to the absence of a gymnasium at KCAL.

Superintendent Tracy Johnson has assured parents that the move to share the campus will not hinder students’ learning, and tours for current and prospective enrollees have already been arranged at KCAL, per the Fort Worth Report.

“Keller Collegiate Academy is such an amazing opportunity for our students,” Johnson said.

Like other public school systems across Texas, Keller ISD has been grappling with considerable fiscal issues amid inflation, shrinking student enrollment figures, stagnated state funding levels, and new security requirements. Earlier this year, district officials announced various cost-saving measures, ranging from cutting “on-ramp classes” to laying off staff, as covered by The Dallas Express.

While these issues have struck schools nationwide, there are some nuances on the district level.

Compared to Dallas ISD, which spent $15,188 per student in 2021-2022, Keller ISD has been frugal, spending only around $12,770 per student that same school year.

Keller ISD has also performed better academically than Dallas ISD, with 60% of its students scoring at grade level on the 2021-2022 STAAR exam and clocking an on-time graduation rate of 93.4%. Meanwhile, only 41% of Dallas ISD students scored at grade level that year, and almost 20% of the district’s Class of 2022 did not graduate within four years.

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