The decision to close four Plano ISD schools was made following a five-hour meeting of the school board on Tuesday.

The board voted unanimously to close two elementary schools, Davis and Forman, and two middle schools, Armstrong and Carpenter, for the 2025-26 school year.

The board also approved a resolution amending the district transfer policy to allow students at the campus that will close to transfer for the 2024-2025 school year. All employees across the four campuses are also allowed to transfer to another school, and the board emphasized no staff will lose their jobs.

In 2023, the school board appointed a committee with over 70 parents, staff, city employees, and several community members to examine the potential closures.

Over a period of nine months, the committee examined the district’s declining enrollment, the quality and condition of district-owned buildings, and capacity across the campuses, ultimately recommending the closure of the four campuses.

Another issue the district is facing is its budget deficit. The district has not received increased basic allotment from the state since 2019. The proposed 2024-25 school year budget is $37 million, up $13 million from the current school year. The board also discussed the increase in housing in the district alongside the rise in inflation, construction, and more.

“The cost of doing business today can’t adequately be done with 2019 budget dollars,” Plano ISD Superintendent Theresa Williams said. Projected savings from closing these campuses are estimated at around $5.2 million.

Several community members, Plano ISD staff, and parents spoke out before the decision was made, voicing their concerns about the potential closures and pleading for the board not to close the campuses.

“I implore you to please reconsider closing Davis’s doors. It will take years to rebuild this unique, specialized culture for our deaf community,” Davis Elementary staff member and parent Katy Strong said, citing the school’s regional day program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

“The impact is undeniable,” one Davis Elementary parent said. “Plano ISD said it’s committed to excellence and dedicated to caring and power by learning, but nothing about this process has been excellent,” citing a lack of communication from the district.

Some voiced their concerns that Forman Elementary School was being singled out among the other Eastside schools. Forman Elementary students will be split between five elementary schools, and students at other schools will also be rezoned.

According to the school’s 2022 Texas Education Agency Report, Forman’s student population is mainly Hispanic. More than half are bilingual, and more than 70% are economically disadvantaged.

One Forman staff member shared that the elementary school has issues with the foundation, plumbing, and more. When she asked about fixing these things, she was told there was no room for it in the budget.

“We have been set up for failure,” she said. “My question here is, are we not part of PISD? … We certainly don’t feel we are, or maybe we’re just built on the wrong side of [Interstate] 75. … Actions speak louder than words. And these actions are attacking a community, a community of immigrant parents who don’t know how to read much less right to reply to your emails, a community of parents who do not have an education themselves.”

“Forman was approved for renovations in 2022, yet those funds were diverted to Haggard Middle School in Central Plano. Previous superintendents stated that the East Side district had received more renovations and upgrades from the last bond than the central cluster,” Plano ISD parent Tish Amos said. “It only suggests that the decision to close Forman has been in the works for much longer than what we were led to believe. The lack of transparency and disregard for our community’s needs is deeply disheartening.”

The board reiterated throughout the meeting how difficult this decision was but that it was the right decision to make.

“This is hard. This is emotional, and just being vulnerable is the hardest work that I’ve been asked to do,” Superintendent Williams said in a shaky voice as tears filled her eyes. “The ask is that we do this together.”

The board stressed that it will monitor the transition when it occurs and work to make it as seamless as possible for students, staff, and parents.

“I truly believe the staff have done the diligent work and preparing for our future,” PISD School Board Vice President Lauren Tyra said. “And the committee has returned the best possible plan.”