A DISD panel has recommended closing 11 schools, including three elementary schools in our neighborhood, to save an estimated $11.5 million.

The three East Dallas campuses are James B. Bohnam Elementary School, which originally was built as Vickery Place School about 100 years ago; O.M. Roberts Elementary School; and James W. Fannin Elementary School.

The student population at all three schools is predominantly Hispanic and economically disadvantaged, according to data compiled by the Texas Tribune.

O.M. Roberts was rated “Recognized” this year, a drop from its 2010 TEA rating of “Exemplary.” Bonham is rated “Exemplary.” Fannin is rated “Academically Acceptable” this year, a drop from its 2010 rating of “Recognized.”

The other eight schools the panel suggested closing are in West Dallas, South Dallas, Fair Park and Pleasant Grove.

Students from the 11 schools would be transferred to other campuses in the proximity, and teachers and staff would have the opportunity to be reassigned within DISD. Most of the schools suggested for closure have fewer than 300 students and are at 65 percent of capacity, according to a DISD media release.

“The $11.5 million in savings would be a result of having less administrative overhead, reduced utility costs, reduced maintenance and custodial costs and possibly fewer teachers,” the media release states.

DISD received $63 million less in state funding this year than in the past, and the district has reduced its budget by $80 million. Budget cuts included eliminating about 400 jobs, which included about 250 layoffs. The district expects its state funding to be cut by another $38 million in the next school year.

DISD will hold public hearings on the school closings in December and January. For the schools to close before the next academic year, the school board must vote to approve the measure in January.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.