Boston parents and education activists expressed surprise and concern about a new Boston Public Schools facilities proposal that could close or merge many of the city’s schools.

The 80-page facilities plan cited declining enrollment and aging buildings as the impetus, but did not identify the specific changes or closures, leaving many students and parents confused and worried.

Cheryl Buckman said she and her fifth-grade son, who has autism, were blindsided by the report, saying it raised more questions than answers.

“Seeing the look on my son’s face, it just broke my heart,” Buckman said. “He’s very tight knit with what he has now, and any sudden change will throw him off.”

Buckman criticized BPS for being secretive and vague.

“Right now, it seems like it’s up in the air,” she said, “and nobody knows which way to go.”

BPS spokesperson Max Baker said the district has not finalized which schools could close or merge. Those decisions could take time, will involve community feedback and will have to be approved by the Boston School Committee, Baker said.

After releasing the plan Wednesday, Superintendent Mary Skipper sent a follow-up message to school principals that the most extreme scenario outlined in the plan — in which as many as half of all schools would close — would not happen.

Skipper also shared a link to the plan in an email to students, staff and caregivers Wednesday. She called it a “roadmap for making future school facility investment decisions.”

“The plan does not include a list of specific new projects because specific decisions must be informed in partnership with the community,” Skipper said.

BPS will host a public workshop on Jan. 17 for anyone who wants to learn more about the the decision-making process. Additional “deep dive” workshops will be offered for specific clusters of schools as part of the ongoing discussion.

According to the plan, as many as half of Boston’s public schools could close or merge due to longstanding problems like declining enrollment and inadequate learning spaces. Instead, the district would have fewer, larger schools.

BPS parent Suleika Soto said the district’s lack of transparency has made parents wary of the process.

“Especially the English language learners that are coming in that don't know what they’re signing up for,” she said. “I think that there's going to be less people that are going to register their children for BPS because if I registered today, I don't know if my school is going to be closed tomorrow.”

Bigger schools citywide would offer multiple core classes for each grade, under the proposal, as well as improved athletics and specialty programs in art and music. There would also be new spaces to support special education, the plan said.

Edith Bazile, founder of the group Black Advocates for Educational Excellence, said she's worried because research has shown that school closures and mergers tend to disproportionately and negatively impact Black and Latino communities.

“[Those are] negative outcomes in terms of quality services, funding formulas, support and academic outcomes,” she said. “There’s a real concern over the disparities being perpetuated, as opposed to addressing the gaps in who gets to access a high achieving, high quality school.”

Ruby Reyes, director of the advocacy group Boston Education Justice Alliance, criticized the plan for not making clear how equity will factor into the decision-making process and prevent certain communities from being disproportionately impacted.

The plan references a district-wide survey that received more than 9,000 responses last year. There are 49,000 students enrolled in Boston public schools.

Soto said that, during a meeting with BPS, district administrators said that the majority of respondents to the survey were white families.