After the Wichita Falls School District came out with its $125 million bond proposal plan, a grass roots group was born in opposition.
“This bond isn't the best bond for our entire community. It's good for a few neighborhoods and a few individuals, but we are concerned about everyone in Wichita Falls,” said Craig Reynolds, a leader of the group.
A group he hopes is a voice for voters he says, cannot be heard.
“The research shows that that's not best for all of our students, especially our low socioeconomic students. A good number of students in our community are low income students,” said Robin Scales, another leader of the Community for a Better Bond group.
Since 2008, the WFISD says the amount of families in the district considered "low socioeconomic status" has risen from 54 percent to 65 percent.
It's why, school board member, Dale Harvey, says he voted against the bond proposal going to a district wide vote.
He says he feels three high schools are needed to address the district's demographic.
Retired Wichita Falls High School teacher, Hal Newsom, is concerned with a different demographic. One that he says would shrink should the bond go through.
“If we do away with a school in the central part of the city. We have one left on the north side and one left on the south side. If you look at what happens when you do away with schools those neighborhoods have a tendency to fall in a disrepair because people move out of those areas to move closer to guess what, schools,” he said.
Community for a better bond agrees.
They say the location of the new consolidated school, planned to be built at memorial stadium, is a problem because it's located in the southwest part of the city.
And they say consolidation also has other consequences.
“My understanding when you pull two schools together part of the idea is to cut costs. The district has said we will experience this natural attrition, as people retire and leave the district we will not replace them. Those are lost jobs. Jobs that are not replaced are jobs that are lost within our community,” said Scales.
The community may not agree on the bond, but can agree that something needs to be done to its schools.
“I think if we look at the MGT facility report showed us, it showed us what most of already knew which was that our facilities are old. That we need improvements, that we don't meet today's standards, and I don't think we will function much further if we don't address some of these problems,” said Newsom.
Those problems, Community for a Better Bond says, need better solutions then the ones offered in the WFISD's $125 million bond proposal.
“We are hoping if this bond can be defeated, then the school board can then come back and start working on a new plan that everyone in Wichita Falls can all agree on,” said Reynolds.
The bond, should it pass, would require about an additional 12 cents to the current tax rate.
That would be about $10 per month for a $100,000 home.
With school taxes in the state of Texas that doesn't apply to those who apply for the over 65 homestead exemption. Under that exemption school taxes are basically frozen for those homeowners.
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