WFISD Board Adopts Change to Controversial 15% Rule

The Wichita Falls Independent School District Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to defer the state's mandated 15% rule for a second year in a row on Monday.

Doctor Tim Powers, chief academic officer for WFISD, says two years ago, Texas legislators passed a ruling that mandated each school district apply results of the Starr Test to student's final grades in each subject tested but there was confusion on how to apply that.

Powers says legislators have agreed to allow school districts to defer the application of the 15% rule until they make a decision on it.

"We do agree that the 15% rule needs to be deferred simply because there's so much confusion as to how to apply it and whether or not it needs to be applied at all," Powers says. "We're happy with the decision of the commissioner of education and we're pleased that the board has put it on the consent agenda item."

Powers says the district is waiting to see what state legislators will decide to do regarding the controversial rule when they take on the subject during a legislative session this spring.

Also, the board voted to extend the calendar year into the first week of June.

Executive Director of School Administration Debby Patterson presented the recommendation to the board this evening.

Currently, Patterson says students attend school for 175 instructional days, and teachers have to be there for 187.

Those extra 12 days for teachers are usually work days or staff development days.

However, Patterson says they're going to reduce the 12 days down to seven.

Patterson says those 5 additional days can be used for teaching students.

"It looks like it's extending the school year but it is really the exact same number of days that have been in our calendar in the past," Patterson says. "The only difference, five more will be actual students in the classroom being instructed by teachers."

Patterson says many test scores are returned in June, so this will also give them an opportunity to let students know if they need to enroll in summer school or not.

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