Wichita Falls, Texas -
The Wichita Falls Independent School District Board of Trustees is moving forward with changes in the district.
On Wednesday evening, the board voted to consolidate several schools; a decision they say will benefit students in the long run.
With the only dissenting vote coming from Wichita Falls ISD Board President Kevin Goldstein, the board voted to consolidate the district's oldest elementary schools, Alamo and Sam Houston and move students into the Zundy Junior High building.
In addition, it was a unanimous vote to consolidate Zundy and Barwise Junior High.
WFISD Board Secretary Allyson Flack says they made their decision after listening to parents' concerns during three public meetings.
"I don't want anyone to discount the fact that we listen to what those parents had to say," Flack exclaims. "I know personally going back and forth in my head all week, 'Well, there's a transition plan. We can wait a year. Let me think through the pros and cons of that because those are legitimate points. Those are legitimate things the parents brought up. If we move ahead, what are the pros and cons of that.'"
Furthermore, as the board moves forward with their consolidation plans, parents say their focus shifts to how the transitions will be made.
Renee Browning, a concern parent of a Zundy student says, "I think there's a lot of work to be done. They have decided so we just want to make it work for our students now however we thought before, now we have to make it work."
Another parent, SueAnn Altman says, "Lets hope they'll really come up with a really great plan and really research and really figure out the best way to transition to have the best of both programs from the schools that are consolidating in order to make it."
She adds, "Specifically, for the 8th grade students that will be coming together to make them not miss out on anything that they would have gotten had they stayed independently."
Flack says the board will do whatever it takes to ensure students have an easy transition into their new schools.
"We are going to put transition teams in place for both Alamo and [Sam] Houston and Barwise and Zundy so that they can work with the staff, they can work with students; not only coordinating staff, coordinating leadership, coordinating mascots and colors and all those things so that will encompass a wide variety of things," Flack says.
These changes will be implemented for the 2014-2015 school year and will be made without the use of any possible bond money.
The board will also form a Community Facilities Action Team who will look at future bond proposal options.
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