WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The WFISD school bond, two props totaling $290 million.
“Wichita Falls cannot continue to kick the can down the road,” school bond supporter Nick Schreiber said. “This is an investment in what we do for our children.”
“People understand debt,” vote no advocate Ed Stein said. “We’re piling on debt to our children and future generations.”
Two equally-sized high schools, one at the corner of Henry S. Grace Freeway and Midwestern Parkway and the other at 6422 Seymour Hwy.
Two very different sides, one against the $0.32 tax increase.
“I’m not against all bonds, but I mean you can’t tax your way into prosperity,” vote no advocate Doug Compton said.
The other citing the need to build a better future for our youth.
“Sure, let’s keep down large government spending, but we have a chance to invest in our own local government and our own local community, we need to do that, we have to do that at some point,” Schreiber said.
If passed on Tuesday, and once the new high schools are complete, the next phase of the long-range facility plan calls for Rider and Hirschi to be repurposed as middle schools.
Old High, constructed in 1922, would be put up for sale.
Getting rid of these old buildings is something that appeals to WFISD parent Schreiber.
“My son’s in first grade, if this bond fails tomorrow, will he ever get to experience new high schools or will he go to the 1922 high school facility that has foundation repairs, that has HVAC systems and electrical systems that are extremely outdated,” Schreiber said.
But the “no” side has concerns.
“$320 is a lot of money and that’s every year for 30 years,” Stein said.
Location, price, taxes… advocates against the bond, like Stein, is worried about the added tax money for decades to come.
“We could wait until the current bond rolls off and at that point you can replace that bond with a new one, ideally with one that’s less expensive so your tax rate essentially goes down,” Stein said.
“Public education is right up there with streets, highways, sewer systems, public libraries, public parks,” Schreiber said. “Everybody may not use all these things, but cities need them, cities need great school facilities for their children.”
In the end, it will come down to the citizens of Wichita Falls, deciding the future of WFISD.
If voters approve the bond, the two new high schools are just the first step in the district’s 30-year plan, which could involve bonds in 2027 and 2035.
Another reminder, citizens over the age of 65 can be exempt from the new tax if they file for exemption.