As your local election headquarters, we are putting a spotlight on key local races that you’ll be considering inside of the ballot box. Susan Grisel is running for the first time against incumbent Elizabeth Yeager for the 4-Year At-Large Seat on WFISD’s board of Trustees.
When the bell rings in the November election, key issues Wichita County residents will vote on could change the lives of bright students and hard working teachers.
This year, the WFISD is proposing it’s 3rd bond election in five years, that would be on the May ballot.
In 2015 a $59.5 million bond passed to build the Career and Education Center and also to help upgrade Barwise Leadership Academy and McNeil Junior High.
In 2014, there was $125 million bond that would have combined Old High and Rider’s 10th through 12th graders, but that was denied.
Currently, the district spends about $10-11 million annually on maintenance alone.
If the new bond passes, the hope is to fund the construction of new facilities, upgrade older secondary schools, and use part of that money to fund teacher pay and programs, something four-year board member at large candidates, Elizabeth Yeager and Susan Grisel both feel strongly about.
“We have to be very careful and cognizant of our taxpayers and their ability to pay and what they want to pay for and put a proposal to them that they’ll support and that’s why we’re seeking so much community input.”
“At the current time we do not have a long-term plan in place where are we going to be at 5 years from now, 10 years from now, so I think that it’s essential that we come up with a long-term plan, and a bond could be part of the solution, but I think we need to go clean up what we’re working with first before we go and ask for more from the community.”
Susan Grisel is running for the first time against incumbent Elizabeth Yeager for the four-year trustee-at-large position on the WFISD school board. As a mother of three and a Read-2-Learn mentor in the district, Grisel said she has a unique perspective to bring to the board if elected.
“I bring the perspective of a mom, an insider perspective that knows what’s happening each day in our schools and that perspective is not represented and I feel it is an essential perspective that at least one of these members, to be a mother with kids in the district to know how the decisions of the board affected our kids day in and day out.”
As for Elisabeth Yeager: a longtime board member, community leader and native to Wichita Falls, she’s eager to keep teachers here in Texoma and fix the frustration of teacher salaries, as we’ve seen before with teacher walkouts all across the country. According to Yeager, the district has raised teachers’ starting salaries from $38,000 to $42,500 in just the last four years.
To keep up with positive morale among teachers and students, Yeager wants to keep one-of-a-kind programs for kids in the district alive and well.
“I do think it is important to think about all of the wonderful programs that WFISD offers that outlying districts don’t. For example, we have more than 20 AP and IB programs, and WFISD offers a lot of fine arts that outlying districts don’t. For example, most districts have a band but we also offer choir and orchestra and all of the art programs as well, so there are a lot of opportunities in WFISD for students that don’t exist in some of the other outlying districts.”
Both Yeager and Grisel agree to address a problem on the minds of concerned parents right now. During a recent school board meeting, a mother of a student who has special needs said classes were unavailable for her daughter and other special needs students at the Career Education Center. Integration and inclusion are big components of the mission these two candidates are trying to push, come Nov. 6.