WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The WFISD board of trustees discuss a task force to reopen schools and also next year’s budget during their meeting today.
With new guidelines on opening schools during COVID-19, WFISD board members are preparing to listen to voices from the community on how to safely reopen schools. They are also planning for if students don’t return to school.
As national protests have recently been at the forefront of news headlines, the COVID-19 pandemic is currently ongoing in the country. And as the summer continues, school boards are developing plans on how they can reopen in the next coming months.
“There’s not a plan to restart right now,” WFISD superintendent Michael Kuhrt said. “What we’re doing now is we’re about to form a reopen task force. And the reopen task force will help us develop some guidelines on how we want to do that in other words, from a health and safety perspective, from a transportation perspective, from a school start time perspective.”
This task force will be made up of WFISD parents, students and staff, along with health personnel, as well as law enforcement and other community members. Because of such restrictive guidelines to reopen schools, Kuhrt says this task force can help open schools safely.
“Students could end up at different campuses than they’re at currently because we don’t have space at a campus. And we’re gonna have to spread out because right now we have a maximum of ten students per every classroom. And that’s a huge deal for us. And so across the district, that’s sometimes we need two or three classrooms just to be able to have a class,” Kuhrt said.
Student enrollment is also a concern for next year which is why board members are expecting a $1.5 million deficit in next school year’s budget.
“Based on ADA and the number of students attending, we’re budgeting pretty low because we’re not sure we’re gonna get all of our students back next year. And so we’re being really conservative with our budgeting numbers so therefore we have a little decrease in revenue,” Kuhrt said.
With the future remaining uncertain, WFISD continues to plan for the future during COVID-19. There will be a public budget hearing later this month. Kuhrt also said he is currently gathering members for the task force.