WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The $290 million proposed Wichita Falls Independent School District bond would go toward building two new high schools, on new land. However, two men who have had their hand in local education for some time said they don’t think this proposal hits the mark.
To them, new schools are vital, but they said they feel the plan is just not the right way to go about it.
In his four years serving on the WFISD school board, Bill Franklin said one main takeaway in relation to the proposed bond package is the economic layout of Wichita Falls residents.
Former WFISD board member Bill Franklin said, “The history of passing in Wichita Falls is small bonds at 79 to 80 million dollars and we had discussed and i thought we were all on the same wave length, that we would start and build a new school at a time.”
Another issue Franklin has is where the two equally sized high schools are set to be built.
You’ll find them on the southwest and southeast sides of town.
“We can only run so far, so long to the southwest part of town away from the problems that exist in the community,” Franklin said. “The cost of the schools can be much cheaper if you take existing sites and build new schools.”
As a former WFISD teacher of 35 years, Jim Price said the bond is simply too big.
He believes a better plan is a bond to build one high school and one elementary school at a time.
“Space it out, don’t put it all at once,” Price said. “The way they’re talking, its going to be 2037 before they get the elementaries all built anyhow.”
Price and Franklin don’t think the nearly $300 million price tag is going to fly off the shelves in Wichita Falls.
“We’ve never passed a bond even approaching that,” Price said. “If we go to $1.47 tax rate, is there going to be room for teacher raises, will they be able to attract new teachers?”
A drive for newer, better schools, but voting no on the proposed road to get there.
“When you’re trying to correct a problem that’s been in existence over 30 years, you can’t build a Cadillac all at once,” Franklin said.