WFISD officials host first of four public forums

Local News

The officials with the WFISD should have a better understanding now of what long-range improvements might need to be made throughout the district.

About 100 people gathered at Hirschi High School on Wednesday to go over some of their concerns with WFISD facilities. Jeanette Perry is a parent of a WFISD student and a Hirschi graduate and she believes Hirschi’s issues get swept under the rug.

“Whenever the board up with new plans and changes to certain sides of town we usually get the short end of the stick,” Perry said. “The last time it was a facade and an AC unit where the other side of the town was going to get a new school.”

The district selected community members to serve on two committees, these community members will serve as the liaisons between the community and the district. Their charge is to listen to other community members, analyze district facility information and develop facility options for the board of trustees to consider. Facilities committee member Nicholas Schreiber said this will be a group effort.

“Getting opinions from as many people as possible is key. This will not be one person’s idea to move forward. This won’t be just one small group of ideas from one group moving forward. This is going to be the consensus of the community on how we need to move forward,” Schreiber said.

Another issue that Hirschi High School grandparent Valerie Rhodes brought up was the travel time to the new Career Education Center building. 

“They still couldn’t take the two class periods it takes to get there and back and that is my whole thing about it. If you move that career center down the street from Hirschi not only would you get those kids interested in science and technology come here, which we were always told the numbers at Hirschi were low and the other schools were overcrowded,” Rhodes said.

With these forums, the planning committee and the WFISD officials said they hope they’ll be able to take the next step in fixing some of the issues faced in the district. 

Back in December, the Wichita Falls school board announced plans for a November bond election to help repair older facilities and also possibly build new elementary schools. At that time, the goal was to have all of the planning done by this spring. 

If you missed Wednesday’s discussion you have three other chances over the next week to let your voices be heard. For details on that, click here.

In the last more than 20- years, the WFISD has held five bond elections, with two passing at the ballot box.

In 2015, a $59.5 million school bond passed with over 59 percent of the vote.

That bond package included the construction of the Career Education Center, security enhancements, and a parking lot at memorial stadium.

A year before that, voters overwhelmingly voted down a more expensive bond.

The $125 million plan would have created two comprehensive high schools by consolidating Rider and

Old High into one large school with a separate 9th-grade facility. 

Hirschi would have also received improvements becoming the second and smaller high school in the district.

The Career Education Center was also part of the 2014 bond package.

In 2006, the WFISD had its first bond passed in the last two decades.

The $60 million issue paid for the consolidation of Huey, Fannin, Bonham and McGaha and the construction of two new schools to house those students.

In 2004, a WFISD bond proposal failed by just a few votes.

It was $73 million and included a sweeping renovation and rebuilding project for the district’s 21 elementary schools.

A 2002 WFISD bond also failed.

This $121 million bond package included shutting down eight elementary schools, rebuilding five and repairing the junior high and high schools.

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