WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Fresh off a Saturday night victory, Wichita Falls ISD Superintendent Mike Kuhrt is celebrating the passage of a $13.5 million bond that will pay for athletic and fine arts facilities for the two new high schools which voters approved in November.
“We are excited. We are humbled by the opportunity to add these two athletic facilities to the two new high schools that are being planned,” Kuhrt said.
With a final vote tally of 3,560 for and 1,710 against, Superintendent Mike Kuhrt says everything is moving in the right direction.
“I think we are off to a good start in Wichita Falls with these two new high schools. These 21st-century learning facilities that will come on board by 2024 and hopefully, that will lead to increased student enrollment, it will increase business development within our community, and hopefully some a little extra population,” Kuhrt said.
But if you ask ‘Vote No’ advocate Ed Stein, it’s hard to ignore the impact of low voter turnout.
“In November, when we had a high turnout of 60 percent, or roughly 60 percent, but what we saw with this may bond election was a turnout of 10 percent. And so when you have a low turnout, that usually favors those who are for the bond than those who are against the bond,” Stein said.
Last November, a little more than 46,000 people in Wichita County cast a ballot…. a presidential election where voters rejected a similar school bond proposal – 13,632 for and 15,013 against Proposition B.
Fast forward to the May 2021 election, only 5,270 total votes were cast.
“There are no voters who will readily come out and vote against a city bond, a county bond, but it when it comes to a school bond, they won’t vote for it, but they also won’t vote against it,” Stein said.
Either way, Superintendent Kurht says he is confident that funding the project puts everyone’s foot forward.
“I hope we did a better job of getting our message across. And I think more of our parents heard that. And were concerned their students weren’t going to have those facilities when they got to high school so I think that helped too,” Kuhrt said.
Despite the low turnout, the new high schools will now come with brand new facilities for athletes and fine arts students alike.