WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Wichita Falls ISD held its first of four community forums focused on the district’s facilities Wednesday night.
Past teachers, alumni, parents, and students spoke to school board members in Hirschi High School’s auditorium about why they want to ensure that the school stays around when a decision is made on how to address the district’s aging buildings.
Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said that a bond election would be needed to achieve any changes to the schools the community wishes to see – whether they be new buildings or facility upgrades.
Rosie Flanigan is a retired teacher who used to work at Hirschi. She said during the forum, “If we don't keep Hirschi High School, we will vote ‘No’ on the bond issue.”
Although it has not been decided yet, Superintendent Kuhrt said two options have been suggested on how to best address the problems of WFISD’s facilities. They include combining all of the district's high schools into one or two buildings.
“For secondary campuses it’s two charges: a one high school model for the whole community and a two high school model for the whole community. We have two feeder patterns going to these two high schools, and these two high schools would be similar high schools economically and ethnically,” Kuhrt stated.
The Hirschi community is concerned that the location of a new high school would not be ideal, especially for families without a source of transportation.
They also worry that with a new building it would mean losing the support system that Hirschi has built for students, such as the school’s IB program.
The culture and history that comes with the school's diverse student body was also mentioned as a reason to keep it open.
One parent said during the forum, “As a black male in Wichita Falls, Texas, I prefer for my black children to be in this community where we can keep up with our own.”
For students like Tristan Perez, they would prefer to graduate from the same school that has helped them grow not only academically but also get through difficult times, like when he lost multiple friends in a short span of time. Perez said, “I couldn't do it, but this school helped me.”
The school board has selected 54 community members to act as liaisons and help come up with options on what to do regarding the district’s facilities moving forward.
Superintendent Kuhrt has stated that it would cost millions to modernize the district’s schools, including Hirschi which was built in the ‘60s.
The next open community forum where residents can share their thoughts on the subject will be held Thursday, March 7 at Rider High School from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm.