Update on WFISD's CEC construction & District of Innovation Committee meeting

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - At the Wichita Falls Independent School District's board meeting Monday night, trustees got an update on the construction progress of the Career Education Center, the facility that will offer about 25 different programs to prepare high school students for college or their future career.

Michael Kuhrt , WFISD Superintendent, said the CEC construction is on budget but behind schedule, and adds it is 34-percent finished.

He said all the rain Wichita Falls has seen over the past few months has put the building's progress behind a total of 28 days, but he adds the district will be able to make up that time up.

"Once the windows are on, the roof is on and everything else like that, then you have opportunities to work longer hours. You have opportunities to work other days," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

Superintendent Kuhrt said the good news is the district is still within the guaranteed max price that the school board approved last year.

"WFISD is really holding to the voters wish that we implement this Career Education Center that meets the needs of our students and our community," said Kuhrt.

He said that was confirmed when he attended the North Texas Economic Forum.

Superintendent Kuhrt was encouraged by the message Robert Kaplan, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, delivered.

"His two main points that he felt for our economy and our future, as a state and as a nation, is vocational education and early childhood literacy. Those are two of our main pillars here at WFISD," said Kuhrt.

Board members will tour the CEC on December 12th to check on the progress.

The facility was scheduled to be completed late June, but now the it is looking like the middle of July.

Another update from Monday's meeting was on the District of Innovation Committee.

A change that Superintendent Kuhrt said will give the district more flexibility when it comes to state laws.
The committee met November 10th at Barwise Middle School to start the planning stage, but Superintendent Kuhrt said he will not be attending the meetings.

"That is a community effort. That is a teacher effort, it's a staff member effort, so that's something they're doing," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

The minutes from the last District of Innovation Committee Meeting shows the members went over 37 plans approved by other ISD's that have made the switch to become a District of Innovation. They said they were looking for similarities.

The planning team also went over areas to consider change, like bringing back the magnet program, not treating all schools equally, changing the start date and half days for pre-k.

The committee also had a list of things not up for discussion, like class size ratio.

The next District of Innovation meeting is Tuesday at Barwise at 4 p.m.

The minutes from every meeting will be posted online.

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