WFISD board discusses future attendance zone changes & campus overcrowding

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls Independent School District board members discussed their concerns about campus overcrowding at Monday night's board meeting and are now talking about possible changes to attendance zones which could affect where some kids go to school.

However, something all WFISD parents need to know is that no changes will be made this upcoming school year.

Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said based on the current zones and with a lot of growth on the southwest part of Wichita Falls, they are expecting McNiel Middle School to have 200 or more students within the next few years.

"That direct feeder pattern goes to Rider," said Superintendent Kuhrt. "So we end up with the same situation at Rider."

He said Rider High School is already pretty full when it comes to the number of students that attend the campus.

"The hallways are pretty crowded if you go to Rider High School during passing periods," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

"We've got to do something about that, otherwise we are going to end up with portables all over the place on McNiel because there is not going to be classroom space for students," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

So now board members are looking at redrawing some zoning lines. It would not be for this upcoming school year or even the next, but could impact incoming second or third graders currently living in the zones to go to Rider or McNiel.

Superintendent Kuhrt said the changes are to help with staffing, the school's function as a whole, and student progress.

"If you add 300 more students to Rider High School, which would even be more than that because you have four grades at Rider, that becomes a pretty unmanageable situation," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

A demographer presented multiple zoning options for the board members to look over at the meeting.

Superintendent Kuhrt said the district's goal back in 2015 when the school bond passed was to expand McNiel and Barwise, and they did that adding on to those campuses. He said now it is time to have a discussion with the community about renovating or building a new high school.

Also at the special session, WFISD Board President Dale Harvey said he wants to see more diversity at the high school level, giving those with lower income more opportunities when it comes to AP classes and other programs.

There is another special session Tuesday at 12 p.m. at the Education Center. Some hot topics on that agenda are teacher salaries and an update on the Career Education Center.

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