WFISD limited to two high school plan for Nov bond

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020 at 6:50 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Originally, the Wichita Falls ISD planned to call a bond election for November 2020, which would fund two new high schools and other facility renovations.

But superintendent Michael Kuhrt admits he overlooked a calculation error, meaning the district will have less money to work with.

The adjustment has to do with the WFISD tax rate. Specifically: the interest and sinking fund rate (I&S).

While the TRE was supposed to lower the I&S rate to zero, it remained at $0.18 because House Bill 3 canceled the TRE out.

Now the district can only raise the I&S by $0.32, leaving an estimated final budget of $290 million--just enough to build two new high schools.

“We have a little bit less to work with than we did, that we thought we would,” said Elizabeth Yeager, the school board’s president.

The district said it won’t have the funds to renovate Barwise, Hirschi and Rider into middle schools until another bond election can be held in 2027.

“Just can’t do everything you need to with the funding that we have,” explained Yeager, “we can’t maintain these aging facilities with limited budget. It’s difficult.”

That has board members concerned with what the next 15 years will look like for district facilities.

“It seems like more progress could be made,” said Katherine McGregor, one of the board’s members, “but we’re not going to do anything now until 2027 after we do this.”

“I know we need to have better facilities so that both our students and our teachers have a better learning environment,” added Yeager.

Yeager added that the board will be dong a lot fine-tuning their plan up until the deadline to call a bond election, which is August.

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