WFISD purchasing over 180 acres for potential new high school; budget deadlock

WFISD BOARD MTG 5.18

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Wichita Falls ISD is moving forward with purchasing 180.84 acres at the corner of 2550 Windthorst Rd and 3501 Henry S Grace Freeway (off of Hwy 287) with plans of putting a new high school there soon.

Board president Elizabeth Yeager and Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said the property is the perfect place for a new high school since it will be the first thing most people see when they enter the city.

“Right now we really feel that there aren’t a lot of locations in town with one hundred acres or so that have a lot of visibilities for a new high school so we really like this location and feel this is a super opportunity for us,” said Superintendent Kuhrt.

Over the next few months, Superintendent Kuhrt will begin negotiations over a $100,000 option contract. This would guarantee the land to WFISD, who would pay the full amount for it if a bond election passes.

Yeager said in a statement: this is an exciting step for WFISD as they continue to plan for future facilities. Although COVID-19 has created a great deal of uncertainty, it is important to plan for future generations of WFISD

“At some point in time we will be back in school,” added Superintendent Kuhrt, “this does not change the fact that we have old facilities.”

Also discussed tonight was next year’s school budget, which has the district in a deadlock. Each year, the district receives funding from the state, based on its attendance.

Before going online, the district was able to submit attendance numbers to the state based on the last time everyone was in the classroom. But with the start of next school year uncertain, the district doesn’t know how it will calculate attendance.

No guidelines from the state mean the district is having to wait to see if an additional $3 million will have to be cut from it’s operating budget.

The 2020-2021 school year budget has to be approved at the end of June 2020, which Superintendent Kuhrt said is putting the pressure on him and his team.

He said plans are still in place to call a bond election in August.

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