Desperate need for substitutes, bond reaction discussed at board meeting

Updated: Nov. 10, 2020 at 5:28 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - In the Wichita Falls ISD, 18 teachers are positive for coronavirus, but over a hundred additional teachers are having to quarantine because of close-contact. That’s putting a strain on the district’s substitute teacher pool; and the pool itself is much smaller this year.

“Right now we’re treading water,” the district’s human resources director said.

Just last Friday, the district’s lack of subs put them in a difficult position. A middle school had 17 teachers out for the day and could only fill ten of those positions with subs. It put an extra workload on staff and forced some classes to double up.

The district’s human resources department said they’ve been both reaching out to substitutes on file, saying “We have asked the subs that said they are not currently going to accept jobs to let us know as soon as they are ready to start subbing again so we can add them to that rotation,” and held more training days.

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, different members of the school board asked if there was any incentive the district could give.

Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said at this point it’s not about the money.

“They’re worried about the virus,” he said, “they’re worried about being on campus with possibly the COVID infection.”

He said that substitute pool especially needs to grow now as this semester comes to an end before spring activities force more teachers out of the classroom.

“It really does make it difficult when we don’t have substitutes and people are out,” the superintendent said, “especially come this spring it’s going to be really hard.”

While Wichita County works to finish counting the remaining overseas military and provisional ballots, the Wichita Falls ISD is taking the first official steps towards building two new high schools.

The first quote request for a construction manager to build those new schools will be posted at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning on the WFISD website. That person will then work closely with Superintendent Michael Kuhrt and the architects to get those design concepts turned into construction plans.

The goal is to get that position finalized by next month. With that comes also figuring out how to prepare the properties and get the dirt work done since proposition two is not currently passing.

Superintendent Kuhrt said it’s going to be a long process... but he’s ready to get it started.

“Lots to do, lots going on, but those are awesome problems to have,” he said, “I’m still very optimistic and grateful for our voters that they did participate in the process.”

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