Year in review: Education
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - From teacher of the year award ceremonies to district board meetings, our team covered it all. Just in case you missed it, here’s a recap of our top 2022 education stories.
Midwestern state university began 2022 by celebrating 100 years of education. Our team covered stories from every corner of campus, whether it was alumni reminiscing on the past, or students looking to the future, all of it was to pay homage to the legacy of a university in the heart of Wichita Falls.
Wichita Falls ISD had an eventful year full of difficult decisions starting with selecting legacy and memorial high schools mascots and colors. The process began in August 2021.
On February 8, second through ninth grade students finally voted electronically from the top picks the community submitted. The Wichita Falls Legacy High School’s mascot and colors are royal blue and gold leopards, while the WF Memorial High School mavericks will have navy and red.
WFISD teachers in each campus had to decide on who among them deserved the teacher of the year award. There were 26 total winners, one for each campus.
WFISD Superintendent Michael Kuhrt made waves when he resigned In April the board voted seven to zero to approve the resignation and Debbie Dipprey became interim superintendent in his place before hiring Dr. Donny Lee for the official position in July.
That same month, WFISD announced their multi-million dollar deficit, which came after the school district was overpaid by the TEA for the last three years due to overestimating student enrollment. A financial consultant hired by the board, Gary Patterson, said the district lost 800 students in the past two years but they are still running things as if those students were still there with the same amount of staff and with the same budget. Later in the year, teachers and programs were let go in an effort to recover from the 6.2 million dollar shortage. Superintendent Dr. Lee mentioned at the last board meeting the cuts that were made are working toward recovering from the deficit and the district is moving in the right direction financially.
“The question to ask is did that work? Looking ahead at our budget, looking ahead through January through July 1st, it shows that the rif did work. Although it was uncomfortable and very difficult, it is going to put us at a very sound financial position looking into the future,” Dr. Lee said.
A WFISD parent pushed for a dads on duty program inspired by the nationwide program in may... Michael Kately, a parent, said he would like to see this be implemented into WFISD to help students receive the extra guidance. The program was being discussed with former WFISD chief of police Lahoma Vaughn. AshleyThomass, WFISD communications officer, confirmed with the hiring of a new chief the implementation has been put on hold.
In November we looked at how the district has the possibility of being taken over by the Texas education agency due to grades at Kirby Middle School. In the Spring of 2023, Kirby students will take STAAR tests. Those results will determine if Kirby Middle School gets that needed passing grade. If Kirby doesn’t meet standards, the TEA commissioner will either shut Kirby middle school down or take over the district.
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