Wichita Falls ISD addresses start, end time changes

Three weeks after the WFISD board approved a three-tier system, they have decided to keep a two-tier system.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:13 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls ISD is addressing why the decision was made to not adopt a three-tier system for this upcoming school year.

Three weeks after the WFISD board approved a three-tier system they have decided to keep a two-tier system.

The three-tier system was designed to save the district millions of dollars every year, but after hearing concerns about the issues the new school times could present, the district has decided to hold off on the three-tier system for now.

“Everything seemed to be okay but then you started to hear certain rumblings like ‘well we didn’t think about this issue, we didn’t think about that issue,’” Dr. Peter Griffiths, Associate Superintendent at WFISD said. “So then we had a meeting with district directors and we really started diving more into it. We were like okay, well there are some issues here that we probably weren’t aware of.”

One of the issues that caused Wichita Falls ISD to hold off on the three-tier system was buses.

Even with the 40-minute break between start times, concerns were voiced about buses not having enough time to pick up and drop off kids before the next school time, but that wasn’t the only issue.

“If we had high schools starting later on in the day, practices and you can notice now it gets dark early,” Dr. Griffiths said. “Well, some of the areas don’t have good lighting, so if we lose out on lighting then they lose out on practice.”

The positive side of the three-tier system is that it would have saved the district millions of dollars every year because it would reduce the number of bus routes and staffing.

But with that on pause, Griffiths said the district will likely have some extra costs.

“There might be a couple of new routes added but not to the significance as the two new high schools,” Dr. Griffiths said. “This is mostly for the elementary that we have changed, the 13 different attendance zones so the changes aren’t as dramatic.”

Griffiths said while some things look good on paper, sometimes you have to just take a step back and reassess the situation.

“Sometimes things pop up and all of a sudden it’s like well hold on, let’s pause and take a look at it again,” Dr. Griffiths said. “If we make any kind of missteps, we understand that there could be huge consequences of those things and we don’t want to make major changes if we don’t see the benefits from it.”

Although they are sticking with a two-tier system, school times will be changed for the upcoming school year because the board had already voted in favor of adding 10 minutes to the school day.

Secondary schools will start at 7:30 a.m and end at 3p.m., while elementary schools will start at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.