Controversial proposal

Stand-alone career center also suggested

Ann Work
A CFAT member casts her private vote by writing yes or no on a slip of paper and dropping it in a basket passed around by WFISD's Renae Murphy, public information officer.

A CFAT member casts her private vote by writing yes or no on a slip of paper and dropping it in a basket passed around by WFISD's Renae Murphy, public information officer.

The Community Facilities Action team reached a unanimous decision Tuesday to recommend moving Wichita Falls ISD from a three high school district to a two high school district.

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It also wants a stand-alone career center.

The members expressed an early, strong preference for building two new high schools — but refused to label them as Rider, Wichita Falls High School or Hirschi.

“OK, we’d have a new umph and a new umph,” CFAT Chairman Kerry Maroney said as he attempted to mirror back what CFAT members expressed.

“Call it a new North High School and a new South High School,” suggested one member.

“Well, I’m not sure that’s north and south,” Maroney said as they discussed locations.

After the meeting, WFISD Public Information Officer Renae Murphy summarized CFAT’s most decisive meeting yet.

“We’re shutting down all three high schools and building two new ones, with the identities and names yet to be determined,” she said of the committee’s recommendation. “This is fresh. This is about a new start for everyone.”

Both plans that CFAT voted to send to school board members for their ultimate approval would include a separate career center with a 1,000-student capacity on WFISD property.

Neither plan included a ninth-grade center.

The CFAT is in the final stage of crafting a bond proposal to present to WFISD school board members in their Feb. 11 work session. The community team has been working since November to study district needs and come up with a plan that they believe the community will adopt in a planned-for bond election May 10.

In the CFAT proposal, the two new schools will be categorized by their locations — either a central campus (at the WFHS location) and a south campus (at the McNiel location) or a north campus (at the Hirschi site) and a south campus (at the McNiel site).

“No names will be attached because everybody’s shutting down,” Murphy said of the CFAT proposal.

CFAT members adopted the two plans to send on to the school board — Concept D and Concept D-1 — but put their own spin on both.

Concept D ($178 million to $219.5 million) outlined building two new ninth through 12th grade high schools, one at the McNiel site and one at the WFHS site, and closing Hirschi. The plan requires buying up properties to Kell. Unlike some of the other plans, it includes a larger $7 million to $11 million stadium improvement plan that includes restroom renovations.

The new Concept D-1 ($166 million to $219.5 million), which CFAT members saw for the first time Tuesday, was similar, building two new high schools and closing WFHS instead of Hirschi. It also includes the larger stadium improvement plan.

CFAT members stressed the importance of building the two new high schools only on property already owned by the district.

Maroney estimated that could save $10 million to $12 million.

CFAT members also said they wanted the two schools to have equal capacity of 1,900 students and be as identical as possible.

A majority of CFAT members preferred deleting from the plan the option of building a new $15 million to $22 million elementary school since this was supposed to be a bond that addressed secondary needs.

In a secret vote, 19 voted to leave the elementary school out, 9 voted to leave it in, and 3 voted to leave that decision to board members.

Maroney suggested compromising by leaving the elementary school in the plan, and CFAT members nodded their OK.

“I question whether we can get $200 million approved,” CFAT member Brent Hillery said. “Do we go and let the board worry about that? If we feel in our hearts that $100 million to $125 million will get approved, we’re going to have to slash something.”

CFAT member Bethlyn Eby reminded the group that the numbers they agreed to early in the process may have been too low. “The more we’ve researched, the more we realize we are so far behind. Much of this should have been approved way back when. We need to step it up and make up for lost time. We may get support for the larger number.”

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Maroney reminded the group that a bond issue of $150 million to $200 million will cost a homeowner who has a property valued at $100,000 just $14 to $20 per month.

“That is newer and that is fewer,” Maroney said. “Some whittling has to be done. As it rattles around the community, we’ll get some feedback.”

One CFAT member reminded the team that it will be their job to sell this plan to the community.

“(The cost) scares the living hell out of me,” he said. “But we have to look at what we get for that amount. Look at what we’re trying to do for the kids.”

Maroney warned that it would be a tough sell, with 46,000 registered voters in the district and 13,000 of them expected to show up at the polls. “All we need is 50 percent plus one,” he said.

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Comments » 33

Justanotherguy writes:

"The CFAT is in the final stage of crafting a bond proposal to present to WFISD school board members"
"The new Concept D-1 ($166 million to $219.5 million), which CFAT members saw for the first time Tuesday"
Is it me, or is there a disconnect there? Are the members crafting these plans, or is somebody downtown? It appeared from an earlier article the groups were not privy (until somebody asked) to the other group's information and opinion. And now out of nowhere we are renaming the High Schools. Good luck with that. I will be there come voting time, and I hope you will be too. Perhaps in the next round of bonds we can add a dome to the stadium, too.

1strlcuckoo22 writes:

Are these not entirely NEW concepts or did I miss them when they were first brought up? Did I miss the career center location and if it will be a commuter type campus or an in-resident style? I know that to get my vote/support I will want to know ALL the particulars and be able to read them. Everything will need to be definitive as to location, size, academic offerings, etc., with justifications as to these choices. I still wonder why we consider buying land when there is already sufficient land available in the district or that does not have residences already in place.

texdelch#301890 writes:

Incorrect on seen for the first time Tuesday. CFAT members in fact crafted the different concepts. That is a misprint that they were seen for the first time yesterday. Preference is to build on existing land and put the CTE at the current WFHS location w/o buying more land. Progress costs money, and we can either lag behind, or invest in the childrens and city's future. Voted concepts will be fine-tuned for costs before going to the board. CTE offerings will be a Board decision based on economic factors.

1proudamerican writes:

Justanotherguy, actually the D-1 proposal is not really new...if you look at the video that has been posted on the WFISD website Maroney discussed this plan at the end as an optional version of the D plan.

1strlcuckoo22, if you read carefully, the CFAT team did not recommend any new land purchases..."CFAT members stressed the importance of building the two new high schools only on property already owned by the district."

Just keeping it real...

Wishful writes:

Someone from WFISD needs to tell the parents of Alamo and Houston that after they move into Zundy they will not be getting a new school, even if the bond passes.
At the Zundy / Barwise / Alamo / Houston consolidation meetings WFISD board and Dr. Frossard spoke about a new Elementary school at that location.
Those children are being moved from a 109 and 99 year old building to a Junior High that was built in 1925.
This move and not building a new Elementary isn't what we were told by the board and Dr. Fossard at the Zundy and the meeting at Old High.

1strlcuckoo22 writes:

in response to 1proudamerican:

Justanotherguy, actually the D-1 proposal is not really new...if you look at the video that has been posted on the WFISD website Maroney discussed this plan at the end as an optional version of the D plan.

1strlcuckoo22, if you read carefully, the CFAT team did not recommend any new land purchases..."CFAT members stressed the importance of building the two new high schools only on property already owned by the district."

Just keeping it real...

1 proudamerican, if you read carefully you will find this.."Concept D ($178 million to $219.5 million) outlined building two new ninth through 12th grade high schools, one at the McNiel site and one at the WFHS site, and closing Hirschi. The plan requires buying up properties to Kell. " It does read "buying up properties..".
I do read fairly well most times and always keep it real.

AnObjectiveGuy writes:

There were two, 2 high school options available.

One would create a new, state of the art school by combining Rider/Old High... pooling resources into one building... ending the division in the city, etc. And create a 2nd smaller school at Hirschi that would allow for a smaller feel. That option was also the LEAST EXPENSIVE option.

The second option (Plan D that has been chosen) wants to create 2 new schools. Which means they will have to be cheap and lacking in many features. The new Rider would be at the stadium (Rider coaches will love having Memorial & Hoskins in their back yard...) The new Old High will be... ??? at Hirschi? Really? That's a joke. This option keeps the "Rider Tradition"... so, I'm sure people will be happy about that. Oh yeah, this is also 50-75 million MORE EXPENSIVE than option A...

Couple other thoughts:
- The Rider/Old High rivalry would be ramped up even more. You think it creates division and problems now... just wait until the whole city is divided.
- 2, B level new high schools or 1 A+ school?

I, for one, need to be sold on this.

wow writes:

If you truely want unity versus division, needs to be one high school (10-12), one 9th grade school and a separate technologies center...JMO

wofum1947 writes:

Nowhere in the recommendation called "D-1" did I read any estimated cost of property acquisition, so I am assuming that cost would be in addition to the "price tag" given to the proposal. That process of acquiring that land, most of which is homes, will not only be expensive but could also create hard feelings toward, and bad public relations for, the district if indeed the district uses "imminent domain" to acquire the property.

Let's look at one other factor in closing three high schools and consolidating into two. No matter where the two new high schools are located, there will be an increase in busing costs to the district. Will new/more buses be needed, the answer is almost certainly yes. How much will they cost, how much more will the costs of personnel, insurance, fuel and other related items cost the district?

I am with cuckoo on the premises that if a career/Vo-Tech school is built, it should be a self-contained school. Meaning that it would offer English, science, math and social studies along with the career and Vo-Tech courses. This would ease some of the strain of busing students first to one campus, a "home" campus, for "academic" subjects, then busing them to another for career/Vo-Tech classes, then back to a "home campus" for the end of the school day.

I too, along with texdelch, am curious as to how the board and administration will handle the "hot potato" of no recommendation from the CFAT for construction of a new elementary.

Yes, this is going to even more interesting than it already is.

WFProud writes:

in response to wofum1947:

Nowhere in the recommendation called "D-1" did I read any estimated cost of property acquisition, so I am assuming that cost would be in addition to the "price tag" given to the proposal. That process of acquiring that land, most of which is homes, will not only be expensive but could also create hard feelings toward, and bad public relations for, the district if indeed the district uses "imminent domain" to acquire the property.

Let's look at one other factor in closing three high schools and consolidating into two. No matter where the two new high schools are located, there will be an increase in busing costs to the district. Will new/more buses be needed, the answer is almost certainly yes. How much will they cost, how much more will the costs of personnel, insurance, fuel and other related items cost the district?

I am with cuckoo on the premises that if a career/Vo-Tech school is built, it should be a self-contained school. Meaning that it would offer English, science, math and social studies along with the career and Vo-Tech courses. This would ease some of the strain of busing students first to one campus, a "home" campus, for "academic" subjects, then busing them to another for career/Vo-Tech classes, then back to a "home campus" for the end of the school day.

I too, along with texdelch, am curious as to how the board and administration will handle the "hot potato" of no recommendation from the CFAT for construction of a new elementary.

Yes, this is going to even more interesting than it already is.

In proposal D1, there is no acquisition of land.

From what I've heard speaking to a few CFAT members, they were very impressed with the self contained CTE center they visited and hope that WF will grow into that but you have to start somewhere. The school they toured started out as a center and as interest built and they were able to add more programs, they were able to become a comprehensive high school!

Wichita_Willie writes:

So why are we considering locating a high school way out at the stadium? If we are going with a new school at Hirschi (north side) and just one for the rest of the city, seems that the stadium location is way too far southwest and not centrally located enough. That's quite a drive from say Bonnie Homes, Sun Valley, etc. much less from where WFHS is today. Yes the WFISD owns land out there but something more centrally located would be better.

1strlcuckoo22 writes:

in response to wofum1947:

Nowhere in the recommendation called "D-1" did I read any estimated cost of property acquisition, so I am assuming that cost would be in addition to the "price tag" given to the proposal. That process of acquiring that land, most of which is homes, will not only be expensive but could also create hard feelings toward, and bad public relations for, the district if indeed the district uses "imminent domain" to acquire the property.

Let's look at one other factor in closing three high schools and consolidating into two. No matter where the two new high schools are located, there will be an increase in busing costs to the district. Will new/more buses be needed, the answer is almost certainly yes. How much will they cost, how much more will the costs of personnel, insurance, fuel and other related items cost the district?

I am with cuckoo on the premises that if a career/Vo-Tech school is built, it should be a self-contained school. Meaning that it would offer English, science, math and social studies along with the career and Vo-Tech courses. This would ease some of the strain of busing students first to one campus, a "home" campus, for "academic" subjects, then busing them to another for career/Vo-Tech classes, then back to a "home campus" for the end of the school day.

I too, along with texdelch, am curious as to how the board and administration will handle the "hot potato" of no recommendation from the CFAT for construction of a new elementary.

Yes, this is going to even more interesting than it already is.

Wofum, thanks for the agreement on the Vo-Tech.
I really believe that Hirschi has the available land area to expand and incorporate a very upscale career center while retaining the IB progam and its current regular academics.

FormerWFResident writes:

Not the best recommendation in my opinion. I appreciate the CFAT's hard work. But I think the lack of real consideration for the Concerned Citizen's proposal is incredibly frustrating.

1strlcuckoo22 writes:

in response to texdelch#301890:

Incorrect on seen for the first time Tuesday. CFAT members in fact crafted the different concepts. That is a misprint that they were seen for the first time yesterday. Preference is to build on existing land and put the CTE at the current WFHS location w/o buying more land. Progress costs money, and we can either lag behind, or invest in the childrens and city's future. Voted concepts will be fine-tuned for costs before going to the board. CTE offerings will be a Board decision based on economic factors.

So they want to move the CTE facility from the neighborhood of Blonde St, a choice area, to the neighborhood of WFHS, the "gang" zone? This just shows the elitist view of this panel where if you are not following a "true college bound" study program you are not quite up to their "par". We need our Vo-Tech center out where everyone can see it and perhaps view some of its products there by drawing a greater student population.

wofum1947 writes:

Mea culpa, Mea culpa, Mea culpa! In my post I misidentified a poster. Where I said, "texdelch" I should have said, "Wishful". My sincere apologies to both.

Lostintranslation writes:

in response to 1strlcuckoo22:

Wofum, thanks for the agreement on the Vo-Tech.
I really believe that Hirschi has the available land area to expand and incorporate a very upscale career center while retaining the IB progam and its current regular academics.

I agree with everything you've written - with one caveat - I HIGHLY doubt the WFISD would let Hirschi keep the IB program. I understand from persons involved in the program that, though they wanted nothing to do with it when first brought into WFISD, Rider now wants the IB program. And we all know that what Rider wants, Rider gets...even if it is to the detriment of the rest of the District.

TXMM writes:

Perhaps I missed something, but can anyone explain how to "put the CTE at the current WFHS location without buying more land" and continue to educate WFHS students during the construction phase? Do they expect to complete all construction during one summer? Is there a temporary location planned? Surely I am missing something here.

1strlcuckoo22 writes:

in response to Lostintranslation:

I agree with everything you've written - with one caveat - I HIGHLY doubt the WFISD would let Hirschi keep the IB program. I understand from persons involved in the program that, though they wanted nothing to do with it when first brought into WFISD, Rider now wants the IB program. And we all know that what Rider wants, Rider gets...even if it is to the detriment of the rest of the District.

But we are doing away with the "Rider" and
"Wichita Falls HS" names and starting over with new monickers for the schools. I think it would be difficult to change IB locations. I do understand that those individuals are well known as ones who will "stoop" to any depths to get their way(especially if monetary coersion can be used)

1strlcuckoo22 writes:

in response to AnObjectiveGuy:

There were two, 2 high school options available.

One would create a new, state of the art school by combining Rider/Old High... pooling resources into one building... ending the division in the city, etc. And create a 2nd smaller school at Hirschi that would allow for a smaller feel. That option was also the LEAST EXPENSIVE option.

The second option (Plan D that has been chosen) wants to create 2 new schools. Which means they will have to be cheap and lacking in many features. The new Rider would be at the stadium (Rider coaches will love having Memorial & Hoskins in their back yard...) The new Old High will be... ??? at Hirschi? Really? That's a joke. This option keeps the "Rider Tradition"... so, I'm sure people will be happy about that. Oh yeah, this is also 50-75 million MORE EXPENSIVE than option A...

Couple other thoughts:
- The Rider/Old High rivalry would be ramped up even more. You think it creates division and problems now... just wait until the whole city is divided.
- 2, B level new high schools or 1 A+ school?

I, for one, need to be sold on this.

NO Rider, NO Old High!!! " building two new ones, with the identities and names yet to be determined,”

wofum1947 writes:

TXMM: You have hit upon a considerable problem that no one seems to want to address. If any new construction is begun at the current WFHS site, on district owned property and still have classes in the current WFHS building, it would almost have to be on the practice field location to the South of the present building. There is no way to measure the noise, dirt, congestion and distractions this would provide to the learning environment in academic classes. The "back parking lot" would almost surely have to be closed among other construction related "inconveniences". To include, but not limited to, where would the football team, soccer teams, band, and track teams practice? Would the construction interfere with the baseball field, tennis courts and softball fields? If so, where would these teams practice? Where would the buses load and unload their students? The remodeling of the gym/field house was bad enough, just ask anyone who lived through it.

The same logic can be applied to the idea of building a new elementary at the "Zundy site".

awork#259394 writes:

in response to texdelch#301890:

Incorrect on seen for the first time Tuesday. CFAT members in fact crafted the different concepts. That is a misprint that they were seen for the first time yesterday. Preference is to build on existing land and put the CTE at the current WFHS location w/o buying more land. Progress costs money, and we can either lag behind, or invest in the childrens and city's future. Voted concepts will be fine-tuned for costs before going to the board. CTE offerings will be a Board decision based on economic factors.

Only Concept D-1 was seen for the first time Tuesday. All four original Concepts were presented to CFAT members last Tuesday, Jan. 21. Kerry Maroney has written each Concept, drawing from contributions made by CFAT's five small groups.

Wishful writes:

in response to TXMM:

Perhaps I missed something, but can anyone explain how to "put the CTE at the current WFHS location without buying more land" and continue to educate WFHS students during the construction phase? Do they expect to complete all construction during one summer? Is there a temporary location planned? Surely I am missing something here.

TXMM,
WFISD has the same issue when they told parents that while the Alamo and Houston Elementary students are in the Zundy Elementary (old Zundy Jr. High) that they would construct a new elementary "on site" while the kids are in school, if bond passes.
There is no way that a new elementary school could fit on the remaining unused land at Zundy (football practice, tennis court and parking lot), also keep in mind that playground equipment will be moved in from those two elementary. They would have to take private property or build at another site that WFISD already owns, maybe over at Old High? No wait a minute that is where the proposed CTE is going.
Problem solved let’s spend $128,000 for a study, spend $100,000 to get Zundy to state elementary minimum standards which is moving kids into a 89 year old Junior High.
Oh I failed to mention the amount for the phone survey from Baseline and Associates, TRN printed version had it at $18,770 to call 300 voters, and that is how much per call...., class?

wofum1947 writes:

WFProud: You are correct, another Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa. It was proposal "D" that had the acquisition of land in it.

texdelch#301890 writes:

in response to awork#259394:

Only Concept D-1 was seen for the first time Tuesday. All four original Concepts were presented to CFAT members last Tuesday, Jan. 21. Kerry Maroney has written each Concept, drawing from contributions made by CFAT's five small groups.

Not so Ann. CFAT rcvd the D1 plan on Thursday, last week. So we were all aware and prepared for discussion on it. In fact many residents had reviewed it as well as many CFAT members sent it out with all of them for feedback.

texdelch#301890 writes:

in response to FormerWFResident:

Not the best recommendation in my opinion. I appreciate the CFAT's hard work. But I think the lack of real consideration for the Concerned Citizen's proposal is incredibly frustrating.

Not everyone will be happy with whatever choice was/is made. You can't please everyone no matter the topic. What gives you the impression that the CCofWF proposal wasn't considered? Every proposal to include the Hispanic Group was looked at. Just because a proposal wasn't selected doesn't mean it wasn't considered. Everything was open for discussion. CCofWF proposed 1 HS, and a 1 HS concept (Concept D2) was available. It may not have matched exatly to their proposal, but it was there. Their compromise letter submitted yesterday was for (Concept A). Again, it was there for consideration.

AnObjectiveGuy writes:

in response to 1strlcuckoo22:

NO Rider, NO Old High!!! " building two new ones, with the identities and names yet to be determined,”

Let's be realistic. Changing the "NAME" of a school will not change the perception of the schools or the kids and parents that are connected with it.

My guess is that the names will stay the same. They just aren't saying that because of bias.

If you need to, change Rider to "The School on the West Side" and Old High to "The Other School" in my previous post. It changes nothing.

2 cheaper schools instead of 1 great one.
A city divided over mascots more than ever.
The most expensive bond option when we really needed to get one passed...

Someone please sell me on this thing.

val2621#308530 writes:

I think it would be great to have two new schools, with two new names and begin new traditions. Using the land at Hirschi High School makes more sense no need to buy land and it will give those on the side of town that seems to always be overlooked something to be proud of. I'm voting for North and South (whatever names they come up with for them).

WFFL writes:

This is all white noise until we solve our water problems.

Diogenes writes:

We desperately need new secondary schools, but I cannot support this plan. I will regretfully vote "no" if this proposal is set forth in a bond election.

texdelch#301890 writes:

in response to Diogenes:

We desperately need new secondary schools, but I cannot support this plan. I will regretfully vote "no" if this proposal is set forth in a bond election.

Would you elaborate as to why you can't support it?

WFFL writes:

in response to texdelch#301890:

Would you elaborate as to why you can't support it?

I don't support it because it is a ridiculous plan.

Nothing is wrong with Rider or Hirschi. Why not just shut down WFHS and put some money into expanding and updating those campuses.

Why are we even talking about anything other than a parking lot for the stadium?

This whole mess of putting elementary schools at Zundy with no real future plan is a joke.

Proposing a bond that could possibly exceed 200 million is beyond delusional for a town that was on the fence about an 120 million bond and is also facing an epic water crisis.

The phone survey was a farce and provided zero statistical reliability as to what this town really wants.

Money, rivalries, prejudices, and status quo is what made these decisions. I will not vote "yes" on this bond and will encourage everyone I know to vote "no" as well.

Another_Wichitan writes:

There is no sarcasm behind this question, I just really want to know opinions. Do you think either of these plans will come to fruition?

Wichita_Willie writes:

I have to agree about nothing substantially being wrong with Rider and especially Hirschi. Both could be seriously upgraded with a fraction of the money being debated.

I am also completely opposed to building anything at the Stadium. First, where are you going to put a new high school to begin with? The NE corner is all baseball. No room here. The NW corner is all soccer and I really don't think anything would fit there either. The SE corner is already occupied by McNeil and the SW corner is the softball complex.

If anything needs to be constructed out at the stadium, ITS A NEW PARKING LOT!!!

The WFISD has shown its true colors in that it changes its mind about facility improvements about as fast as the wind changes. I simply cannot understand the district spending BIG BUCKS to build gyms at Sam Houston and Alamo just a few short years ago, to now be suggesting that we close these schools down. Same with the construction of the new field house at Zundy. Money doesn't grow on trees around here so it completely baffles me that our school board saw nothing wrong with pi$$ing away all this money on improvements on Houston, Alamo and Zundy to now be ready to close them. I guess this means that our so called "educational experts" simply can't see the big picture.

As for Zundy, why are we not leaving Sam Houston and Alamo alone until the "New Zundy" is built? I see no common sense in moving school A to C, school B to C, and then closing school C. Even when we closed Huey and Fannin (well technically Fannin was never actually closed as promised) the WFISD at least waited until Scotland Park Elementary was finished before the change was made.

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