Weatherford Democrat

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December 20, 2012

WISD trustees address school crowding

Three proposals offered as school board members begin reviews of the plans, costs

By SALLY SEXTON

ssexton@weatherforddemocrat.com

Several community members, as part of Weatherford ISD’s Citizens Facility Committee, along with board trustees, met Monday at Curtis Elementary to review findings by the committee in regards to meeting the needs of future growth within the district.

The Weatherford school board met in September to discuss future needs and form the committee, made up of around 40 citizens in the community.

Each committee member was divided into various groups, focusing on elementary capacity, technology needs, security and intermediate and high school grades.

“Our challenge was to meet the projected growth but not increase the expenses or additional land, staffing and utility and maintenance costs,” Joe Tison, head of one of the subcommittees, said.

Of the several suggestions thrown out regarding consolidation at the high school, one idea was to group grades nine through 12 at the current high school facility, with ninth graders attending the Ninth Grade Center on South Main. Grades 10 through 12 currently attend WHS. In addition, grades five and six would serve as an intermediate, and seven and eight together as a junior high.

“Some of the strengths we found was that combining those grades promotes unity, eliminates the competition between Hall [Middle School] and Tison [Middle School], you get a more concentrated pool of talent, it provides a smoother transition from one campus to another and it better utilizes the space at the NGC,” Tison said.

Tison added that by consolidating grades nine through 12 at one campus, it would support more efficient teaching, provide students with equal access to resources and eliminate travel from the Ninth Grade Center to the high school.

“One of the concerns would be that the pick-up and drop-off areas at the high school would be more congested,” Tison said.

Tison said his group’s recommendation to the board regarding a bond proposal for the projects would be to keep it simple.“We need to propose a bond focusing on what is necessary and consider having smaller bonds and planning the elections more frequently, as opposed to asking the public for big chunks at a time,” he said.

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