School superintendents and college officials say student growth is booming

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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He may be the new kid on the block but that didn’t put Aledo ISD Superintendent Dr. Derek Citty at a disadvantage last week.

Citty, Weatherford ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hanks and Weatherford College’s Brent Baker each addressed the East Parker County Chamber’s monthly luncheon crowd about the state of their respective districts and the College’s enrollment and future plans.

Hanks mentioned that WISD’s growth and unsuccessful bond passage forced the district to have to purchase four portables that are currently being used at Austin and Curtis Elementary schools. But he added that, hopefully, that will be just temporary.

“Currently, we have 7,736 students in the district and we are growing,” Hanks said. “[The needs the bond attempted to address] have not gone away. We’re going to step back, re-evaluate and I’m sure sometime within the next year, probably, there will be a new proposal for the voters to consider.”

Expanding WISD’s use of social media platforms and introducing an emergency notification system to inform parents and students of a crisis if needed was also mentioned by Hanks as he cited a bomb threat incident earlier this year.

“I’m sure every mother knew about that incident before me so I hope this system will at least give us a fighting chance to get correct information out there first,” he said.

Citty quickly mentioned that it was only his 73rd day on the job and gave a brief background of his career at Carroll ISD, among other places.

“I knew I wanted to come to Aledo...people are really proud of their school district and that includes the kids, our trustees and those in the community and I feel there is a good thing going here and I am proud to be here,” he said. “It’s a great place to be.”

Citty then went through the amount of teachers and employees at Aledo ISD and talked about the goals of the district. He joked that the No. 1 goal on his list was for Aledo to beat Stephenville in football but since that had happened the previous Friday, it had been removed.

On a serious note, however, Citty said he’s spent many hours learning about the needs of the district and the community to make sure that each of the items on the strategic plan are properly executed.

“I see many positives and look forward to things coming up for this district,” he concluded.

Baker, WC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement, took a moment to thank both Hanks and Citty for “great public schools” in Parker County before going into some of the demographics of the College. Statistics show that 47 percent of WC students come from Parker County and that the student population is 67 percent female, 33 percent male.

“So if you have a son, those are pretty good odds,” Baker joked, saying that he met his wife when he was college at the University of North Texas.

Not surprisingly, Baker noted that Weatherford High School was the No. 1 feeder school to the College with Aledo High School close behind at No. 3. Granbury was second, while Mineral Wells, Springtown and Peaster were also in the top 10.

One of the things Baker said the College is most proud of is its “affordable tuition.” When compared with surrounding universities like Tarleton State, UNT and University of Texas-Arlington, WC averaged $2,170 for 15 semester credit hours as opposed to a high of $9,152 at UTA for the same amount of hours.

Baker also spoke about the new academic building and construction of the Don Allen Health Science Building that has recently begun. He also said the WC Education Foundation’s capital campaign goal of $2 million was “looking really, really good” and mentioned plans about constructing a campus in the Aledo area.

“It’s all about the students,” Baker said. “We have folks as young as 17, as old as 70 and everything in between [who attend the school].”

Melissa Winn, 817-594-9902, Ext. 104 Twitter: @scoopmdw3701

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