With rumors swirling about a possible bond election and the recent formation of a Facility Advisory of Citizens, Teachers and Students (FACTS) Committee, Weatherford ISD and Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hanks hosted a Lunch with the Superintendent last week to update the community on what’s happening at WISD.
After highlighting student achievement and talking about how the district is making it “world class” for its students, Hanks told the 25 or so in attendance about the committee’s actions and that no decisions or recommendations had yet been made to the board but that all the information being discussed, along with a list of committee members, resources, meeting agendas, and minutes, is available online to the public.
“In most cases, it’s available within 24 hours of [when the committee meets],” Hanks said.
Hanks also informed attendees about results the board and district received from a recent phone survey conducted by Baselice & Associates, in conjunction with WISD’s architectural firm, Huckabee.
The results, Hanks explained, showed that the district has a “steep hill to climb” when it comes to presenting another bond package. WISD’s last attempt - a $107 million package that failed to pass in 2013 - is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
“We learned a lot from that and this time around, I think we are working to fix those things,” Hanks said.
After hearing Hanks speak, Randall Young, one of the community members in attendance, asked how long it had been since WISD last had a bond pass. When told it was 2001, Young said it was “time.”
“The community has got to change its collective mind,” Young said. “We have great schools but its time [we upgraded them].”
There is no timetable for when the FACTS committee may or may not have a recommendation to bring to the Board of Trustees. Hanks said it is possible that it may not be in time for a May bond election to be called but that whatever the recommendation of the committee, he feels confident it will be an informed one.
“The committee is studying current district financial data, the results of a community-wide survey, a district-wide facilities assessment, demographic information and project options and cost analysis,” Hanks said in an earlier press release on the committee’s focus. “They are also touring existing district facilities and working collectively to develop a bond package that meets the district’s needs. I am confident this process will help make the best decisions for our students and teachers and look forward to working with the community on this important effort.”
The FACTS Committee is led by committee-elected co-chairs, Amy Crippen and Leo Neely. Amy Bonnett serves as the FACTS Committee secretary. In addition, some WISD administrators, Board of Trustee Facilities Subcommittee and district consultants serve in an advisory (non-voting) role on the committee.
All information presented to the FACTS Committee may be viewed at www.weatherfordisdfacts.com. The site is updated weekly and also includes an avenue for community members to submit questions to the district.
Melissa Winn, 817-594-9902