Kylie Davenport is a senior at Rider High School and is the Chronicle's editor-in-chief. Going into her second year on staff, she is nervous but excited...
New High Schools, New Concerns
April 1, 2022
“The times, they are a-changin,” a popular song by Bob Dylan accurately describes the changes in Wichita Falls. For decades, WFISD has consisted of three high schools: Wichita Falls High School (Old High), S.H Rider High School and Hirschi High School.
As construction continues on Memorial and Legacy, more and more questions begin to surface. Teachers and faculty begin to wonder what will happen with their jobs. Will they have the same title? How will the hiring process work? Will they be separated from their coworkers and support staff?
Others like Alisha Crouch’s future will rely on her husband. Jeremy Crouch is a head baseball coach at Rider. Because there will be one less high school, the district will only be hiring two head coaches instead of the three now.
“If he can’t get another head baseball coaching position, then we have to move somewhere else,” Crouch said.
Crouch came back to Rider to teach and coach at her alma mater, now her reasoning has changed. With more questions than answers, Crouch is worried about her future with WFISD.
“I believe we are losing good teachers, coaches, and staff to other places because they have to reapply, like we do,” Crouch said. “Why not just apply somewhere where you know you’ll have a job in two years?”
WFISD has discussed cutting some positions, especially in the elementary schools. These budget cuts have caused some teachers in secondary education to become anxious about their future, and wonder if they will have jobs in the coming years. Stacy Martin is among them.
“They’ve assured us before the bond election that we would all still have a job. But now, given the budget shortfall, they still have given us no procedure or timeline,” Martin said. “They need to make some sort of policy pretty quickly.”
As more teachers begin coming up with new questions, and fears about the new schools and job opportunities, Rider principal Dr. Cody Blair said he reached out to the district in order to instigate a “sense of urgency” for the district to come up with a plan, and communicate it to the staff district wide.
“I know people, anytime we don’t have clarity or certainty on something, I know that can cause some worry for folks,” Blair said.
As construction continues, the district is meeting about ideas for positions and the hiring process.
“At this point, I don’t know anymore than what the teachers do. They haven’t had any meetings about it,” Blair said. “I think the only thing set in stone is sometime at the end of next school year, sometime next spring or summer of 2023, is when they’re supposed to be hiring the principal of each school.”
While concerns about staffing and who will work where is a main concern, the new schools are bringing a sense of excitement about the future of Wichita Falls.
Blair hopes that the district will continue to be open about their plans for the schools so that “people can be put at ease and focus more on the exciting things about being a part of two brand new high schools. And not worrying about the uncertainty.”