Approving bond good for community

Tina Haapala |

Last week, we discussed how important it was for college students (and pretty much everyone else) to study art and the humanities; but this is not at the expense of learning about technology.

When it comes to tech, where does theory end and application begin? Heck if I know. For our discussion it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that while we look up to those who win the Nobel Prize in the sciences, literature, and economics, without the work of plumbers, lab techs, electricians, accountants, carpenters, chefs, mechanics, and the like our days would be difficult to the point of impossible. I mean, when was the last time you were frantically looking up the phone number of an astrophysicist? (Okay, I did once, but that’s a different story.)

Back a long, long time ago when I started high school in a different state (1971), Wichita Falls’ Carrigan Career and Technical Center was born. Last I checked, it teaches our high school students construction, auto repair, cosmetology, electronics, and welding.

For those needing to get to work right after graduation it gives them the skills needed to get a job. For others it gives them a leg-up on their way to a tech school or apprenticeship. For those heading into a traditional college curriculum it allows them to put the theory they’ve learned into practice. Carrigan has been a great resource for our area, but it is getting old and tired. And like many tech programs in many school districts, it has languished a bit…at best an afterthought in most people’s minds, if it is thought of at all.

That’s a shame.

But now there is a groundswell of support to broaden, deepen, and strengthen career and technical education in this area. It will take about $35 million to do it, but we are on the verge of stepping up our game to give our high school students a place to learn and experience not just the courses that are already offered but the ability to expand into new areas that have growing needs for workers.

A lot of you stopped at the $35 million. Yes, that’s a lot of money. Add to that some major repairs and renovations needed at our junior high schools (that frankly are falling apart) plus some other work that needs to be paid for, and you end up with a bond initiative in the range of $59.5 million.

Don’t worry; they’re not messing with the high schools this time around. We can all argue about that some other year. What they are messing with is what will keep a lot of kids in school that would otherwise drop out; engaged who would otherwise just drift through; and employable who would otherwise end up on a lengthy list of the unemployed.

Early voting for the school bond begins later this month. Information about it can be found at On that site you can read about what they are trying to do or watch a video that explains it. After 44 years and a technology revolution, we need an update.

This article was published under the title "Vote for school's initiative " in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on April 19, 2015.