Wichita Falls ISD leaders vacation amid omicron surge, staff shortage

Wichita Falls ISD’s top administrators took personal days this month for family vacations while teachers feel pressured to forego time off amidst the omicron surge and a substitute shortage.

Superintendent Mike Kuhrt and Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths both took leave around Martin Luther King Day, a Jan. 17 school holiday.

“We don’t get subs to fill our spots. We’re just not here, and all those days were planned well in advance,” Kuhrt said after the Jan. 18 School Board meeting.

He had a personal day Jan. 14, the Friday before Martin Luther King Day, and took a trip to Red River, New Mexico. Griffiths took leave Jan. 13 through Jan. 18 to go to Guatemala for a niece’s baptism and a mass for a cousin who had died suddenly.

Wichita Falls ISD Superintendent Michael Kuhrt addresses the Board of Trustees during a special session July 13, 2021, as shown in this file photo.

WFISD educator complains about paid leave for teachers

While their leave days triggered ire among some, one WFISD educator had no issue with them taking personal days — but pointed to wider concerns.

“The problem is the timing and the systemic cultural problem in education where everyone expects teachers to never miss,” said the teacher, who commented on the condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation.

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