RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
Despite rumors, the Randolph Field Independent School District is not closing and is, in fact, experiencing increased enrollment as more and more transfer students compete to enter the system.
"Because Randolph Air Force Base officials have announced a decrease in the number of units of base housing expected to be rebuilt under the new privatization plans, some parents have felt that this would mean base schools would have to be closed. That is far from the situation," says Dr. Barbara Maddox, RFISD superintendent.
She explained that for the past several years, RFISD has been accepting transfer students whose parents are active military but live off base. This has led to higher enrollments.
"Right now, we have 1,158 students in our three schools, and that is almost as high as the enrollment has been in a decade," she said.
Transfer students are funded at a decreased rate from on-base students, but the decrease to about $9,400 per student still leaves Randolph with more per student than other public school districts in the area, Dr. Maddox said.
"We will have some belt-tightening to undergo, but that can be good because it leads to the need to closely evaluate everything we're providing," she said.
To better accommodate the increase, the district has been in a building and renovation program for the past several years. A new fine arts center was added to serve band, choir and art students at the high school. A gymnasium renovation program has been completed at the secondary campus, providing new facilities for male and female athletes. Also, an early childhood education center with a classroom and a multi-purpose assembly area was opened.
Other renovations at the secondary school campus have included new insulated windows, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation system improvements. A new library and middle school were constructed and opened three years ago, as well.
Improvements have been significant at the elementary school also, as new insulated windows were installed, a new library was opened, improved classrooms and administration facilities were put into operation, and HVAC work was completed.
Presently, work is about to begin on a new parking facility and student drop-off area as well as improved playground areas.
"We feel that these improvements give us outstanding facilities to deal with increased enrollment and at the same time enhance our strong reputation for academic excellence," Dr. Maddox said. "The investment has been made to provide outstanding educational opportunities for our students, and we are certain that the future is bright for the Randolph Field Independent School District."