Wink-Loving ISD using funds for sweeping community improvements

Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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WINK, Texas (KOSA) - Wink-Loving ISD is full steam ahead on several projects, including a multi-million dollar community pool and sports complex.

District staff say they want to make use of their good financial standing on projects like this one so that Wink residents are set for decades to come.

“When the oil field is good, Wink-Loving ISD is good,” said Clayton Hawkins, a school board member.

Following years of successful oil production in the area, the subsequent increase in Wink’s property values led to an increase in Wink-Loving ISD’s funds. While executing and paying off multiple bonds early, it’s also been building savings, according to Superintendent Scotty Carman.

“This is money that we have saved through the years,” Carman said. “The board has done a very good job of saving for the future. And we got enough money in our fund balance and we started saying, ‘What are some things that we can do to improve our community?’”

That’s why the district partnered with Winkler County to open a sports complex and add a pool to its park. The projects total at $11.5 million and are expected to complete in summer 2024.

The school and park have been the heart of Wink, so while the district is financially healthy, they want to use their funds to complete as many projects as possible.

“It’s an oil field town, it’s not pretty. We’re not going to sugar coat it, but our county does a really good job on our park and so when you drive into town, you notice two things. The school and the park,” Hawkins said.

While the district says it can’t control things like bumpy roads, it wants to do what it can to boost local enjoyment. That means avoiding travel and giving kids something to do outside of school.

A productive school board and a superintendent with vision are credited for the school’s efforts to build community resilience.

“This is a great superintendent that has really used those resources to the fullest,” Hawkins said. ”So the oil field fluctuates and I think the next time it fluctuates down, we’re set. We don’t have to worry about it.”

The school is undergoing various improvements and can expect new facilities like an auditorium, gym and more. The district will give free school supplies and meals this year, on top of existing free admission to sporting events.

“They’re not just looking at Wink-Loving ISD and just the school. We’re looking at Wink as a whole and how to better us as a whole community,” said Dana Fernandes, a teacher and parent.

District staff say they hope these projects not only benefit community members within the school district, but those outside of it and those yet to move in.