Willis ISD calls $225 million bond election for May 7

Willis ISD called for a $225 million bond including three propositions on Feb. 9. (Maegan Kirby/Community Impact Newspaper)
Willis ISD called for a $225 million bond including three propositions on Feb. 9. (Maegan Kirby/Community Impact Newspaper)

Willis ISD called for a $225 million bond including three propositions on Feb. 9. (Maegan Kirby/Community Impact Newspaper)

Willis ISD trustees adopted an order calling a school bond election for May 7 totaling $225 million at the Feb. 9 board meeting. The bond, presented by members of the district's long-term planning committee, includes propositions to fund new schools, a new football stadium and an aquatic center.

The district’s long-term planning committee began meeting in November to determine the need for a bond package to fund new facilities, district officials said. At the meeting Feb. 9, Superintendent Tim Harkrider noted the current student population numbers are trending higher than the April 2021 demographic study projected.

“Our enrollment is up almost 700 kids just this year, which is double the predicted amount that it was going to be,” said Gidget Belinoski-Bailey, an educational diagnostician and member of the long-term planning committee, during the meeting. “So I think for the growth that everybody can see and for us to be prepared for all of those families moving in, we have to be prepared for those kids and to provide them what they need on a daily basis for school.”

Proposition A, totaling $143.05 million, includes funds for the construction of a seventh elementary school and third middle school; upgrading the Willis High School baseball and softball fields with synthetic turf; new elementary school playground equipment; a fine arts addition to Lynn Lucas Middle School; and future land purchases, according to district information.

Proposition B totals $62.57 million and includes a new football stadium that will increase seating capacity from 3,500 to 7,500. A community room in the sports facility will also be available to the public for rent, according to district information. The current football stadium must be inspected every year, which could lead to more than a year without a football stadium if it does not pass inspection, Belinoski-Bailey said.



Proposition C includes an aquatic center with 300 elevated seats totaling $19.39 million, according to district information. Currently, swim and dive athletes drive to a facility in The Woodlands to practice, district officials said.

The proposed bond propositions will result in a tax increase of $0.05 per $100 valuation; the tax rate totals $1.172 currently. There is a 30-year max term for the bond and any significant economic slowdown should be offset by the use of conservative property value growth assumptions, according to the presentation.

“It’s just about impacting education for the kids,” Belinoski-Bailey said during the meeting. “We have to be ahead of the growth because if they’re coming we got to have a place to put them.”

By Maegan Kirby

Reporter, xxConroe/Montgomery

Maegan joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in January 2022 after graduating with a degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. Maegan covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in Conroe and Montgomery. Prior to CI, Maegan was a life and arts reporter for The Daily Texan at The University of Texas at Austin and an associate producer on the Darkness podcast.