Willis ISD formed a Long-Range Planning Committee in August to study the future needs of the growing district, district officials said.

The overview

Interim Superintendent Tom Crowe said the committee's purpose is to study the future needs and wants of the district and make a recommendation of what's needed to the board of trustees. The committee has already conducted two meetings this year and is beginning to narrow down certain facility projects the district would prioritize in the upcoming years, including:
  • A new transportation center
  • An aquatic center
  • A district activity center
  • A new high school or an addition to the current high school
  • A day care facility for employees
During a Sept. 20 meeting, the WISD board of trustees approved the purchase of a 60.984-acre land tract near the southeast corner of FM 830 and I-45. It is slated for a potential activity and aquatic center, district officials said.

Funds for the land came from WISD's bond referendum approved by voters in November 2022.

The background

WISD voters passed a $143 million bond in November 2022. Proposition A, which passed by 56.27%, funded building a new elementary school, building a middle school, a fine arts addition at Lynn Lucas Middle School, upgrades to the baseball and softball fields, playground equipment, and future land purchases.

However, the original bond package asked for $225 million worth of district needs.
  • Proposition B included a new football stadium for $62.56 million, which failed by 77 votes.
  • Proposition C included building a natatorium next to the stadium for $19.39 million, which failed by 12 votes.
“Willis is growing, and getting people to understand the needs when they move in here, it's not unusual for [propositions] to fail like that,” Crowe said. “One of the things I've emphasized with [the Long-Range Planning Committee] is that it doesn't matter what happened back there; it's about where do we go from here.”

Next steps

Crowe said the committee will meet five more times before bringing a final suggestion to the board in January. Should the committee recommend the board of trustees call a bond election to address future needs, the last day to file for a place on the May ballot is Feb. 17.