Willis ISD trustees voted unanimously on January 10 to call for a $218.1 million school bond election. 

The bond is broken down into four propositions as recommended by the district’s 81-person steering committee, which has been meeting since August.  

Proposition A totaling $102.7 million is to expand the high school, upgrade the parking lot, and build a new transportation center. 

Proposition B totaling $68.8 million is for a new athletic complex and stadium with 8,500 seats. 

Proposition C totaling $19.6 million is for the district’s new aquatic center, which will have a competition swimming pool, separate diving area, and an outside seating area. 

Proposition D totals $27 million for building a 120,000 square foot student activity center. 

Willis ISD last brought a bond proposal to voters only two years ago.

The three-proposition bond in 2022 totaled $225 million and was billed as the largest in the district’s history. Voters ultimately only approved of Proposition A for $143 million.

However, even approving only Prop A left voters on the hook for an estimated $242,679,540 in “combined principal and interest required to pay on time and in full the debt obligations” the district had incurred.

This new proposal is the district coming back for a second bite at the apple, as many of the projects voters rejected the first time are rolled into the upcoming bond election. 

It was reported in October 2023 that the district had just begun moving forward on the 2022 bond projects, yet less than three months later, they are prepared to ask voters to approve even more debt.  

According to the district, the bond carries the potential of a 7.9-cent tax rate increase, but the additional costs of interest on the bonds have not yet been announced.

Early voting will run from April 22-April 30 and Election Day will be May 4. 

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.