Voters in Wylie Independent School District are being asked to approve over $200 million in campus expansions to make room for the North Texas district’s growing student population.

Wylie’s school board placed a $193.7 million debt proposition on the May ballot that would fund additions and renovations to over a dozen district campuses. Officials say the proposal will allow the district to maintain current feeder patterns and accommodate new student enrollment over the next five years.

No new campuses or land purchases are included in the package. The district’s bond facts presentation states the proposed additions would save taxpayers $91 million compared to the cost of building new facilities.

The projects’ combined cost of $212.5 million exceeds the district’s bonding capacity; an additional $18.8 million would be paid out of the fund balance.

Wylie ISD already owes $629 million in debt principal and interest, according to the district’s 2018-2019 budget book. All of the district’s debt and interest must be repaid with property taxes.

Officials say the new debt would not increase the district’s school property tax rate, currently $1.64 per $100 of assessed taxable value. But residents’ tax bills will continue to rise as property values climb. Since 2014, the average Wylie ISD homeowner’s school property tax bill increased 50 percent, from $2,832 to $4,246.

In November 2014, Wylie ISD passed a $94.2 million debt package with nearly 37 percent of eligible voters participating. While the stakes are higher, turnout is expected to be much lower in this odd-year May election.

Early voting is underway now through April 30. Election Day is May 4.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.