Wylie is one of the fastest growing school districts in the state, a fact that can be both a blessing and a curse.
The state classifies 75 of the state’s 1,032 school district’s as Fast Growth Districts, and Wylie is 17th on the list.
And Wylie’s growth doesn’t appear to be stopping or even slowing any time soon.
“We are continuing to see a great deal of new housing in our district,” Light told the school board at a recent planning session. He said estimates have the district surpassing $5,000 students by the year 2022.
The blessing of that is that tax values are up, and state funds are based on enrollment numbers, two facts that really help the district during its budget cycle.
“There’s mixed blessings,” Light said. “You are always chasing the building infrastructure. We have tried to do it more with local savings. We tried to stave off the bond as long as possible.”
Wylie added classrooms to the Intermediate and Elementary campuses, built a new Middle School and built a new Early Childhood Center without a bond election by saving money from its operating fund each year and planning ahead. But the needs kept coming faster than the district could save, and the board decided to call a bond election in 2015 to build new classrooms at the High School and to build a Performing Arts Center.
Light said the biggest crowding is at the Middle School where student enrollment is already at capacity. The property that the Middle School is built on is landlocked, which meant the building had to be a little smaller than idea.
“As we went through the process, we had a lot of discussion about where to locate that campus,” Light said. “We felt like there were benefits to having that campus next to the Junior High.”
Another issue the district faces is that 45 percent of the district’s students live east of U.S. Highway 83/84 and with most of the new construction happening in that area, a campus in that area makes sense. It would also ease traffic problems.
“That’s the thing that we need to work at addressing is some of those issues that relate to those students over there,” Light said. “How do we alleviate our biggest issues?”
Several years ago, the district bought property on Colony Hill Road between Maple Street and Oldham Lane anticipating that it might one day need to build a new facility in that area.
That day came a little quicker than anticipated.
“The clock is ticking,” Light said. “We need to look at doing something.” Do you have thoughts on a 2nd Junior High?