Wylie ISD addressing fast growth in south Abilene


ABILENE, Texas - The Wylie Independent School District is the second-biggest district in our area but it's also one of the fastest growing districts in the state.

Wylie's five-year growth rate - the district grew from 3,333 students in the 2010-2011 school year to 4,080 in 2015 - is 22 percent, making it the 17 th fastest growing district out of more than 1,200 in the state.

But for administrators in Wylie ISD, it's presenting a big challenge: where do you put them all?

"We think in five years we could have an additional thousand students in the district," said Wylie ISD Superintendent Joey Light, reciting predictions from demographers.

Subdivisions have been popping up in the Kirby Lake area and other sections of Wylie. One subdivision south of Colony Hill Road near Maple Street is expected to get 800 new homes. That's also where Wylie ISD plans on building a new elementary school.

"The growth that we have seen is just the tip of the iceberg on what could be coming. We've seen a lot of housing developments on the drawing board," Light said.

With every one of those developments, hundreds of new residents join the Wylie district.

But for now, Wylie is in good financial shape to handle the growth. Light said that principal and interest on homes in the Wylie area are the lowest of the forty fastest-growing school districts.

Half of the new elementary school's $9 million price tag will be paid for with the district's savings. The remaining $4 million will come from a certificate of obligation, not a bond to be voted on by residents.

The new school is just phase one, though, as soon the district will have to decide where else to build. Current projections have a junior high being built for west Wylie near the new elementary by Kirby Lake.

That will effectively also split the district, with residents in the east side going to the current elementary school while the west side goes to the new school. According to district maps, the population density is a little bit heavier in the west side.

The district hasn't decided where the new boundary lines will go, but Highway 84 may be the most likely dividing line as it goes right down the middle of the most populated areas.

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