This story has been updated.

Change is afoot for four local school districts and the state’s school board, according to final results from Tuesday’s election.

While voters rejected Judson and East Central independent school districts’ bonds last year, the districts’ 2022 efforts passed Tuesday evening after both focused on student safety and security in the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde.

Judson ISD Superintendent Jeanette Ball, who served as superintendent of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District from 2013 to 2018, told the San Antonio Report on Tuesday she is extremely thankful to the district’s school board for pursuing a bond this year after last year’s effort failed.

“It’s scary to go after a bond, especially after having one that fails,” Ball said. “I want to thank the board members for allowing us to do this, and most importantly, I want to thank the community and the parents that I serve. This is just the beginning of our work.”

Ball added that the political action committee formed by Judson parents this year to support the 2022 bond “made a huge difference,” and also credited the large voter turnout in their area to what happened in Uvalde in May.

“We’re living in a time where we can’t take anything for granted,” she said. “We can’t assume that that will never happen here, and we have to make sure that we’re doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our students.”

Last month, Ball also told the San Antonio Report that inflation influenced the district’s reconfigured bond; a middle school Judson had projected would cost $70 million to build last year would cost roughly $120 million today, she noted. 

Judson’s 2022 bond package includes a $0.01 tax rate increase. It also includes two propositions: one for safety and security projects, and one that addressed urgent growth and immediate needs for new school facilities.

Proposition A, which passed with 59.62% of the vote, dedicates $172 million toward upgrading and implementing gates around campuses, adding security cameras and improving alarm systems, access control and automatic lockdown capability.

Proposition B passed with 58.05% of the vote. It allocates $173 million for a new elementary school, a new middle school and a transportation facility.

Last year, the district proposed a $302.5 million bond issue that would not have raised the district’s tax rate, however it failed. The ballot language followed state law by stating, “This is a property tax increase,” which Ball said may have confused voters.

East Central ISD bond

East Central ISD’s bond package passed Tuesday with 61.76% of the vote.

The $240 million bond package allocates $104 million for two new elementary schools, one on the north side of the district and another on the south side, and another $96 million for a new middle school.

It also funds renovations at Highland Forest and Oak Crest elementary schools and Heritage and Legacy middle schools. 

Also on the package’s project list are a new warehouse and police headquarters, a new transportation facility, a new career and technical education multipurpose facility and money for land acquisition for future campuses.

With the package’s approval, residents in East Central ISD will see the tax rate increase by $0.06 per $100 property valuation. The district serves 10,000 students.

South San Antonio ISD board election

In South San Antonio ISD, three new trustees were on their way to securing seats in districts 1, 5 and 6 on Tuesday evening. 

In District 1, Manuel López received 59.51% of the vote to defeat Greg Flores, the brother of District 3 Trustee Homer Flores. The seat had been occupied by Gina Villagomez, who missed several regular board meetings and did not seek reelection. 

In District 5, Abel “Chillidogg” Martinez Jr. beat Gina Rovello with 64.77% of the vote. Rovello was appointed to fill the seat left vacant when longtime Trustee Connie Prado retired from the board last summer.

With 56.73% of the vote, District 6 Trustee Cyndi Ramirez defeated Gilbert F. Rodriguez, whom she replaced after he resigned from the board in July.

Somerset ISD board election

In Somerset ISD, two incumbents were upset while another trustee won reelection.

In Place 3, incumbent Elizabeth Hansen beat challenger Omar Pachecano with 55.61% of the vote.

Don Green, the Place 7 incumbent and school board president, lost by 12 votes to Johnny Salazar who had 53.33% of the vote.

Place 1 incumbent Sandra Rosales lost her seat — by 17 votes — to challenger Michael Lujan, who had 52.70% of the vote.

State Board of Education

Two State Board of Education seats that represent San Antonio were claimed by Democrats on Tuesday.

In District 1, which spans all of West Texas and includes El Paso, Laredo, and the northwest sector of San Antonio, lifelong El Paso resident Melissa Ortega, a Democrat, beat Helotes resident Michael Travis Stevens with 55.72% of the vote.

Ortega is a faculty member and dissertation coordinator at the American College of Education and an instructor at the University of Texas at El Paso in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department.

In District 3, which spans the Rio Grande Valley and includes the rest of San Antonio, Incumbent Marisa Perez-Diaz secured a fourth term on the State Board of Education by defeating Gonzalez insurance agent Ken Morrow with 54.84% of the vote.

Perez-Diaz, a Democrat, holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report. A native San Antonian, she graduated from Texas A&M University in 2016 with a degree in telecommunication media...