Two Bexar County school districts that saw bond propositions fail last year are asking voters to approve revamped bonds, while two other districts have board seats at stake in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
Last year, voters rejected Judson and East Central independent school districts’ bond packages that would have addressed growing student populations by funding new buildings and improvements to technology and existing campuses.
This year, however, Judson ISD has pivoted to focus its $345.3 million bond on school security.
Judson ISD Superintendent Jeanette Ball, a former superintendent of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, told the San Antonio Report that the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, along with inflation, influenced the reconfigured bond. It includes a $0.01 tax rate increase.
“Things have significantly skyrocketed in price,” Ball said. “The middle school that we had projected to build starting last year was $70 million. It’s at $120 million right now. That’s the reason for the tax increase.”
This year’s bond has two propositions, one for safety and security projects and one that addresses urgent growth and immediate needs for new school facilities, Ball said.
Proposition A dedicates $172 million to upgrading and implementing gates around campuses, adding security cameras and improving alarm systems, access control and automatic lockdown capability, among other items.
“When seconds and minutes count so much… the capability of being able to remotely lock down the campus if needed is extremely important,” Ball said.
Proposition B would allocate $173 million to build a new elementary school, a new middle school and a transportation facility. The need for new school construction also relates to security, Ball said.
“We’ve had such a growth on the North Side … we’ve had to place portables on lots of our campuses, and when you do portables, it’s not as safe as having everyone under one roof that you could easily lock up,” said Ball, whose district serves more than 26,000 students.
Last year, the district proposed a $302.5 million bond issue that would not have raised the district’s tax rate. But 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
The East Central ISD bond, which voters also nixed last year, is a $240 million package that would allocate $104 million for two new elementary schools, one on the north side of the district and another on the south side, plus $96 million for a new middle school.
The bond also would fund renovations at Highland Forest, Oak Crest elementary schools and Heritage and Legacy middle Schools.
Also on the 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.
If approved, residents in East Central ISD would see its tax rate increase by $0.06 per $100 property valuation. The district serves 10,000 students.
South San Antonio ISD board election
Voters in South San Antonio ISD will select three new board of trustee members, in districts 1, 5 and 6.
In District 1, Gina Villagomez, who has missed several regular board meetings, did not seek reelection. Greg Flores, the brother of District 3 Trustee Homer Flores is running against Manuel López to fill her seat.
In District 5, Gina Rovello, who was appointed to fill the seat left vacant when longtime Trustee Connie Prado retired from the board this summer, faces Abel Martinez Jr.
Somerset ISD board election
In Somerset ISD, three incumbent trustees are seeking to retain their seats in Places 1, 3 and 7. Each place is a four-year term.
Place 1 incumbent Sandra Rosales is running for re-election against Michael Lujan, Place 3 incumbent Elizabeth Hansen faces challenger Omar Pachecano and Don Green, incumbent for Place 7, is running for re-election against Johnny Salazar.