Northside Independent School District voters on Saturday overwhelmingly approved an almost $1 billion bond package that will allow Bexar County’s largest school district to renovate existing schools and build a new elementary school.

Out of 34,265 ballots cast, 57.4% of voters approved the $992 million bond issue.

Bexar County voters decided other school board elections and bond measures Saturday. Harlandale ISD voters approved the district’s $125 million bond. In a closely watched school board election, two of the three candidates backed by a local political action committee that wants to advance parental rights unseated incumbents on the North East ISD board of trustees.

The NISD bond will fund a new $45 million elementary school, $645.5 million in renovations to existing school facilities and $207.3 million in infrastructure upgrades. The district of about 105,000 students wants to make significant upgrades to schools that are at least 40 years old.

The bond package will not raise the school district’s tax rate, which is currently $1.26 per $100 property valuation.

NISD board President Karen Freeman thanked voters for approving the bond Saturday, as she and other supporters gathered at the Timberhill Event Center to watch vote results come in.

“Our community made a decision as they went to the polls this time, and that was to invest in our schools and to invest in education,” she said. “Their support not only serves the students that we have in school today but those for generations to come.”

NISD Superintendent Brian Woods thanked Freeman and the other board members for their support in working to get the bond package passed.

“Mrs. Freeman said it well: We have long had a goal that zip code not be the determinant of the quality of the school,” he said. “And this bond helps us go a long way toward achieving that goal, and were it not for all of you that would not have been accomplished.”

The $992 million bond issue will fund classroom, gym and cafeteria refurbishments for several elementary schools and upgrades to magnet programs at some secondary campuses. It also will pay for a new $23.7 million baseball and softball complex that will be built adjacent to Sonia Sotomayor High School, which opens in the fall.

The $207.3 million in infrastructure projects range from new chillers and boilers to replacing parts of schools’ air-conditioning and ventilation systems. Another $18.1 million will fund security upgrades, such as new surveillance cameras and video servers, while $14 million will go toward technology updates across the district. The bond also would allow NISD to purchase $15 million worth of new buses and multi-use vehicles.

Harlandale ISD

Voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition A of the $125 million bond package. The proposition will dedicate $93.5 million to general facilities, including $20 million for a new CTE building and $26 million for a new gym/multipurpose facility that would also be used for fine arts performances, competitions and graduation ceremonies.

Proposition A also sets aside $30.4 million that a bond committee of community members would determine how to use if the bond passes. The committee would meet to gather feedback and select projects based on HISD’s needs assessment.

Harlandale voters narrowly approved Proposition B and C, with just 53 more voters casting ballots in favor of each measure.

Proposition B will dedicate $22 million to refinancing the district’s current maintenance tax obligations in an effort to save money. Proposition C will devote $9.5 million to complete the second phase of renovations at Memorial stadium, adding dressing areas, a press box and a maintenance and office facility.

The bond measures will increase HISD tax rates to $1.47 per $100 property valuation, up from the current rate of $1.40. The new tax rate will raise taxes for the average homeowner in the district by about $60 a year. The average home in HISD is valued at $87,844.

The tax rate will go up again in 2025 but begin decreasing in 2033, when the district pays off old debt.

School board elections

In NEISD’s District 3, Diane Sciba Villarreal, Parents United for Freedom PAC’s candidate in that race, secured the seat with 57.8% of the vote, unseating incumbent Omar Leos. Leos was first appointed to the board in 2019.

Parents United for Freedom PAC’s choice in District 7, Marsha Landry, narrowly beat incumbent Sandy Winkley with 41.6% of the vote. Winkley was first elected to the board in 2018. Trustees serve four-year terms on the board.

District 2 incumbent Terri Williams held onto her seat with 40.6% of the vote. Jacqueline Klein, who was backed by the PAC, received 37.5% of the vote, and candidate Rhonda Rowland got 21.9%.

The Parents United for Freedom PAC spent more than $12,400 to back the three candidates for the NEISD board, according to the PAC’s April 28 campaign finance report.

Here are the results in other education board elections:

Alamo Heights ISD Place 2

  • Brian C. Hamilton (incumbent) – 58.7%
  • Jane Lindell Hughes – 35.74%
  • Elise Kibler – 5.55%

Southwest ISD, two at-large seats

  • Ida Perez Sudolcan (incumbent) – 31.32%
  • Raul Leonidas Nuques – 6.67%
  • Stefanie Salinas – 28.1%
  • Sylvester Vasquez Jr. (incumbent) – 33.91%

Alamo Colleges District 2

  • Gloria Ray – 74.58%
  • Jakub Kosiba – 25.42%

This story has been updated to correct information regarding property tax rates in Northside and Harlandale ISDs.

Brooke Crum covered education for the San Antonio Report.