South San Antonio Independent School District Board President Connie Prado filed to run for the Alamo Colleges District 4 board seat, putting her position on the school board in question past the May 2020 election.
Should Prado defeat the three other candidates in the May 2 election, she will have to give up her seat on the South San board, where she has served as a trustee for close to 22 years and as the board’s president since November 2018. Prado said she intends to give up her position as board chair at a meeting Wednesday night to devote more time to campaigning.
Three Alamo Colleges trustee seats will be on the May ballot. District 4 covers the southwest portion of Bexar County. Four candidates filed for election in this race: Prado, Jose “Joe” Gallegos Jr., Lorena “Lorraine” Pulido, and Robert A. Casias. Incumbent Trustee Marcelo Casillas did not file for reelection.
“I have already told my constituency, back when I ran in 2016 [for South San trustee], this would be my last term,” Prado said Tuesday. “At the end of 2020, that will be it. So when this opportunity came open, I thought this would be great. This would be a good time to use my 20 years experience on the school board and to try and maybe build a stronger bridge between the high schools and [Alamo Colleges] District.”
South San’s board is scheduled to meet Wednesday night. Prado said she will step down from her role as board president and ask her fellow board members to elect a new president.
“I’m going to be running for ACCD and being a board president is very time-consuming,” Prado said. “This is the opportunity for me to step down as president and allow the board members to decide who they would like to see as their leader.”
Prado’s close to two decades on the South San ISD board have been mired in controversy, board infighting, and State investigations.
The Texas Education Agency first began investigating South San ISD during Prado’s tenure in 2001, when she wrote to the agency asking for a probe into an alleged Texas Open Meetings Act violation, according to a 2001 Express-News report. Throughout the next two decades, TEA has been a regular presence in South San, investigating allegations of financial mismanagement and board impropriety.
The agency currently has an open investigation into South San regarding similar allegations.
Prado was first elected to South San’s board in 1998. She won the seat her husband, Raul Prado, held until he was elected to City Council. She later won contested elections in 2001, 2004, 2012, and 2016, and in all but one election received more than 60 percent of the vote. In 2008, she drew no challenger.
Less than three years ago, Prado filed to run as an independent against Rep. Philip Cortez for his District 117 seat, representing a large region south and west of San Antonio. Before the general election took place in 2018, Prado dropped her bid, telling the Express-News she wanted to prioritize her responsibilities in South San ISD.
Prado was elected by her fellow trustees to serve as the board’s president in November 2018 when four new trustees were voted into office. Prado, along with three of the new trustees, formed a majority coalition, voting to reopen Athens Elementary, Kazen Middle School, and West Campus High School.
The Prado-led majority often clashed with former Superintendent Alexandro Flores, who opposed the reopening plan. The board voted last September to buy out Flores’ contract and is currently searching for his replacement.
Should Prado win a seat on Alamo Colleges’ board, trustees can fill her vacancy by calling a special election or appointing a replacement, who will serve until the next regular election, scheduled for November.
The longtime South San trustee said her time on the school board has prepared her to address student needs, including counseling, financial aid, orientation, and the admissions process. Having a seat on the Alamo Colleges board gives Prado the opportunity to impact a larger community, she said.
“Now it just won’t be South San, now I have to think of a larger group, it is now Southwest, and Somerset, Harlandale, and Von Ormy,” Prado said. “Now I am looking out for the welfare of more kids than just those in South San.”