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$850 Million Northside ISD Bond Passes & Other Results In Special Election

Northside ISD built a new fine arts building at Holmes High School with the proceeds from its last bond in 2014.
Provided | Northside ISD
Northside ISD built a new fine arts building at Holmes High School with the proceeds from its last bond in 2014.

Updated 10:53 a.m. with runoff election results for Alamo Colleges.

Northside Independent School District’s almost $850 million bond has passed, with the approval of almost 70 percent of voters.

Other results included, Southwest ISD incumbent trustees Florida Bernal, James Sullivan, Jr. and Keith Byrom were re-elected, each earning more than double the votes of their challengers.

Mayoral elections

  • Phillip A. Howard is the new mayor of Grey Forest. Incumbent Ron Reinhard was not on the ballot. 

Incumbents re-elected

  • Suzanne de Leon in Balcones Heights
  • Garry Manitzas in Fair Oaks Ranch
  • Chris Riley in Leon Valley
  • Lydia Padilla Hernandez in Somerset
  • John Williams for Universal City

Four mayoral candidates — Mike Gonzales in Elmendorf, Chris Murphy in Hollywood Park, Ronnie Hornberger in Olmos Park and Anne Mortimer Ballantyne in Terrell Hills — had no opposition and so were declared elected.
Alamo Colleges

Alamo Colleges Board President Yvonne Katz and incumbent trustee Gene Sprague have won re-election. Joe Jesse Sanchez, who was recently appointed trustee of District 9 to fill a vacancy, is only 72 votes ahead of Felix M. Grieder. With just over 50 percent of the vote, the race may be too close to call.

Seven votes were the difference Saturday in securing another term for Alamo Colleges trustee Roberto Zárate (637 votes) Saturday after a run-off election against James Hernandez (630). Voter turnout was 1.2 percent for the District 5 runoff to represent San Antonio's west side.

Hernandez received 44 percent of the vote in a three-way race in May, the most of any candidate. A runoff was triggered because no one won a majority of the vote.

Incumbents Yvonne Katz, Gene Sprague and Joe Jesse Sanchez also won re-election in May.

Original Post

The election includes two significant education issues: the election of four of the nine Alamo Colleges District trustees, and an almost $850 million bond for Northside Independent School District.

Northside ISD

About two-thirds of Northside’s bond would be used for renovations and repairs. The still-growing district plans to use the rest to build four new schools.

Northside Superintendent Brian Woods said he knows almost $850 million sounds like a lot, but it needs to be put in context.

“We’re the fourth largest school district in the state; we’re the 25th largest school district in the United States. We have 119 schools. We continue to grow, and as I’ve said before, a good number of those schools are 20 years old or older,” Woods said.

The district estimates that the bond could raise property taxes by as much as $265 for the average Northside home at the peak of the bond in 2025.

However, Woods said that’s a “worst case scenario.”

Woods said tax rates haven’t gone up for seven years despite $1.2 billion in construction. He said the district has been able to avoid raising rates because property values have gone up and new homes and businesses in the district have provided additional taxes.

Northside’s last bond election in 2014 passed with 65 percent of the votes.

Major projects proposed by the 2018 bond include:

  • 4 new schools (1 high school, 1 middle school and two elementary schools)
  • Field turf replacements (10 schools)
  • New public service magnet school at Marshall HS
  • Fine arts upgrade at Jay HS, Rayburn MS and Elrod Elementary
  • Secure lobbies for elementary schools
  • Roofing
  • Technology
  • 85 school buses

Alamo Colleges Trustees

The trustees for Alamo Colleges’ districts 5, 6, 7 and 9 are up for election May 5, with contested races for each district.

  • District 5: Incumbent Roberto Zárate faces James Hernandez and Ramiro Nava
  • District 6: Incumbent Gene Sprague faces Jacob Andrew Wong
  • District 7: Board President Yvonne Katz faces David W. Fischer
  • District 9: Appointed interim trustee Joe Jesse Sanchez faces Felix M. Grieder

Other Trustee Elections

Southwest ISD and Medina Valley ISD are both holding trustee elections May 5.

Five candidates are vying for three at-large seats in Southwest ISD: incumbents Keith Byrom, Florinda Bernal, and James Sullivan Jr. compete against Pete A. Bernal and Gloria Rankin.

According to the San Antonio Express News, Pete Bernal and Florinda Bernal are not related.

Two trustee seats are up for election in Medina Valley. Board President Bruce Haby and Susan Cary are vying for one seat; Board Vice President Beth Zinsmeyer and Keith Guinther are competing for the other.

Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille

Camille Phillips can be reached at camille@tpr.org, on Instagram at camille.m.phillips and on Twitter at @cmpcamille. TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.