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Education

Northside ISD bond passes; Challengers gain two seats on North East ISD board

Emblem of North East ISD
File Photo | Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio
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Bexar County school districts held several trustee and bond elections Saturday. Here is a rundown of their results.

Trustee Elections

The current North East Independent School District board narrowly maintained its majority Saturday after three incumbents were challenged by a slate of candidates. The slate was backed by a political action committee called Parents United for Freedom and the San Antonio Family Association, socially conservative groups that oppose mask mandates, support bans on curriculum labeled critical race theory, and want abstinence-only sex education.

The challenger for district 3, Diane Sciba Villareal, won her election with 58% of the vote. District 3 is in the footprint of Legacy of Educational Excellence High School. District 7 challenger Marsha Landry won her race by 35 votes. District 7 is in the footprint of Madison High School. District 2 incumbent Terri Williams won 41% of the vote to retain her seat. District 2 is in the footprint of Roosevelt High School.

Under NEISD board policy, a candidate does not need to win the majority of the votes to win the election. Whoever wins the most votes becomes the trustee.

If Williams had lost her seat, the challengers would have gained control of North East’s board, joining current trustee Steve Hilliard.

Hilliard and his wife filed a grievance against the district for their sex education curriculum, claiming it goes against state law because it doesn’t emphasize abstinence enough. When NEISD briefly implemented a mask mandate last fall, public commenters warned the board they’d vote them out. This slate of challengers seems to be in part a response to that controversy.

The incumbents in trustee elections for Alamo Heights and Southwest ISD retained their seats. In Medina Valley, incumbent Jennilea Campbell retained her seat representing District 4 and Matthew Castiglione won the open race to represent District 3. In Comal ISD, Amanda Jones won the open seat for District 6 and David Krawczynski won the open seat for District 7.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Education News Desk, including H-E-B Helping Here, Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation and Holly and Alston Beinhorn.

Bond Elections

During the last election cycle in November, several Bexar County school districts struggled to get voter approval for their bonds. But this May, both school districts based primarily in Bexar County successfully passed their bonds.

Northside Independent School District’s largest bond proposition yet passed on Saturday, with 57% voting in favor of the $992 million proposal. Unlike previous bonds, which focused on building new schools, the majority of the 2022 bond will be used to renovate existing schools. District officials say they don’t anticipate a tax increase even though they were legally required to say there would be a tax increase in the ballot language. They say the increase in property values will offset the need to increase the tax rate.

Harlandale ISD’s $125 million bond package also passed, with 56% of voters voting to fund new and renovated buildings and 51% supporting stadium improvements and a proposal to pay off old debts.

Boerne ISD voters approved a $165 million bond package. The $162 million proposition will build another elementary school and expand most secondary campuses to accommodate growth. The proposal also includes an aquatic learning center and updated network infrastructure. A separate $3 million proposition focuses on the purchase of staff and student devices, and an update of devices at all campuses.

Medina Valley ISD’s Bexar County voters narrowly approved one bond proposal and rejected another. But when combined with Medina County’s results, both bonds failed. Medina Valley was requesting $383 million for a new high school, middle school and elementary school and $14 million for a new football stadium.

This story has been updated to clarify the reason the Hilliards oppose NEISD’s sex education curriculum.

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