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San Antonio area school boards shaken up by May 2023 elections; most school bonds sail through

A black and white sign reads "Vote here/ Vote aqui" outside a polling place in San Antonio in May 2023.
Camille Phillips

Bexar County school board races had multiple upsets in Saturday’s election.

The incumbents in Judson, Southwest, and Medina Valley lost their seats.

Two of the three incumbents in Harlandale were re-elected, but the third lost her seat by just 14 votes.

Northside and San Antonio ISD held on to all of their current trustees, but newcomers elected to open seats could shake things up.

One of the candidates backed by Northside’s teacher union, Karla Duran, beat Ty Chumbley, the son of outgoing trustee M’Lissa Chumbley.

Northside’s other open seat was also won by the candidate backed by the union, David Salcido. Salcido defeated Amy Hoffman, whoattended the January 6protest in D.C. but says she left before it turned into a riot.

The SAISD candidatebacked by the establishment, Norbert “Geremy” Landin, lost to Stephanie Torres, a parent from aneighborhood school that was converted into a choice school in 2020 due to low test scores. Torres will take the seat long held by Patti Radle, representing San Antonio’s West Side. Radle did not run for re-election this year.

Council incumbents Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, Phyllis Viagran, Adriana Rocha Garcia, Teri Castillo, Melissa Cabello Havrda, Manny Peláez, John Courage held on to their seats.

Judson ISD trustees lost some of their community’s trustafter their former superintendent abruptly left in November for reasons that have not been publicly explained. Renee Paschall was narrowly defeated by Laura Stanford, but Rafael Diaz lost to Monica Ryan by a wide margin.

Southwest ISD’s incumbents, Yolanda Garza-Lopez and Pete “Pedro” Bernal, wanted to change the way the district conducts elections becausethey believe it suppresses the vote. That belief put them at odds with Southwest’s board leadership, who campaigned on behalf of newcomers Joe Diaz and James Gonzalez.

Southwest conducts elections differently from every other Bexar County school district, which puts their elections on a separate ballot. It limits polling places and forces some residents to vote twice.

When Harlandale trustees voted to close schools this year at the recommendation of their superintendent, they said they knewthe vote would be unpopular and might cost them re-election. Despite that fear, Elaine Anaya-Ortiz and Ricardo Moreno were able to keep their seats. However, Elizabeth Limon narrowly lost her seat to Rebecca “Becky” Ruiz.

Trustee election results

  • Northside ISD (David Salcido, Gerald Lopez, Karla Duran, Bobby Blount)
  • San Antonio ISD (Alicia Sebastian, Stephanie Torres, Christina Martinez)
  • Judson ISD (Laura Stanford, Monica Ryan)
  • Southwest ISD (James Gonzales, Jose “Joe” Diaz)
  • Harlandale ISD (Elaine Anaya-Ortiz, Rebecca “Becky” Ruiz, Ricardo Moreno)
  • Medina Valley ISD (Jason Bonney, Blane Nash, Nathan Fillinger)
  • Comal ISD (Incumbent Russ Garner re-elected)

Canceled trustee elections due to unopposed candidates


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.

Five San Antonio-area school districts had bonds on the ballot Saturday. All five got approval from voters — with one exception.

Comal ISD’s propositions for construction and technology passed, but voters said no to stadium renovations.

Some Texas school districts have found it harder to pass bonds in recent years. But these districts — Alamo Heights, Comal, Medina Valley, Southwest and La Vernia — are either relatively affluent, experiencing rapid growth, or both.

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Camille Phillips can be reached at camille@tpr.org or on Instagram at camille.m.phillips. 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.