MISSION — Sharyland ISD’s proposed $35 million bond package failed by just six votes Saturday, while the district saw an incumbent successfully defend his seat and one newcomer join the board after being elected to an undefended seat.
Returns show that 952 people voted for the bond and 958 voted against. It failed by a .32% margin.
The bond project was intended to pay for construction, renovations and additions at Sharyland High School and John H. Shary Elementary to address infrastructure and the safety and security of students.
It was not expected to result in a tax increase and followed a failed bond election last cycle.
“My job was to get it in front of the community, and I knew that it failed before and I knew it might fail again, and at the end of the day the voters decide and we will move forward,” Board President Keith Padilla said Saturday.
The bond, Padilla said, would have funded improvements that are a necessity for the district.
“They’re important because these facilities are outdated,” he said. “They’re the oldest ones in the district, we’ve outgrown them. You know, some people say we’re losing numbers and this is not right, but we’re losing numbers I think because in some areas we don’t have the facilities like some of the private schools have, and I think that was important to get them up to speed.”
Padilla said he does not expect the district to try for another bond election next cycle.
“The strategy’s going to be we’ve just got to strap up the boots and get back to work and try to find ways to patch these improvements together and continue educating kids,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world, but I knew the opportunity was right to give it a shot again.”
PLACE 4 RACE
Incumbent trustee Jose “Pepe” Garcia defended his Place 4 seat by a healthy margin Saturday, winning by 1,052 votes to opponent Charlotte Hocott’s 844.
“It feels great,” Gracia said. “I’m so humbled and grateful for the support. The Sharyland ISD community has once again trusted that I will continue to be their voice for the children and teachers for everyone here at Sharyland ISD.”
A current middle school principal, Garcia said his professional experience resonated with voters.
“I think experience matters,” he said. “They like the fact that I’m an educator and bring 25 years of experience and they trust that. We’re going through some unprecedented times where they don’t know what uncertainty is going to bring in the future, so they need somebody who is going to be their voice to ensure that we take care of the students.”
Although she came up short, Hocott said the 844 people who voted for her shows the community is interested in new leadership.
“I think it speaks volumes that people are ready for a change,” she said. “Even though I did not win, I will still be very involved in the community and with the district.”
Newcomer Maritza Ramirez-Esqueda, who ran unopposed for Place 3, received 1,474 votes.
Ramirez-Esqueda did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
PROGRESO ISD BOND
Elsewhere in Hidalgo County, Progreso ISD’s $10 million bond passed with 239 votes in favor and 104 against.
“We’re very excited and very happy,” Superintendent Sergio Coronado said. “I think the school district deserves better infrastructure and $10 million will let us do that.”
Among the renovations the bond will pay for, the most pressing is to either repair its air condition systems or purchase new units, Coronado said.
“They’re very needed,” he said. “Two of our chiller systems at the high school are not working, and it is a concern for us.”