Ruben Cantu

Ruben Cantu

Val Verde voters decided to pass the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District bond, which means the district will be building a new elementary school on the city’s north side in the near future.

The bond will allow school officials to procure $19 million in funds for the acquisition of the land, and developing and construction of the building, which will be located near the “Y” on U.S. Highway 90 West.

The bond approval is great news for the school district, which is in dire need of funds to improve facilities not only at the elementary level, but in all campuses across the board.

Board members have said the new elementary on top of helping with overcrowded classrooms, will alleviate busy intersections and traffic jams on the north side, including but not limited to West Cantu Road, Kings Way and Wildcat Drive.

The new facility is intended to alleviate overcrowding problems at Buena Vista Elementary, Dr. Lonnie Green Elementary, and possibly North Heights Elementary to a lesser degree. Growth in these facilities is not an option, since they are landlocked.

The approval of the bond, which according to unofficial results passed with a margin of 16 percentage points – 58 percent “for” to 42 percent “against” – does not mean the school district’s financial problems are over.

The school board will be issuing the bonds next year, and the construction of the new elementary is estimated to take approximately 18 months, so by the time the new elementary school is up an running – if everything goes as planned – some of the district’s aging facilities elsewhere will be adding a couple more candles to their birthday cake (read Irene C. Cardwell Elementary and others).

The school district needs to celebrate its victory, but it also needs to start working in solutions to address the problems those voters – 42 percent – considered priorities higher than the construction of a new elementary school.

Yes, there is a lot of construction and remodeling going on in different school campuses, but keep in mind that those same facilities continue to age, and in some cases the problems they are dealing with are or should be a top priority.

The school district was the big winner of this election, but along with being entrusted by the voters with the $19 million in funding, comes a great responsibility, the responsibility of finding adequate solutions for our children’s needs.

The biggest losers

The biggest losers in this election were 89 percent of the registered voters in Val Verde County, who allowed others to decide for them. True, historically the voter turnout in an election with no candidates – this one was a constitutional amendment and school bond only – is pretty low, but it is still a shame that only 11 percent of the almost 28,000 registered voters in the county make their voices be heard.

Kudos to the 2,927 voters who cast their vote in the school bond election.

Election takeaways

In the constitutional amendment election Val Verde voters mirrored the feeling of statewide voters, and rejected only one of the proposed amendments. Proposition 1, which would have allowed certain municipal judges to work in more than one municipality at the same time, did not pass.

In this election, and despite statewide efforts to inform Texans about each one of the proposed amendments, many felt the propositions were poorly presented, and more information was needed in order to cast an educated vote.

The propositions also need to be presented in plain English, so every voter understands at a glance what they are voting for.

Yes, the space on the ballot is limited and the font size needs to be legible, but there are alternative means to keep voters informed if you really want to, such as newspapers and other electronic media.

Veterans Day is coming

Next Sunday we will be honoring our present and past veterans with a special Veterans Day page. The News-Herald is still accepting pictures of community members who have served in the armed forces. Submit a picture no later than today including their name, rank, branch of service and years of service by dropping it off at our offices or email it to classifieds@delrionewsherald.com

Rubén Cantú has been a journalist since 1995. He is the managing editor of the Del Rio News-Herald.

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