The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

March 20, 2014

Oakwood ISD trustee, Slocum ISD bond elections set May 10

By CHERIL VERNON
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

Oakwood Independent School District is the lone school district in the Palestine area to hold a trustee election on May 10, with all other school board elections being canceled due to uncontested races.

Meanwhile, Slocum Independent School District will be holding a bond election to consider building a new high school and competition gymnasium on the same date.

Three candidates are running for two three-year term school board positions at Oakwood ISD including new candidate Corbin Pettiette and incumbents Nathan Smith and Mack Botard. The two candidates with the most votes will win the seats in this run-at-large election.

Three candidates also are running for two unexpired one-year seats at OISD, including Michael Thomason, Terry Johnson and Jaci Duck. The two candidates with the most votes will win the seats in this run-at-large election as well. Both Thomason and Duck are currently serving as school board members after being appointed to fill unexpired terms.

Early voting will be held in Oakwood from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, April 28 through Tuesday, May 6 (Mondays through Fridays) in the Oakwood ISD administration building board room. On election day (Saturday, May 10) voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

If the Slocum ISD bond election is approved by voters, the bonds will be used to finance a new school building, which will include the following features: seven standard classrooms, one computer lab, one science lab, one culinary arts lab, one physical education/gymnasium, one secured entrance, one administrative suite, one dining area with food storage, one teacher workroom and furniture, fixtures, equipment, security and technology for a complete facility.

The total cost of the Long Range Facility Improvement Plan is $6 million. SISD has budgeted and saved for an “equity down payment” for the facility in the amount of $2.7 million, and therefore the net amount of potential bond financing is $3.3 million, according to SISD.

If approved by voters, the tax rate increase required to finance the projects will be 14.8 cents, using conservative estimates. The average Slocum ISD homeowner can expect to pay $7.17 more in taxes per month or $86.04 a year. There will be no tax increase above the frozen level on the homestead of taxpayers 65 years of age and older who have applied for and received the age 65 freeze.

Early voting for the bond issue will be held April 28 to May 6 at the Slocum ISD Board Room on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Election Day voting will be held May 10 at the Slocum ISD Board Room from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Additional information will be available on the Slocum ISD website at www.slocumisd.org. Any interested citizen with questions may contact the Slocum ISD Administration at 903-478-3624.

Palestine Independent School District's Board of Trustees election will be officially canceled at the Monday, March 24 school board meeting. School board members Stanley Sokolowski (Place 6) and Michael Bennett (Place 7) were up for re-election, but were unopposed.

Westwood Independent School District's Board of Trustees election also has been canceled. Incumbents Dr. Don Rice (District 2) and Craig Nivens (District 6) ran unopposed. District 5 board member Joni Barone did not run for re-election. Running in her spot unopposed is Ronnie Stanhope, who will take the new board member position in May.

Four school board positions in Elkhart Independent School District's also went uncontested, leading to the district canceling the election.

Krispin Rucker will be the new Place 4 board member, running unopposed in the spot currently held by Stevi Mays. Incumbent Joe Estes will continue to fill the seat in Place 5 after running unopposed. Kevin Bush will be the new Place 6 school board member, running unopposed to fill the seat of appointed school board member Donnie Fincher.

Charles McShan will return to his spot in Place 7, a position he has held in the past, after running unopposed. That seat is currently being held by appointee Phillip Davis.

Grapeland Independent School District canceled its school board election on Monday. Incumbent Mitchell Huff ran unopposed for Position 1, while James J. Martin will fill Position 2 as a new school board member after running unopposed. Martin will fill the expiring term of current school board member Paul Oliver.

Neches and Cayuga Independent School Districts will hold school elections in November. Frankston ISD will not hold a school election until May 2015.