By CHERIL VERNON
PALESTINE — Monday and Tuesday will be the last days to early vote for the Saturday, May 10 general election for city and schools.
The City of Palestine has two contested races, while Oakwood Independent School District has one contested race and Slocum Independent School District is holding a bond election to consider building a new high school and competition gymnasium. Other area school districts canceled their elections due to no contested races.
The City of Palestine's contested races are for District 1 and District 4.
Candidates Ricky Minton and Adam Harding will face off in District 1 on the ballot for a two-year term from May 2014 to May 2016.
A special election will be held in conjunction with the general election for an unexpired term in District 4, held by the late James H. Yelverton, who passed away Feb. 17. That term will expire in May 2015, with whoever is elected to that seat having to run again at that time. Three candidates are vying for the District 4 spot, including Joseph Thompson, Kenneth Davidson and Harvey Joe Baxter.
Early voting by personal appearance will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday with extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, located at 504 N. Queen St. in Palestine.
A sample ballot is available on the city website, www.cityofpalestinetx.com. For more information on city elections, contact City Secretary Teresa Herrera at 903-731-8414.
The regular city election voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 10 at Freedom Fellowship Church, 125 Kickapoo St. for District 1, and at Westwood Junior High School, 1801 Panther Dr. for District 4.
Oakwood Independent School District is the lone school district in the Palestine area to hold a trustee election on May 10.
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 continue from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday 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.
Slocum ISD's request for approval of $3.3 million bond will be used to finance a new $6 million school building, which will include 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, and more.
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 continue from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. 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.