School board incumbents, bond packages in tight races

Posted Sunday, May. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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School board trustees throughout Tarrant County trailed in their re-election bids late Saturday — including Fort Worth Trustees Carlos Vasquez and Juan A. Rangel — and multimillion-dollar bond elections to improve everything from security to technology appeared to be failing, according to unofficial votes.

The race for Fort Worth’s school District 1 is headed to a June 15 runoff, with challenger Jacinto A. Ramos Jr. in the lead with 46.44 percent, followed by incumbent Vasquez, who drew 30.69 percent, with all precincts reported.

The race for Fort Worth’s District 9 is also going to a runoff.

In that race, Rangel ended up drawing 46 percent of the vote to event planner Ashley Paz’s 49.83 percent, with all the votes reported.

“I’m still standing,” Rangel said late Saturday. “I look forward to addressing some of the untruths that have been said. We’re going to win this.”

Paz couldn’t be reached for comment late Saturday.

At the same time, bond elections in districts ranging from Birdville to Weatherford in Parker County were trailing in early returns.

Here’s a look at some of the local school races on Saturday’s ballot, according to incomplete, unofficial results.

Arlington

Trustee John Hibbs led in the race for Place 4, with 57.91 percent of the vote to challenger Alisa Simmons’ 42.09 percent.

In Place 5, Trustee Jamie Sullins led with 68.17 percent of the vote to challenger Britine Perkins Burton’s 31.83 percent.

Azle

Incumbent Erik Loeffelholz led in Tarrant County with 53.57 percent of the vote, as Thomas Kisner drew 13.19 percent, Clifton McDonnell garnered 8.24 percent, Bernadette Roquemore accrued 14.84 percent and Warren Smith earned 10.16 percent.

Azle’s school district has residents in Tarrant, Parker and Wise counties. Complete election results were not available late Saturday.

Birdville

A $183.2 million bond proposal that would consolidate four elementary schools and shift those students to other campuses was failing, with 55.63 percent of the vote against, with five of 14 precincts reported.

The bond program is geared to improve security and safety at all campuses, while updating technology and facilities district-wide, in addition to consolidating four campuses into two.

Opponents have said the price tag for those improvements is too high. Some said they weren’t given a fair voice in the process.

At the same time, school Trustee Ralph Kunkel was leading in his re-election bid, with 57.98 percent of the vote. Challenger Jeffrey Ritter, a vocal opponent of the bond package, drew 42.02 percent with five of 14 precincts repored.

Carroll

Matt Kormann jumped out to a lead with 59.58 percent of the vote to Sam Torolopoulos’ 40.42 percent, according to early votes.

In Place 7, Chris Archer led early on with 59.66 percent of the vote to James M. Palazzo’s 40.34 percent, according to early votes.

Castleberry

Cathy Gatica led in Place 6 with 57.33 percent of the vote to Jerry R. Hix’s 42.67 percent, with three of five precincts reporting.

Crowley

Challenger Sybil Lane took a lead in Place 6, with 64.04 percent over Trustee Prosanti Chowdhury, who drew 35.96 percent of the early vote, with seven of 18 precincts reporting.

In Place 7, Trustee Sherri L. Whiting drew 54.49 percent of the race to challenger Sidney H. Poynter’s 45.51 percent, with seven of 18 precincts reporting.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw

Challenger Peggy Dietz took a slim lead in Place 3, claiming 46.34 percent of the early vote to Trustee Rob Franklin’s 44.57 percent and fellow challenger Tamela Crawford’s 9.09 percent, with four of 13 precincts reporting.

Everman

A $40 million bond program for school buildings appeared to be easily passing with 72.78 percent of the vote in favor, with one of seven precincts reported.

Fort Worth

Ramos, a juvenile probation officer, jumped out to a quick lead with early votes, followed by Vasquez. Camille Rodriguez — whom Vasquez defeated in 2008 to begin serving on the school board — trailed in third, with 22.87 percent

Neither Ramos nor Vasquez could be reached by the Star-Telegram late Saturday.

In District 9, a third candidate, homemaker Melody Palacios, claimed 4.18 percent of the vote.

Hurst-Euless-Bedford

Julie Cole led in the three-way battle for Place 1 trustee, claiming 52.99 percent of the vote to Alicia W. Probasco’s 30.79 percent and Fred Campos Jr.’s 16.22 percent, with two of 10 precincts reporting.

In the Place 3 race, Matt Romero jumped out to an early lead with 50.51 percent of the vote, compared with challenger Allan Solmon’s 43.32 percent and Jason Sinisi’s 6.17 percent.

Keller

Trustee Kevin Stevenson was trailing in his re-election bid for Place 2, with 46.57 percent of the vote to challenger Karina Davis’ 53.43 percent, with four of 17 precincts reporting.

In Place 3, Trustee Cindy M. Lotton led with 57.17 percent of the vote to Jack Davidson’s 42.83 percent, with four of 17 precincts reporting.

Kennedale

In Place 4, Trustees Janet Adams easily led with 63.24 percent of the vote to challenger Elisha Woodson’s 36.76 percent.

In Place 5, Stewart Richardson held 60.21 percent to Maria Douglas’ 39.03 percent. Trustee Mike Walker did not seek re-election.

In the race for the unexpired term in Place 7, John Hunt was leading with 60.83 percent of the vote to Stephanie Vigil’s 39.79. Trustee Eddie Patterson did not seek re-election.

Mansfield

Karen Marcucci led in the race to replace Sandra Vatthauer as Place 5 trustee, with 64.55 percent of the vote in Tarrant County to Dora Watson’s 35.45 percent.

Northwest

In the race for Place 3 trustee, in Tarrant County, Anne Davis-Simpson took a lead with 56.83 percent of the vote to Kyle Morris’ 33.09 percent and Edward R. Mergenthal Jr.’s 10.07 percent. Incumbent Judy Copp did not seek re-election.

Weatherford

A proposal to spend $107.32 million for safety and security, capital and technology improvements and more failed with voters, with 3,873 voters casting votes against it.

These bonds would have paid for perimeter fencing, more cameras, exterior lighting — even baseball and softball facilities, a ninth-grade wing at the high school and a gymnasium for the ninth grade.

“The voice of the voter was heard and we all respect that,” Weatherford Superintendent Jeffrey Hanks said. “The outcome of the election does not change the fact that all of the issues the District brought forward to our community are still a reality that we will continue to manage to the best of our ability.”

This was the district’s first bond proposal since 1999 and it drew strong opposition. Opponents, including those involved with the Citizens Against WISD Bond organization, noted this was a general bond election, not a specific bond election, which meant funds could be used for any project.

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley

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