UPDATED: School issues defeated; district's board retained

Updated at 8:03 p.m.: Patrons of the Houston School District defeated ballot measures Tuesday that would have constructed a new high school and made other improvements on campus.

A $5 million bond issue was defeated 912-739. A four-sevenths majority was required for passage.

A $2.5 million lease purchase measure lost 1,000-649, according to unofficial tallies tonight from the county clerk’s office.

Incumbents Kathy Hutcheson and Steve Pounds also were retained to their school board positions at Houston. The count: Pounds, 721; Darren Ice, 613; John Impey, 419; Kathy Hutcheson, 700; and Lynn Check, 570.

The turnout was heavier than balloting a year ago when about 1,100 made it to the polls.

Earlier: Texas County voters travel to polls Tuesday in a predicted light turnout to decide school, city and township races.

The only county-wide matter is a race for the board of trustees for Texas County Memorial Hospital.

By Monday, only 245 absentee ballots had been requested. The county clerk’s office is open 8 a.m. until noon Saturday for absentee balloting.

Patrons of the Houston board of education will decide two matters to make improvements on the district’s campus. One is a $5 million bond issue that would allow for construction of a new high school at the site of the former fine arts building. No increase in taxes would occur; the current levy would pay the debt service. The other issue is a $2.5 million lease purchase agreement to complete the financing for the new high school and improvements to the existing library and high school. It calls for a 43-cent per $100 assessed valuation. That translates into a monthly increase of a $5 for the owner of a $80,000 home.

Dr. Dan Vandiver, superintendent, says the issues allow the district to take care of its facility needs at a time when construction prices and interest rates have declined because of a weakened economy in some regions. Several problem areas are addressed: A major lack of resources related to library space, computer and science labs dedicated to instruction needed to properly train students and a cafeteria which would eliminate space constraints that require students to eat in shifts, disrupting classroom time. Other leaders in the community have pointed to the project as a way to continue Houston’s success in attracting jobs and recruiting healthcare professionals. Several civic organizations also have endorsed the plan.

Raymondville School patrons will decide an issue that won’t raise taxes and allow the district to capture additional funding dollars.

Here are the contested races on the school and city ballots:

*City of Cabool, Ward I alderman, is between Ed Jarrett and Janet M. Roberts.

*Summersville – The mayor’s race finds Hugh “Bud” Anderson on the ballot with Michael L. Jackson. Five people are seeking two positions for Summersville alderman: Gwen E. Anderson, Kenneth R. Miller, Ernest Wheeler, Richard Nelson and Jeremy R. Russell.

*Appointee Mark Hampton of Summersville faces Edward Williamson of Houston for a five-year seat on the TCMH board.

*Incumbents Steve Pounds and Kathy Hutcheson are challenged by Darren Ice, John Impey and Lynn Cheek for three-year terms on the Houston board of education.

*Names appeared for two positions on the Plato School District board are: Kevin L. Christensen, Mike Friend, John Sponsel, Pete Scurlock, Penny Morrison and Tina Routh. A two-year term is sought by Kimberly A. Murry Hodges and Lee Atterberry.

*Five people are seeking two slots on the Cabool board of education: Edwin Rogers, Vera Rose, Sam Berry, Shaun E. Watson and Darrell Christeson.

Township issues on the ballot:

*Sargent Township residents will decide an issue to temporarily raise the road and bridge tax levy.

*In Roubidoux Township, Robert L. Hall and Caroline Blanchard are seeking the treasurer-trustee post; voters will pick two township board members among James Niebruegge, Elmer “Buck” Crews and Joe Smith.

*At Pierce Township, three are seeking two township board members: Troy Bradford, Marvin Honeyfield and Wes Ellison.

*In Lynch Township, three residents are seeking two township board posts: Sam Elliott, Kenny Campbell and Don Kern.

*Clinton Township voters will elect a treasurer-trustee among Marlene Maners and Porter H. Cruse. Three are seeking two slots on the township board: Brian Thomas, William J. Plomteaux and Robert M. Forbes.

*Three are seeking two board member jobs in Cass Township. They are: Jack L. Watson, Justin Arbogast and Tom Story.

Sample ballots appear in The Messenger.

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