— From Staff Reports
By a 7-3 margin, voters in the Weatherford ISD soundly defeated the district's proposed $107.32 million bond proposal, according to final tallies released Saturday evening by the Parker County Elections Office.
Early voting numbers posted just after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Saturday had the proposition being defeated by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin. With 6,064 ballots cast during the county's early voting period, 3,769 early ballots were cast early in the WISD bond election.
The opposition's margin would slightly grow larger during the evening. In the final, but unofficial returns, 5,618 ballots were cast with 3,873 opposed to 1,745 in favor.
The bond asked voters to approve the district borrowing up $107.32 million for a list of capital improvement projects that included a new ninth grade wing at Weatherford High School, a new Careers and Technology center, enhanced security and technology upgrades, and athletics facility additions and improvements.
“The voice of the voter was heard and we all respect that,” WISD Superintendent Dr. 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.”
Voter Jim Tedesco said he cast one of the bond election's no votes, “Not because I hate kids or anything but I really thought the district didn’t do a good enough job of selling the need.”
Marty Fitzsimmons said he also voted against the bond proposal, saying it was “too much money and not enough for the kids.”
One of the bond's supporters, Mary Betters, said she voted in favor because, “My grandkids will be heading into school here next year and I want to make sure they have the best of everything.”
“I was originally going to vote no but I began seeing more publicity and reasons to vote yes,” said another pro-bond supporter Jamie McMurtree.
Meanwhile, all three WISD school board seats up for election this term were contested, and one of the three incumbents, board president Charlie Martinez, lost his Place 5 seat. According to the final, but unofficial votes posted by the county elections office, challenger Joshua Tarbay received 2,387 votes (52 percent) to 2,233 (48 percent) for Martinez, who has served on the board since 2001.
No final vote counts are official until the respective board canvass and certify the results.
“We look forward to working with Dr. Tarbay, as well as our returning incumbents,” Hanks said. “Our current board members have a wealth of experience and will be working closely with Dr. Tarbay in order to help bring him up to speed as quickly as possible.”
In the Place 3 race with three candidates, none received 50 percent of the votes but it appears incumbent Ashley Duncan Conlon retained her seat, collecting 1,974 votes (44 percent) to Philip Newkirk's 1,715 votes (38 percent) and 830 for Randy Hynes (18 percent).
Newkirk said while no one received 50 percent, he was told it was a “plurality vote,” meaning the top vote getter would be the winner.
Place 4 WISD incumbent Gail Wirtanen received just 24 more votes, 2,101-2,077, to apparently keep her seat in a challenge from Jeromy Puckett.
Other school bond results
Peaster ISD's $3 million bond proposal held a slim 52-48 percent margin in early voting, but ended up failing by just seven votes, 113-106.
Brock ISD voters, however, backed that district's $3.495 million bond package request with 637 votes for (56 percent) to 507 against (44 percent).
In the Weatherford College contested race, challenger Don Allen won the Place 2 seat over incumbent Elaine Carter. Allen received 2,997 votes (46 percent), to 2,679 for Carter (41 percent). Dale Fleeger received 844 votes (13 percent).
Area school board races
With three candidates seeking two seats, both Millsap ISD incumbents Jerry Walker and Tommy Lucia won re-election over challenger Tim Kukuk. Walker received 96 votes (48 percent), Lucia received 82 votes (41 percent) and Kukuk tallied 21 votes (11 percent).
In the contested Springtown ISD races, Place 1 incumbent Mike Ray received just 18 more votes, 478-460, than his opponent, Rusty Brawner to apparently keep his seat. In the Place 3 race, challenger Jay Grubis unseated incumbent Vicky Trichel, again by a narrow margin, 488-462. In the Place 7 race, Al Garrett easily took the seat with 618 of the ballots (64 percent) to 253 votes for Damon Liles (26 percent) and 99 votes (10 percent) for Gene Terry.