Two votes have tipped the scale in a $149 million bond for San Angelo Independent School District.

Unofficial voting results from the May 5 election showed the bond passing by a narrow three-vote margin—a margin officials said was too close to call.

It appears they were right.

After considering provisional ballots, official results released by Tom Green County’s elections office on May 14 showed 3,051 ballots cast against the bond and 3,049 cast in favor.

The bond proposal consisted of a full sweep of facility upgrades and additions, with most of the funds being pledged for safety and security enhancements, ADA upgrades, and facility expansions. The remainder would have been used for student programs such as new baseball and softball facilities, a multi-purpose gymnasium, a new middle school track, and an alternative learning center.

Opponents of the bond often cited increased property taxes as a major concern, considering taxpayers were still shouldering debt from SAISD’s $117 million bond passed in 2008.

If the most recent proposal had passed, the annual property tax bill for a $154,000 home in Tom Green County would have increased by $184.

As expressed in a Facebook group titled “Stop Taxing Us; Stop SAISD Bond,” community members also appeared to be concerned with the district prioritizing facilities over academic performance and teacher pay.

In a statement regarding the bond results, Superintendent Dr. Carl Dethloff wrote:

“Fortunately, we have the privilege of participating in local decisions through an election process, and I’m pleased to see community members participating in that right and privilege. The one key takeaway for all of our community, regardless of your position on the bond proposal, is that your vote truly counts.  We honor the voice of our community and the election results illustrate that there is still work and additional facility planning needed by the school district.  Local elections matter, and locally is where our voices are heard and our vote makes a tremendous impact.”  

Lauren Melear

Lauren Melear leads the West Texas Bureau of Texas Scorecard. When not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, as well as cooking, working out, traveling to the hill country, and cheering on the fightin' Texas Aggies.