Cantu, Martinez elected to board

Ofelia Garcia Hunter and Melissa Ash, The Premont Journal

Several people voiced their opinions and asked questions during the May 9 town hall meeting regarding the bond election, and their concerns apparently carried over to the polls as the measure was defeated Saturday.

Voters in Premont ISD elected incumbent Mark Anthony Cantu and newcomer Naida Quintanilla Martinez Saturday to the school board and voted against the $9.8 million school bond.

According to complete and unofficial results, the top two seats were occupied by Cantu, who received 660 votes, or 30 percent of the vote, and Martinez captured 611 votes, or 27 percent of the 2,230 votes cast.

Candidate Matthew A. Perez received 576, or 26 percent of the vote, and candidate Benny Clegg ended up with 383 votes, or 17 percent.

Cantu will serve in his fifth three-year term since 1990 and said his constituents re-elected him because he listens to the taxpayers.

"I can say that I do listen to my constituents and I also say my point at the school board meetings," he said. "I try to keep everyone at the same (level) and treat everyone the same."

Cantu said the community was vocal about the bond.

"Like the community, I wanted to know what we were going to do with the bond money and have it itemized," Cantu said of the failed school bond. "The community spoke very loudly on that."

Last week's town hall meeting gave a chance for the community to ask the Premont Independent School board members questions they had regarding the bond election.

Although many different concerns were expressed, much of the focus was on the timing of the town meeting.

"I don't have a problem with the tax increase," Michelle McCleery said during the meeting. "The money is not an issue. It's the way this is being handled. Part of the early voting has ended so why are we just now having a town meeting on this issue?"

Concerns about what the money will be spent on and what will happen if the district does not receive state funding was also discussed.

There were also several people present who expressed their support for the bond election and discussed the importance of building a new elementary school because of the mildew that is growing in the classrooms.

The $9.8 million school bond was defeated with voters casting 569 votes against the bond and 370 voting for the bond.

The bond failed by 199 votes with 61 percent of the votes against it.