Forsan Independent School District voters overwhelmingly supported a $23.8 million bond election to construct a new elementary school building and make renovations at the high school and junior high campus, approving the measure by more than 81 percent.
The bond received 81.49 percent (273 ballots) from voters supporting it, while only 18.51 percent (62 ballots) against it. Early voting totals — which were released by the Howard County Elections Administrators Office just after polls closed at 7 p.m. — reflected a similar end, with 83.33 percent (220 ballots) in favor of the expenditure and only 16.67 percent (44 ballots) against it.
Forsan ISD Superintendent Randy Johnson said he's very appreciative to the Forsan community and voters for their support in a much-needed project.
“During the (election) process, we have to be really careful what we say,” Johnson said. “We can only talk about the facts of the bond and we really don't get the chance to sell the bond itself (to the voters). We have to hope the facts surrounding the bond do that for us. We're very excited. We feel like this is definitely in the best interests of the school district and community. We have a very supportive community. We had a similar bond election back in 2004 and we had similar numbers then. Forsan has a long tradition — not just in bond elections, but in all of our school's activities — of community support and it makes a huge difference in what we can do in the school business and what we can do with the kids. We're very appreciative of that.”
While Forsan ISD officials can breath a sigh of relief with Saturday's decision from the voters, Johnson said there is still plenty of work ahead of the school district's staff and administration.
“We have a lot of planning ahead of us,” he said. “We have about six months to go back into design plans and try to make sure (they are what we need). We had to do tentative plans, basic plans to get a dollar amount for the project. So things are very fluid at this point, so in the next six months there will be a lot of design planning and a lot of community input to get.
“We're looking for as much input from the community as we can get, especially from our teachers as far as the exact designs and how they want the new building built or the renovations to the existing buildings done. So, there will be a lot of time spent meeting and working with the architects in the months to come.”
And, if Johnson has his way about it, there will be plenty of new faces around the FISD campuses in the near future, as the district continues efforts to hire much needed teaching and administrative positions before next school year begins.
“If there are teachers out there teachers looking for a good place to work — including instructional aides and bus drivers — this is where you want to work,” Johnson said. “We are fortunate enough to have a community that supports what's going on at the school. That's the kind of school district you want to work for and we're always looking for those good people.”
In the race for two at-large seats up for grabs in the Forsan Independent School District, incumbents were able to sway voters their way, as Chris Evans was the top vote-getter with 40.94 percent (226 ballots) and Tom Bill Kuykendall sealing his victory with 36.78 percent (203 ballots) in his favor.
Challenger Joann Sayles came in a distant third place with 14.31 percent (79 ballots) of the vote, while Todd Still finished the night with just 7.97 percent (44 ballots) in the race.
Incumbents also came out ahead in the Coahoma Independent School District race for two at-large seats, as Craig Ferguson finished the night with 43.09 percent (53 ballots) of the vote and fellow returning board member Michael Brooks taking the exact same, 43.09 percent (53 ballots).
The lone challenger in the race, Rory Gammons, garnered just 13.82 percent (17 ballots) in the contest.
Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org