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2 NISD bonds pass; still no new schools

Although Nederland ISD will not be building new schools with their 2012 bond election, voters passed two bond propositions for school renovations, re-elected Everett Sanderson, Jesse Branick and invited a new member, Reed Richard, to the NISD school board.

Approximately 2,700 ballots were cast for the NISD election, in a race that decided, by close margins, to move forward with $28.5 million in bond propositions.

During their 2009 NISD bond election, which included a single $120 million bond for four new schools and massive renovations to Nederland High School and the Bulldog Stadium, 4,105 vote ballots were cast.

The 2009 bond failed by a 79 percent vote.

For Sanderson, who had worried all four propositions might fail, the announcement of the approval of Propositions 1 and 2 was relief as was the announcement of a new three year term.

“We had a great turnout and to win with that good of a turnout means a lot,” Sanderson told the News Saturday evening after the votes were counted. “I was so fired up getting all of these bonds. Now we got to regroup and get started again.”

Branick received 1675 votes, Sanderson received 1569 votes, Richard received 1462 votes, Bruce Powell received 1067 and Gavin Bruney received 747 votes.

Proposition 1 received 1877 votes for and 925 votes against; Proposition 2 received 1811 votes for, and 965 against; Proposition 3 received 1162 votes for, and 1575 against; Proposition 4 received 1212 votes for, and 1581 against.

After the votes were counted Saturday, the newly elected board members stood outside Central Middle School, where election day votes were cast, spoke informally about their new terms and the future of NISD.

“I’m glad to see that we’re moving forward with the first and second propositions,” said Branick. “We do believe it will free up some funds for other maintenance items that we could really use.”

Branick and Sanderson both said they were very disappointed that Propositions 3 and 4 failed.

“I guess that is just the will of the public,” said Branick. “We do need to reconsider replacing some of the schools.”

The approved renovations in Propositions 1 and 2 include new energy efficient lighting, windows and security, and new heating ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC systems in all schools.

The school board members stressed the continued need for new schools in the district, because of the many failing systems in the schools that were not included in the school bond projects.

“School buildings are not like homes where you can just replace appliances as they go out,” said Branick. “You have other issues that come in to play.”

Branick referenced the iron pipes underneath some of the buildings and old electrical systems that need to be updated.

“Something is going to have to be done, something more than just a temporary up-date to an out-of date building,” said Tracy Williams, chairman of the Committee of One for All Four, which campaigned for building new schools.

Williams also said that he felt like the campaign was not completely in vain because they had won over many new voters.

“Even though we failed it was a closer vote than for the last bond,” said Williams, referring to the 2009 NISD bond election.

Propositions 3 and 4, for new schools, failed by just 400 votes each.

Gavin Bruney, who did not get reelected, said he was not disappointed because he felt his work with the Capital Improvement Committee on Propositions 1 and 2 would now be realized.

During Bruney’s campaign he was opposed to Propositions 3 and 4.

“I am really happy that Propositions 1 and 2 have passed,” said Bruney. “I am glad that the voters of Nederland have spoken. I congratulate Mr. Richard on his new position as board member.”

bjanes@panews.com

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