The comings and goings of Southeast Bexar County don't get much coverage being that they are south of Loop 410. It's important to stay aware
Troubles at Southside ISD
The great young minds of the Southside ISD were cheated out of what could have taken them to great heights. The greed and power by those who chose personal gain rather than giving back to their own community have forever changed the lives of those students and in turn the community.
The saviors were going to be Kenneth Bouldin, Julian Gonzales, Johnny Cantu, Jr. and Manuel Sandoval and Daniel Espinoza. Although Sandoval was a mystery because he usually voted with the board majority and then decided to run with the new guys. Their motto was basically a vote for the pack of 5 would see the school thrive. Meaning they would take over the majority.
However, Mr. Brewer was not about to relinquish control and became a disruptive member. Julian Gonzales was unable to keep control of the meetings and not much was accomplished. Some of newly appointed members let Mr. Brewer have his way and so nothing really changed until Mr. Bouldin filed a restraining order against Loren Brewer et AL. and then a complaint with TEA.
Once TEA became involved it was clear that since late 2013, Southside ISD's school board was no longer qualified to continue making the financial decisions of the district and a monitor was appointed as well as a board of managers to oversee the districts finances and education policies.
The board of managers have not been replaced with an actual board and some in the community have complained that the monitor appointing herself to the board and letting the Superintendent go unchecked has left Southside ISD in no better condition that it was.
One example was that of a bond election for $60 plus million dollars to keep expanding athletics, once those provisions were removed, the bond passed and new structures have been built, but shortly after the bond election, Superintendent Mark Eads requested another bond for $17 million for athletics. The Southside ISD community voted it down. The main complaint is that the district is spending millions of dollars to add structures and beautify the campus' and they want the money to go towards education.
Candidates for Position 1
This position is a three way race.
1. Kenneth Bouldin, age 64, was a member of the board when the board was removed and the Monitor and Board of Managers took over. Mr. Bouldin is a longstanding member of the community who is a veteran, and has given to the community for years through his church as well as his work with the local volunteer fire department. Mr. Bouldin is also the board member that filed a restraining order against the board president, Loren Brewer and the board to try to stop the problems they were having and when it didn't work, he filed a complaint with TEA. Mr. Bouldin was removed from the board when TEA appointed a monitor and board of managers.
2. Maggie Morales is a 26 year old cashier at Bill Miller's BBQ restaurant. A former intern at Southside ISD who also ran for a position on the Southside ISD School Board in 2017 and was defeated, but pulled in 30% of the vote and had dropped out of the race after the ballot placing deadline. Allowing her name to stay on the ballot and see how many votes she could have pulled. Ms. Morales gave the reason for dropping out of the race because she wanted to apply for the Board of Managers position. Ms. Morales did not serve on the Board of Managers.
According to Ms. Morales, she earned a Masters Degree in nonprofit from Our Lady of the Lake, which qualifies the candidate to work in nonprofit organizations, fundraising and social work. Records also show that Ms. Morales studied for a B.A. in Government and Politics at the University of Incarnate Word and is prepared to enter the world of politics. Leaving members of the community wondering if this is just a stepping stone for something more.
Ms. Morales and Mrs. Farias, another candidate were said to be loosely affiliated.
3. Jan Ruzza, age 71, has been a resident of the Southside ISD community for several decades, is a rancher and a former member of the Southside ISD board. When Superintendent Mark Eads pushed for an additional bond of $17 million dollars after a previous bond for $60 million dollars; Jan Ruzza became a vocal fighter against an additional bond that basically covered the monies for athletics that was removed from the original bond. She made it her job to see that the public was aware. The bond was defeated in election.
Position 2 Candidates
1. Julian Gonzales, age 77, was the Southside ISD school board president when it was taken over by the state. He was a part of the five elected to save the district, but was unable to gain control of the board due to Mr. Brewer's disruptive behavior, it was nearly impossible to stay on agenda. And while a member of the community said he showed poor leadership, under the administration and board that was in control, they did not have proper training and it showed during the meetings that he did not know the simplest rules of Roberts rules of Order. Mr. Gonzales is the pastor of a baptist church in New Braunfels.
2. Mary Silva, age 66, Retired from Southside ISD after 38 years of service as a secretary, attendance clerk and aided where she was needed. Ms. Silva has been vocal about the issues at the school district being that she has a very strong history within the district and the community. They are now on their 4th generation of Silva's attending Southside ISD. Ms. Silva is passionate about the education that the children should be getting as well as the finances of the district going towards education and not to frivolous spending.
Ms. Silva mentioned that she felt Mr. Eads was getting paid too much, which is the sentiment felt by others in the district as well as other candidates. Loren Brewer and his "team" as they called themselves, felt that former Superintendent Dr. Juan Antonio Jasso's salary exceeded what the district should pay. His contract was for $176,277. Upon Mr. Brewer's control of the board, Dr. Jasso was suspended and then let go to be replaced by an non-certified Interim Superintendent, Ricardo Vela at a salary of $215,280 per year. When forced to remove him, they hired Joe E. Gonzales who had shady dealings at the school and were forced to let him go, giving him a single years salary. Then hired Superintendent Mark Eads at a yearly salary of $235,000. Increasing the Superintendents pay by $58,000 plus which is extremely more than a cost of living pay increase for the time frame from when Dr. Juan Antonio Jasso was suspended in 2014 until present day. Brewer and the "team" set precedence on salaries for the school district and Ms. Silver like many members of the community feel that his salary exceeds what he should be receiving.
3. Gerardo "Jerry" Sotto, age 46, administrator at Harlandale ISD whose spouse works at Southside ISD and moved into the district after their marriage withdrew from this position and is no longer on the ballot.
Position 6 Candidates
This is a three way race.
1. Johnny Cantu, Jr., age 40, is employed at Southwest Research Institute. Mr. Cantu was the board secretary and the time the state took control and released the board members; appointed a Board of Managers along with a Monitor. Mr. Cantu supports Superintendent Mark Eads, but is interested in school finances being spent where they are needed most. He would also like to see consistency on the board.
2. Brenda Nagelhout-Olivarez, age 52, is employed at Edgewood ISD as an information management specialist, which can be described as a consultant to promote and market effective information. As a board member she would like money spent on infrastructure to be redirected towards education.
Ms. Nagelhout-Olivarez stated in a news article that she had a deferred adjudication on $2 check that her ex-husband wrote and her name was on the check and she had no idea about it. She also stated that she paid it and took care of it quickly once she found out.
Case #819654 on 9/1/2001 for Theft of $20-$500 was adjudicated on 1/4/2010. During which a defense attorney was appointed, there were failures to appear in court and bond increases, warrants issued and jail releases until May of 2009, then on June 15, 2009, deferred adjudication was granted and after 6 months, the case was closed. Nowhere in these court records was there mention of an ex-husband or a $2 check.
3. Lisa Salazar, age 52, served on the Southside ISD board for 7 years. Ms. Salazar has a Bachelors Degree from Texas A&M San Antonio. She is currently employed at Somerset ISD as the Interim Food Service and Custodial Supervisor . Prior to her employment at Somerset ISD, Ms. Salazar's background was in accounting, which made her a strong board member when making decisions pertaining to budgets, taxes and overall finances of the district. She took over 340 hours of training, attended legislative session to see what areas they could improve on in the district. Ms. Salazar voted for equal pay raises for all district employees as well as expanding the Career and Technologies program. The ACES (Academic Center for Education Success) was a credit recovery program implemented during Ms. Salazar's terms in office.
Position 7 Candidates
1. Katie Farias, age 39, is assistant to State Rep. Roland Gutierrez. Ms. Farias supported the $17 million dollar bond for athletics, which was defeated in election, but has now changed her mind after talking to members of the community. Ms. Farias is the daughter-in-law of State Rep. Joe Farias, who served for 5 sessions before retiring. She is also the wife of Gabe Farias who ran for State Rep of House District 118, the seat vacated by his father, but he was unsuccessful. Gabe Farias also sat on the Board of Managers at Southside ISD until November of 2018.
Ms. Farias comes from a very political background and although she and Ms. Morales claim to not be running together, Joe Farias held a BBQ plate sale fundraiser for both of them on April 13. Ms. Farias and Ms. Morales signs can be seen side by side throughout the southside community.
2. Robert Kindla, age 62, a rancher and former Southside ISD School Board member would like to see education as it was. Teaching the children, providing the resources needed for a proper education, not landscaping and structures and spending the districts money frivolously. Mr. Kindla could not believe what he was hearing about the district and began attending board meetings to get a first hand view of things and was shocked at what had become of the school district and it's board. His decision to run came to be because of the need to get the district back on track.
What went wrong
It's easy to sum up. Team running is and has been the issue at Southside ISD. When board members run as a pack, they do so for power, to vote together regardless of the consequences.
Norberto "Robert" Chavez and Loren Brewer showed the district how far and how corrupt the district could get, but they didn't do it alone. They had support from a big political donor. And when things went down hill, they blamed it on the new group, not the person, but group. Yet, it was Loren Brewer who was implicated by the TEA investigation. He overstepped the bounds of a board member. The result, was that the state took over the district.
Southside Community members will need to dig deep inside and decide if they are going to vote for the betterment of the students, their education and their future or for the political power.
A candidate must run alone and on their own merit, to vote their conscience and what is best for the students. When a candidate can do this, then the district has already won and ready to move ahead.
If not, it will be more of the same.
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