May 1 last chance to have voices heard

By Joshua Baethge
For the Van Alstyne Leader
Van Alstyne ISD officials are pushing for a bond proposal is intended to help the district keep up with explosive growth. The number of VAISD students is projected to expand from 1,589 in the 2016-17 school year to 4,293 by the 2030-31 school year.

Van Alstyne area voters have one more chance to cast their votes in several local contests. Since the early voting period has ended, their only opportunity now will be on election day May 1. 

Grayson County voters by cast their ballot as any voting center in the county.  Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Van Alstyne’s lone polling site will again be in Room #SB113 at the Grayson College South campus located at 1455 Van Alstyne Parkway.  There will also be a polling at the Howe Community Center at 700 West Haning Street.

Four Van Alstyne ISD school board trustees are up for re-election.  However, only Place 2 board member Beau Williams is facing a challenge.  Anthony Albertini is hoping to unseat him.  Place 5 Trustee Dennis Smith, Place 6 Trustee Steve Roddy and Place 7 Trustee David Kerr are all running unopposed.

The city of Van Alstyne is also asking voters to reauthorize the current local sales and use tax rate of one-fourth of one percent.  Funds from this tax provide revenue used to maintain and repair city streets.  It would expire in four years unless reapproved by voters.

Residents in Howe ISD will also get to choose up to three candidates to serve on the school board.  The five candidates on the ballot are incumbents Josh Vincent and Janie Finney along with challengers Charles Haley, Crystal Lawson and Brad Murphy.

One of the most talked about issues facing voters in this election is the Van Alstyne ISD $325 million bond that would fund a new high school and a variety of other projects.  A political action committee was formed by community members who say they wanted to come together and go above and beyond promoting “vote for” cause. They thought it would be helpful to show a perspective independent of the school district pushing for the initiative.

Van Alstyne residents Jenna Hughes is one of those local volunteers working to make sure the bond passes.  She says that the school district is probably the most important reason why people choose to live in the city.

“As much as we want to keep Van Alstyne the little bitty town that it currently is, unfortunately growth is inevitable and it’s already here,” she says. “I thought if I had a good voice maybe some people in the community would at least feel comfortable asking more questions.”

To help in that effort, the group stationed volunteers at the poll to answer questions early voters may have had. They have also taken to social media to promote the cause and had pro-bond yard signs made.

“I think Van Alstyne has done an excellent job with the growth that they’ve had of still making the schools have the small town feel that they had before,” she says. “My hope would be that even as the growth comes they’ve find a way to continue to incorporate the values and things that they’ve stood for.”