The Winners: Solis In DISD; FW, Plano School Tax Hikes; Arlington Liquor Sales; Texas Water Fund | KERA News

The Winners: Solis In DISD; FW, Plano School Tax Hikes; Arlington Liquor Sales; Texas Water Fund

Nov 6, 2013

Update, 11:02 p.m.: The votes have been counted and Election 2013 is over. Here are some highlights. (Stay tuned to KERA 90.1 FM – we’ll have election coverage throughout the day Wednesday.)

  • Dallas ISD: Miguel Solis has been elected to the Dallas ISD school board. He won with 66 percent of the vote, defeating opponent Kristi Lara. Solis briefly worked for DISD's embattled Mike Miles as the superintendent's special assistant, but says that won’t make him a Miles “yes man.” Read more about the race from KERA's Bill Zeeble.

  • Fort Worth ISD voters have approved three propositions that will improve facilities and instruction and offer pre-kindergarten to more children across the district. All three propositions received more than 70 percent of the votes. (The $490 million bond package adds 3 cents to property tax rates. One proposition expands pre-kindergarten throughout the district.)
  • Arlington and Lewisville are “wet.” About 70 percent of Arlington voters decided to end the city’s 111-year-old patchwork ban on liquor sales in the city. Restaurants had been able to serve mixed drinks if they have the proper food and beverage certificate, and stores could only sell beer and wine. But now mixed beverages will be allowed to be sold citywide, as will package liquor stores. The Texas Rangers backed the petition drive to put the referendum on the ballot because it would allow expanded wine sales at the stadium. In Lewisville, about 64 percent of voters approved retail liquor sales.
  • Plano ISD voters agreed to approve a 13-cent property tax hike. About 63 percent of voters supported the proposition. The 13-cent tax hike is the maximum allowed by the state. The average Plano homeowner would pay nearly $200 a year more in property taxes. Plano Superintendent Richard Matkin said the current rate hasn’t budged in six years. But after losing millions of state education funds, then dipping into reserves to cover costs the past few years, the district now faces a $20 million deficit.
  • Nine statewide propositions that would alter the Texas constitution passed easily. That includes the water proposition, Prop 6, which got the most attention of any statewide measure. The plan will use $2 billion in reserve funds to help Texas meet future water needs. Other amendments provide a property tax exemption to surviving military spouses; authorize a reverse mortgage loan for purchasing homestead property; and provide for stronger sanctioning of judges who violate court standards.

Update, 10:12 p.m.: Miguel Solis maintains a strong lead in the Dallas ISD District 8 race. Most of the precincts are now in -- with 49 of 59 precincts reporting, Solis has 66 percent of the vote. He has had a wide margin over opponent Kristi Lara throughout the night. Solis briefly worked for DISD's embattled Mike Miles as the superintendent's special assistant, but says that won’t make him a Miles “yes man.” (Earlier this fall, three Dallas school board members voted to oust Miles, while five decided to keep but punish him.) In Dallas ISD, the District 8 school board race could tip the balance for the superintendent. Lara has backing from teachers' groups who are at odds with reforms pushed by Miles.

Update, 10:09 p.m.: Arlington voters aren’t the only ones who approved liquor sales. Lewisville has  passed a measure that would allow retail sales of hard liquor. Currently, only retail sales of beer and wine are allowed in Lewisville, while liquor can only be sold by the drink at licensed restaurants, bars or event venues. With 18 of 20 precincts reporting, about 64 percent of Lewisville voters have voted in favor of allowing retail liquor sales.

Update, 9:50 p.m.: Some news out of the Austin area regarding a special election for a statehouse seat. From The Associated Press: "Democrat Celia Israel and Republican Mike VanDeWalle are headed to a runoff to replace state Rep. Mark Strama in a district including parts of north Austin and eastern Travis County. A Democrat, Strama resigned his Texas House District 50 seat in June to lead Austin's Google Fiber project. Since none of the race's four candidates won a majority Tuesday, the runoff date will be set by Gov. Rick Perry and may come in January. VanDeWalle, the race's only Republican, finished first but didn't capture a majority."

Update, 9:31 p.m.: We have an update in the Dallas ISD District 8 race. With 28 of 59 precincts reporting, Miguel Solis maintains a strong lead over opponent Kristi Lara. He has 68 percent of the vote.

Update, 9:25 p.m.: KERA's Shelley Kofler sends us some reaction to Texas voters approving Proposition 6, the water fund.

Gov. Rick Perry issued this statement: "Today, the people of Texas made history, ensuring we'll have the water we need to grow and thrive for the next five decades, without raising state taxes. Now it's time to get to work on the projects that'll help us meet our growing water needs, preserving and improving both our economic strength and quality of life."

Ken Kramer with the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club issued the following: "Now the real work begins. Texans need to be come actively involved in regional water planning and in local government water supply decisions to make sure that the potential for Prop 6 to advance water conservation and enhance water planning is achieved."

Update, 9:20 p.m.: With 120 of 153 precincts reporting, three Fort Worth ISD propositions continue to win easily. About 73 percent of voters have approved each of the measures, which would improve facilities and instruction and offer pre-kindergarten to more children across the district. (Fort Worth ISD’s $489.9 million in school bonds, which would add 3 cents to property tax rates. One proposition would expand pre-kindergarten throughout the district.)

Update, 9:15 p.m.: The Associated Press has Astrodome election results from Houston: "Memories will likely soon be all that's left of the Houston Astrodome — the world's first multipurpose domed stadium. Voters on Tuesday did not approve a referendum that would have authorized up to $217 million in bonds to turn the stadium that once hosted both professional baseball and football games into a giant convention and event center and exhibition space. Houston-area leaders have said the so-called 'Eighth Wonder of the World' would likely have to be torn down if the ballot measure failed to pass. The referendum had called for creating 350,000 square feet of exhibition space by removing the interior seats and raising the floor to street level. Other changes included creating 400,000 square feet of plaza and green space on the outside of the structure as part of the project, dubbed 'The New Dome Experience.'"

Update, 9:13 p.m.: State Rep. Chris Turner, the Tarrant County Democrat who helped put Proposition 1 on the statewide ballot, released the following statement about Prop 1. It will provide a property tax exemption to spouses of service members who have been killed while serving the country: "Over the last several years, Texas has been a national leader in honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families, not just with our words, but also with our deeds. With the passage of Proposition 1, we are now able to provide this benefit to the very special group of Texans whose spouses have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation."

Update, 9:11 p.m.: It appears that Plano ISD voters have approved a 13-cent property tax hike. About 65 percent of voters are supporting the proposition. In Plano, where the average home costs $259,000, the average homeowner would pay nearly $200 a year more in property taxes. Plano Superintendent Richard Matkin said the current rate hasn’t budged in six years. But after losing millions of state education funds, then dipping into reserves to cover costs the past few years, the district now faces a $20 million deficit.

Update, 8:55 p.m.: With 12 of 59 precincts reporting, Miguel Solis maintains a strong lead in the DISD District 8 school board race. He has 72 percent of the vote, while opponent Kristi Lara has 28 percent. Solis briefly worked for DISD's embattled Mike Miles as the superintendent's special assistant, but says that won’t make him a Miles “yes man.” (Earlier this fall, three Dallas school board members voted to oust Superintendent Miles while five decided to keep but punish him.) In Dallas ISD, the District 8 school board race could tip the balance for the superintendent.

Update, 8:50 p.m.:  With 54 of 77 precincts reporting, Arlington voters appear to be approving liquor sales throughout the city. About 70 percent of voters are in favor so far of ending the city’s 111-year-old patchwork ban on liquor sales in Arlington. Right now, restaurants can serve mixed drinks if they have the proper food and beverage certificate, and stores can only sell beer and wine. But if voters approve the proposition, mixed beverages would be allowed to be sold citywide, as would package liquor stores. The Texas Rangers backed the petition drive to put the referendum on the ballot because it would allow expanded wine sales at the stadium.

Update, 8:47 p.m: With 49 of 153 precincts reporting, Fort Worth ISD voters continue to vote heavily in favor of three school bond propositions that would improve facilities and instruction and offer pre-kindergarten to more children across the district. All three proposals are easily winning so far – about 75 percent of voters are in favor of each. (Fort Worth ISD’s $489.9 million in school bonds, which would add 3 cents to property tax rates. One proposition would expand pre-kindergarten throughout the district.)

Update, 8:42 p.m.: The Associated Press has declared that all nine statewide propositions have been approved. That includes the water proposition, Prop 6, which got the most attention of any statewide measure. The plan would use $2 billion in reserve funds to help Texas meet future water needs.

Update, 8:28 p.m.: The Associated Press has declared that the statewide water proposition, called Prop 6, has been approved. From the AP: "Texas voters have backed a plan that would use $2 billion in reserve funds to help the state meet the future water needs of its booming population and economy. Tuesday's ballot measure was widely expected to pass. It had the backing of environmental groups and most of the state's top elected officials, including Republican Gov. Rick Perry. The measure amends the state constitution to move $2 billion from Texas' rainy day fund to its water infrastructure fund."

More from the AP: "The money would help defray the borrowing costs on large-scale water infrastructure projects, including creating reservoirs, laying new pipelines and replacing older ones. The state estimates it will need $53 billion to implement a plan that would meet its water needs for the next 50 years."

Update, 8:20 p.m.: Statewide, voters continue to show support for all nine Texas constitutional amendments. All are winning, most by very wide margins. The most publicized issue, Prop 6, would take $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help finance water projects.  As of 8:20 p.m., 76 percent of voters are in favor of Prop 6. Other amendments would provide a property tax exemption to surviving military spouses; authorize a reverse mortgage loan for purchasing homestead property; and provide for stronger sanctioning of judges who violate court standards. The closest proposition is Prop 3, which would extend the number of days that aircraft parts are exempt from ad valorem taxes, is leading with 59 percent of the vote.

Update, 7:37 p.m.: So far, all nine state constitutional amendments are winning. The most publicized issue, Prop 6, would take $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help finance water projects.  So far, more than 75 percent of voters are in favor of Prop 6. Other amendments would provide a property tax exemption to surviving military spouses; authorize a reverse mortgage loan for purchasing homestead property; and provide for stronger sanctioning of judges who violate court standards.

Update, 7:28 p.m.: In early voting, Arlington voters are so far voting in favor of the entire city going “wet.” More than 70 percent of early votes are in favor of ending the city’s 111-year-old patchwork ban on liquor sales in the city. Right now, restaurants can serve mixed drinks if they have the proper food and beverage certificate, and stores can only sell beer and wine. But if voters approve the proposition, mixed beverages would be allowed to be sold citywide, as would package liquor stores. The Texas Rangers backed the petition drive to put the referendum on the ballot because it would allow expanded wine sales at the stadium.

Update, 7:24 p.m. In early voting, Plano ISD voters are so far voting in favor of approving a 13-cent property tax hike. About 65 percent of early voters are supporting the proposition. The 13-cent tax hike is the maximum allowed by the state. By reducing another part of the tax, the net increase comes out to 8 cents. The average Plano homeowner - where the average home cost is $259,000 - would pay nearly $200 a year more in property taxes. Plano Superintendent Richard Matkin said the current rate hasn’t budged in six years. But after losing millions of state education funds, then dipping into reserves to cover costs the past few years, the district now faces a $20 million deficit.

Update, 7:15 p.m.: In early voting, Fort Worth ISD voters are voting heavily in support of three school bond propositions that would improve facilities and instruction and offer pre-kindergarten to more children across the district. All three proposals are easily winning so far in early voting – about 75 percent in favor. (Fort Worth ISD’s $489.9 million in school bonds, which would add 3 cents to property tax rates. One proposition would expand pre-kindergarten throughout the district.)

Update, 7:06 p.m.: In Dallas ISD, the District 8 school board race could tip the balance for the superintendent. In early voting, Miguel Solis is leading with more than 70 percent of the vote. Kristi Lara has 28 percent. Solis briefly worked for DISD's embattled Mike Miles as the superintendent's special assistant, but says that won’t make him a Miles “yes man.” (Earlier this fall, three Dallas school board members voted to oust Superintendent Miles while five decided to keep but punish him.)

Original post: It’s Election Day -- the polls close at 7 p.m.  We'll have the first early voting returns shortly after that.  We’ll update this blog throughout the night.

For the first time, Texans needed to take a valid photo ID to the polls. (There’s been some controversy about that.) This time, Lone Star ballots didn’t include national or statewide offices, of course. But they do include several school board and city contests, local issues and nine statewide propositions.

Here’s some of what we’re watching at KERA:

Learn more about the new voter ID law.

County elections offices have posted sample ballots and the locations of polling sites as well as contact information if you encounter difficulty.

Here are handy links to some North Texas elections departments:

·      Dallas County

·      Tarrant County

·      Collin County

·      Denton County

The Texas Secretary of State website includes additional information.

For more election coverage, click on the KERA News Elections page.

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