V.I.S.D. candidates share their thoughts on the $156.8 million facility bond

VICTORIA, Texas – The Victoria I.S.D. school board race is underway, two seats are opening up in the May 1, 2021 election.

Mandy Lingle and Dale Zuck are up for the District 4 seat and incumbent Estella De Los Santos is running to remain in her District 2 seat against Kenneth Wells.

Wells is a Victoria County deputy, who previously ran to become a Victoria County commissioner in 2020.

De Los Santos is a University of Houston-Victoria professor.

Lingle is a substitute teacher for the Victoria I.S.D.

Zuck is an insurance agent.

Here’s each candidate’s take on the $156.8 million dollar facility bond that will also be on the May 1st ballot.

Zuck: “Based upon what the school district told us is that we can if we drop the I&S number down to the 10 percent that may need in order to pay the old bond, remember we still have $110 million left to pay on it, we would then have enough money to raise up on the operations and maintenance, which is operation side that pays the teacher. It would require an important thing that the school board would, would offer the drop that, that one side raise the other side. And then if we would have to ask the taxpayers for permission, to go above a 3 percent increase, which would basically, if we went up the 8 cents, we would need to give teachers a significant pay raise that would trigger a rollback election.”

Lingle: “And we just dug in deep, I looked at the unbiased third party coming in and, and just got to see comparing apples to apples across the board and trying to understand what are the needs. Um, and so being in that the whole task force came to the conclusion of, ‘Hey, there are some schools that really need some high priority help, but there are also some schools that really need more than that,’ and so at this time we just realized that the bond rates are at a historical low, that there are 15 schools over 50 years old, and there are needs. And we know them, we see them on the VISD website.”

De Los Santos: “You know, you can see them in videos at this point. We’re prohibited from speaking for or against the bond. We can give the facts. The facts, of course, are that, uh, the Monde is for facilities. We did facilities studies, exhaustive facility studies, and we presented those to the task force. And the recommendation that came from the task force was for the $156 million bond. And I voted in favor of putting it before the community, before the voters, and let them decide whether we want to invest in our schools or not. ”

Wells: “I’m opposed to it. I think it’s a lot of money for Stroman Middle School, and I understand that it’s going to be a STEM school. The issue that I have with it, and it’s ver $73 million but there is no design or what it looks like. There’s no architectural layout on what the taxpayer is actually going to be getting for this and $3 million. Most important to me though besides the money part is the 1,200 students there as well, where those 1.200 students are why they, while Stroman Middle School would be as constructed. The answer was that they would figure it out once the bond has passed.”

Go here to learn more about the facility bond.

Note: Wells is a Victoria County deputy, who previously ran to become a Victoria County commissioner in 2020. In a previous version of this article, this information was incorrect.  Zuck also said while he is in support of the bond, he believes the process was rushed and rebuilding campuses is not necessary but instead, the focus should just be on HVAC repair across all campuses.  His response in this article is a potential solution Zuck wants to use to increase teacher pay, which is a major part of his campaign’s platform. 

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