People who want to be placed on the ballot can file starting Monday.
By Joyce Flores
Election season is in full swing and that includes the Alamo Community College District.
Four trustee positions will be up for grabs May 10, including the position left vacant by former District 3 trustee Jennifer Ramos.
The positions for trustees of Districts 4, 8 and 9 also are available.
People wanting a place on the ballot can file with the district’s office of legal affairs beginning Monday and continuing through 5 p.m. March 10, Linda Hill, legal affairs administrative assistant, said.
All of the positions are for a six-year term, excluding District 3, which is a two-year term to serve out the remainder of Ramos’ term.
A person seeking a seat on the board must be an eligible voter and resident of the district they wish to represent.
The order calling for elections, which was approved by the board Jan. 22, states that a candidate must receive a majority of votes to be declared the winner.
If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will enter a run-off election scheduled for June 14.
As of Tuesday, both District 8 trustee Gary Beitzel and District 9 trustee James Rindfuss planned to run for re-election.
Beitzel said he was pleased that the $450 million bond issue was approved by voters in 2005 and that so much progress has been made.
In 2005, Bexar County residents approved the bond for the construction of Northeast Lakeview College and additions to the four other district colleges.
“Construction started without much delay,” Beitzel said. “Other areas have taken five years or more to get construction under way.”
He also was pleased at how well the board has worked together.
“There is no animosity; everybody has been very transparent,” Beitzel said.
He hopes to return to the board to see many of the board’s ideas become realities.
Beitzel also said he wants to see the implementation of a better automation system that would allow for easier registration and cross-registration among the multiple district colleges.
Rindfuss also said he is hoping he will be around for a third term to see the district grow.
He said during his second term, he concentrated on fixing the corruption that was discovered during his first term on the board.
Rindfuss was referring to the indictment of three former trustees in 2002. Nine men involved in a bid-rigging scheme for construction projects for the district were received corruption charges.
District 5 trustee Jesse Gonzales was charged for accepting a $5,000 bribe from architect Louis Cruz and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was paroled in November 2004 after serving 16 months.
District 2 trustee Donald McClure, now deceased, was sentenced to one year deferred adjudication after pleading no contest to interfering with a public servant.
District 4 Robert “Tinker” Gonzalez was charged with a misdemeanor count of conspiring to commit abuse of office. He was sentenced to one year probation, a $500 fine and community service.
New board members and some new administration were brought into the district during Rindfuss’ second term. He said that once the problems were identified, putting in place the right structure was the goal.
“I’ve been pretty involved in trying to make sure all of our policies are brought up to date and placed online,” Rindfuss said. “Also, the board adopted a code of conduct for trustees.”
He said he was proud that the board was able to purchase the land to build Northeast Lakeview College, especially because it will be in his district at 1201 Kitty Hawk Road, Universal City.
Rindfuss said he drives by occasionally and is happy with the progress.
“I’m very pleased to see it coming up. Some parking lots look like they are paved.”
He also mentioned a conversation with Dr. Eric Reno, Northeast Lakeview College president, about universities expressing an interest in partnering with the college to offer bachelor’s degrees.
Rindfuss said he hopes to be re-elected so he can see those partnerships grow along with an improvement of district information technology.
He said in his first term, he concentrated on cleaning up corruption; in his second term, he concentrated on serving the students; and he said that during his third term, he wants to enhance the quality of education even more.
Rindfuss said the reason he is so passionate about community colleges is because of the affordability and availability.
He recalled that he was able to attend college because of an open enrollment policy like the one the district has.
“Otherwise, I would not have gone to college,” Rindfuss said. “I had to work while I went to school to earn money; that’s pretty much all of our students.”
He added that though he worked his way through college, it’s practically impossible today because of the rising cost of higher education, except through community colleges.
“I’m returning the favor through a similar system,” Rindfuss said.
District 4 Marcello Casillas did not return calls to The Ranger.