A second local school district recently joined the growing ranks in the community of those openly requesting the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority postpone its plans to drain the lakes.
The Seguin Independent School District Board of Trustees adopted a resolution Wednesday evening asking the GBRA to reconsider dewatering the lakes with no long-term plan in place.
“I think people in the community want to know where we stand in all of this,” Seguin ISD Superintendent Mathew Gutierrez said. “We’ve certainly sent the message out as far as what the impact would be. We felt it was important to support our community and those residents along the lakes. We want to send a message to say that we are paying attention, that we are aware of the impact it could have on our school district and that we are willing, as a board of trustees, to take a stand.”
The board approved the resolution by a vote of 5-0-2, with board president Cinde Thomas-Jimenez and trustee Denise Crettenden abstaining.
“I abstained from voting for the resolution because my husband is an employee of GBRA, and I had to think long and hard,” Crettenden said. “I went back and forth because I do have an opinion. I decided that if we were voting on a contract or voting on something else with the GBRA, it would be a no brainer, I would abstain. I felt like that was what I needed to do this evening.”
Thomas-Jimenez chose to abstain because she works for the authority.
As a long-time resident, Save Our Lakes volunteer organizer Tess Coody-Anders applauded the school district’s decision to sign the resolution.
“I am very invested in the success of Seguin ISD,” Coody-Anders said. “Dr. Gutierrez and the leadership at Seguin ISD are doing great things to move the district forward. Any threats to that forward progress are very concerning to me. The economic impact of draining the lakes without a long-term resolution is an economic threat to the district.
“I was proud to see the school board and leadership call for GBRA to think, not like just a river authority, but like a community partner.”
The meeting was brief — lasting around 10 minutes — and focusing on subjects varying from the economic impact to the effects the plan would have on the future growth of the community.
“It was certainly short and sweet, but I really think that our board has been pretty well informed throughout this process as we become aware of the plan of GBRA to drain the lakes,” Gutierrez said. “So I felt like there’s been a lot of education that has happened prior, so there was a need for very little discussion when we came together (Wednesday) night.”
According to the resolution, 1,984 waterfront properties are located within the district, equating to $694 million in taxable value.
“We will certainly be taking the time to share the resolution with the board of directors at GBRA and with the governor,” Gutierrez said. “At this point, there are so many unknowns, we’re just waiting for some answers. This draining will negatively impact our school district as about 18% of our taxable values are waterfront properties.”
Seguin Independent School District’s decision to sign the resolution follows a similar resolution passed by Navarro Independent School District a day prior.
“At this point, I’m seeing that all of the bodies of leadership that represent our community have spoken,” Coody-Anders said. “What they’re saying all together is that GBRA needs to recognize that their actions don’t happen in a vacuum, they are part of a community, and they impact that community.”
Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com .