San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas


With nine contenders seeking three San Marcos CISD trustee seats, the San Marcos Area League of Women Voters is hosting a candidates’ debate in an effort to harness “heightened interest” in local public school governance.

“This is a phenomenal turnout of candidates for an election that often garners little opposition. In light of the heightened interest, the League decided it was important to sponsor a candidates debate to help voters get to know the candidates,” said Jeannie Lewis, who is coordinating the event.

The debate will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 27 at the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E Hopkins St.

Seven candidates are vying for two at-large positions currently held by incumbents who are not seeing re-election, Judy Allen and Paul Mayhew. The two candidates who garner the most votes in the May 9 election will win the two open seats.

San Marcos CISD at-large trustee candidates

  • Jesse Ponce Jr.
  • Mike Occhialini
  • Toby Hooper
  • Adam Gonzalez
  • Sophia Downing
  • John W. McGlothlin
  • Anne Halsey

In addition, voters in SMCISD’s District 1 — an area straddling southeastern Hays and northwestern Guadalupe counties with Texas 123 running roughly down the middle — will pick a trustee to fill the remaining two years of an unexpired term. When Naomi Narvaiz resigned from the seat last spring less than two months after taking office, the board chose Danny Gonzales to fill the position until the next regularly scheduled election.

San Marcos CISD District 1 trustee candidates

  • Danny Gonzales (incumbent)
  • Juan Miguel Arredondo

Election Day is May 9 with early voting beginning April 27. Said Lewis, “These races are hotly contested and should make for a very interesting candidates’ debate.”

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33 thoughts on “Candidates in ‘hotly contested’ San Marcos CISD board races invited to debate

  1. Juan Miguel Arredondo, candidate for SMISD School Board is a typical politician. He signed up to vote using a family rental property on Paticia Drive. Then used his brother’s apartment address to sign up for the election-a district one address. He has lived over by the college with his father. He stated last weekend that he was packing and moving so is he setting up residency now? He and his campaign help and many community members know he has not lived in the district for the required time for this election. The only way to stop his misrepresentation is a lawsuit which would be bad press. District one voters need to know that Miguel has lied to be on the ballot. Even with good ideas for SMCISD, his cheating to get there is a slap to district one residents and is not ethical.

  2. Thanks for giving us some details. I would love for Mr. Arredondo to defend himself here. I see these residency disputes all over the state , especially in small towns, and it is a huge waste of resources.

  3. Thank you Ellen. My only assumption is, due to the lack of response by Mr. Juan Miguel Arredondo, is that he knows this is true and assumes the residents of district one are stupid. I am disappointed in the lack of reporting on this issue. If the school district is not legally able to check, and this is public knowledge, why are the news sources not reporting on it? I hope someone calls him on it at the Leauge of Women’s Voters debate tonight – unfortunately, I cannot be there.

  4. I spoke with Kathy Hansen the other day at the big heb and she has been trying to get somebody to hold this mexican kid accountable but no one is reporting on the issue. Pathetic.

  5. I heard that this this Areedondo kid is supported by Lulac and the Gi Forum? I am sure he will only talk about the Mexicans if he gets elected… Just like the other angry mexican lady Ms. Castillo.

  6. I don’t think this has anything to do with race… Just eligibility. Plain and simple – you are eligible or are not. I kinda doubt that was what was meant by Trustee Hansen, but instead not having a fraud perpetuated on the citizens of district 1. No one wants to have a fraudster on the board. Why has Areedondo been favorited by the press? Is it because Kim Porterfield has been supporting him? Shame on those who call themselves journalists or reporters but have a clear bias.

  7. M, I was under the impression that Porterfield was supporting Mr. Gonzalez. I was surprised when I had heard. IMO it’s one of the smartest things she has done since she voted in favor of Cape’s Camp while serving on the city council.

  8. Just my two cents – that’s not how it is being portrayed through Juan Miguel’s Twitter feed. He worked for her before and she supported his previous attempts to run for schoolboard. I hope she has made the smart decision to not tie herself to this fraudulent mess.

  9. Danny Gonzales did not show up to the candidate forum.

    Juan Miguel Arredondo has my vote and is the right person for that seat.

    Mrs Costilla is one of 2 great current School Board Trustees.

    She has always asked the relevant questions.

    Mike Occhialini did a fabulous job last night at the forum and should be elected too!

    Vote for Juan Miguel Arredondo & Mike Occhialini they will make sure your children know to spell better than some of you on this string.

  10. Not a chance Rattler. If he won’t resolve the residency issue I can’t support him. I know Danny and he’s a solid guy. More mature than Juan and with more life experiences to draw from. Danny is easy-going and will be good on the board when issues get contentious.

  11. SMRattler (aka Mike or Juan Miguel): Do they provide grammar lessons as well as spelling lessons? If so, I hope you partake. The idea that two people who apparently hate the school district want to be on the board is mind boggling.

  12. Hate the school district? both of these gentlemen have been attending school board meetings longer than Danny. Danny is clueless and does not have anything ‘solid’ to offer the school district. He never has. He does not understand the issues nor how to improve the school district.

    You do know what it makes you when you assume? I am neither of these men.

    Juan Miguel & Mike have a lot more support than you think.

  13. After watching the debate on TV, where they did nothing but bash the school district, yes, as I voter, I can say they show that they hate the district. Juan Miguel touts on social media his constant drinking. Really mature – the last thing the school board needs is another person showing up drunk. Danny seems to care, pays taxes, and most importantly, can prove he actually lives in the district, versus just filling out a voter registration for an address. There are much better candidates out there than Mike or Juan Miguel, and no one here is buying what you are selling.

  14. That kid infuriates me. Single member districts are the reason we have so many unqualified trustees on the board. Let’s get rid of them asap. I appreciate Kathy Hansen and our superintendent for vocally expressing their concerns about Juan Miguel serving on the board. They are, in my opinion, true leaders.

  15. I agree 100% about single member districts. It’s hard enough to find qualified, willing VOLUNTEERS for this thankless board, even if you include the whole city.

  16. Just watched the video, and I didn’t hear anything about hating the district.
    I think Arredondo nailed it, and it is unfortunate that his opponent didn’t show up.

  17. Ted – in my eyes, anyone who is willing to not come clean about their eligibility, and changes their opinions for what people want to hear, is only in it for them. I want to see tax-paying, working members of the community, who have a vested interest in the school district be on the board.

  18. Tax paying as in not living with the parents, unemployed, and only paying taxes on a bar tab. It is important to have property owners on the board, as property taxes pay for more than half of the school district budget. Everyone keeps avoiding the real issue – Juan Miguel’s lack of personal transparency about his residency and eligibility.

  19. I’m just waiting for someone to verify, one way or the other. I only see questions.
    Meanwhile, I know nothing about his opponent, and Arredondo seems to have a pretty clear idea of where our challenges are.

  20. I think Miguel missed an opportunity to list specifics. He suggested we “talk about academics” and about “resources” but what does that mean, exactly? What is the condition of the computer lab at each of the schools? What has the district done to support (or gut, as the case may be) the Gifted and Talented programs? How would he use the proceeds of the sale of Lamar? What about class size? Also, he mentioned teacher insurance – if he would have been able to say with certainty that the SMCISD contribution to insurance is lower than any of our competing districts (I’ve heard that’s true) it would have indicated that he’s done some actual homework. To me he came off more like an armchair general or a Monday morning quarterback. It’s easy to have a philosophy but harder to bring viable solutions.

  21. Perhaps, but he answered the questions he was asked. There were no questions from the audience, unlike the other debate, and there was no opposition, offering rebuttals or challenging him. That is very unfortunate.
    He said he would work on the health care issue. I don’t recall any other candidates offering specifics on how that would be handled. Probably because there isn’t any great mystery behind how you contribute more to an employee health care program.
    He said he would address teachers who are buying supplies out of their own pockets, Again, I don’t know if it is all that hard to imagine how one does that.,
    He also mentioned working to draw a clearer connection between education and economic advancement, to help engage students. This seems less clear cut, as far as how one would make it happen, but it is more than many candidates (past and present) have said about student engagement.
    I’d like to know if he lives in the district he is running in, and I would like to know where his opponent was, and what his answers are, to the questions posed at the debate., Surely, he could watch the video, and submit his answers as an editorial piece.
    At the moment, I have to lean toward voting for the candidate who I’ve actually seen.

  22. Ted – I encourage you to look at the community impact questionnaire of the candidates or Danny’s response I just saw posted. As a child of teachers, I can say yes, they have paid for supplies out of pocket. There is asstiance now provided by community organizations, PTAs, Stuff the Bus, etc to provide supplies.

    As far as the other issues, I felt Juan Miguel flip flopped between spending money on resource and then no spending. Danny said in the Comminity Impact questionnaire that he has experience managing large budgets, and mentioned preparing for the future of the district. I did not see that in Juan Miguel’s responses.

    I would encourage you to check it out – it really shed some light on the difference between the two candidates.

  23. I just found it.
    Both candidates’ answers were pretty short on details. The only specific actions offered were competitive salaries and benefits (Arredondo) and “resources and tools” (Gonzales).
    Gonzales talked about management experience, but it was nothing earth-shattering, and had little or no direct correlation to serving on a school board.
    Neither seems appreciably different from the other, based on that piece.

  24. I got enough of a sense of the character of each from the Impact interview and Miguel’s comments on this site to put my support behind Danny. I’m VERY bothered by the lack of clarity on where Miguel lives. We don’t need to be distracted, post-election, by an investigation of the facts and a possible removal from the post. It seems Danny has been in the schools a lot and I don’t think there’s any substitute for that. I’ve known Danny (not well, but well enough) for about 10 years and I’ve known him as a guy who follows through with a commitment, puts in the hours needed and listens appropriately. It would be rare for a person as young as Mr. Arredondo to have the maturity I’d like to see on the board and so far I haven’t seen evidence of it.

  25. SMsince95’s comments sound very similar to those made by Pastor Newton several years ago. It wouldn’t suprise me if M and A aren’t Kathy Hansen and Mark Eads. It’s unfortunate to see that racism is alive and well in San Marcos. I’m not a fan of Mr. Arredondo but to call him a Mexican kid and for Kathy Hansen and the Supt. to even be getting involved is just extremely unethical in my opinion.

  26. Nice try, Mr. T, but I am neither of those people. I am simply a person who knows that Juan Miguel has publicaly stated to numerous people that he does not live in the district. Yet again, something that could so simply be cleared up, is being ignored by his supporters and the media. I don’t think you can deny the number of people coming forward saying they have heard the same.

  27. And I’m not Pastor Newton though I would be flattered to be compared to him. He’s one of the great ones, in my book.

  28. I have only seen anonymous people on here come forward.

    I’m not a supporter, but I wonder how I would easily verify these claims. Am I to follow him home? How about someone who claims to know, verify and post here, rather than continue to ask the question?

  29. Proof of residency could be verified by an electrical bill in his name for the subject property mailed to said address.

  30. I don’t believe residency can be proved by checking the electric bill. It would be very easy to have an account in one’s name, have the bill mailed to the residence and still not live at that address.

  31. I voted for Anne Halsey because she ran as a concerned parent. Only later did I discover her ties to the teacher union. Don’t make the same mistake.

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