The Canutillo Independent School District’s $264.1 million bond issue was defeated soundly Tuesday, after voters said no to a similar bond proposal last fall.

More than 60% of voters opposed the bond’s two propositions, according to unofficial returns.

Proposition A would have funded campus renovations and expansions, including relocating Alderete Middle School to a new building in the 79911 ZIP Code and reconstructing Canutillo Middle School at its current site. It also included $14 million for districtwide security upgrades.

Proposition B would have allowed the district to refinance $8.4 million of maintenance tax notes it issued in 2020 to pay for districtwide WiFi, student laptops and LED lighting.

The Canutillo ISD Board of Trustees last month made Election Day a school holiday for students and staff in order to increase voter participation.

Close to 34% of registered voters living within the district’s boundaries cast a ballot in the bond election — a big jump from the 8% turnout seen in the November 2021 bond election, when only a constitutional amendment election was on the ballot.

Also on Canutillo voters’ ballot was the election for three seats on the Canutillo ISD Board of Trustees. Canutillo uses plurality voting, meaning that the three candidates with the most votes were elected to a four-year term.

Candidates Cindy Carrillo, Lucy Borrego and Breanne Barnes won election. Seven other candidates trailed, including incumbents Laure Searls and Salvador Payan.

Carrillo manages Lupitas Tamales. Borrego is chief academic officer of the Socorro Independent School District. Barnes works in sales, having resigned as a teacher in the district in 2021 over her dissatisfaction with its COVID-19 quanrantine policies toward unvaccinated employees. She subsequently pushed for the district to remove an LGBTQ-themed book from Canutillo High School’s library.

Trustee Sergio Coronado’s victory in the El Paso County Commissioner Precinct 4 race will also leave a vacancy on the board. State law does not allow someone to sit on two government entities that levy taxes in the same area, so Coronado must resign before he takes county office in January.

Trustees will have to decide whether to call a special election or to appoint someone to fill the remaining two years of his term, which runs through November 2024.

Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014, with...