Sinton ISD Superintendent Explains Reasons for Resignation

After a long, drawn out process that divided the community of Sinton over whether to build a couple of wind turbines near the high school, along with a recent school board trustee election shake-up, the Sinton Independent School District superintendent has chosen to resign.

Last month, there was a school board election and three incumbents lost. Outgoing Superintendent Steve VanMatre said, in essence, he thinks the election was really a referendum on him.

"These are three trustees that hired me, brought me here, that were very supportive of my vision for the district, and I think elections matter, and I think it's important to listen to the community," VanMatre said.

The school board trustees that VanMatre was referring to are Linda Gaitan, Jimmy Alaniz and Richard Zapata, who all recently lost their positions.

Then, there is the issue of building the wind turbines, which VanMatre was fully supportive of. He said that, upon reflection, he thinks he did a very poor job of communicating, not only to the community but also to city leaders, all of the details regarding the turbines, and that is something he has to live with.

"I think the community lost an opportunity for a terrific, futuristic, real-world learning laboratory," VanMatre said. "What I saw those turbines being is, in essence, a research laboratory for our science, technology, engineering and math academies, and it also provided a fair amount of a reduction of our energy costs at Sinton High School."

VanMatre calls the wind turbine issue unsettling for the community. When it was time to move forward with a contract on the wind turbine project, the City passed an ordinance prohibiting turbines in the city limits, which VanMatre said created friction between the school district and the City, which led to people taking sides. Then there was a recall petition for City Council members. School board trustees also voted to sue the City, and they then lost their day in court.

VanMatre said that he thinks with his leaving, it will provide an opportunity for a fresh start, and for the district to bring in someone who has no ties to the wind turbines. He will be leaving to teach social studies at Incarnate Word Academy, and said he is really looking forward to returning to the classroom.


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