The message behind the ECISD bond election was largely well-received among the student and faculty senate of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin on Thursday afternoon.
About 24 people, mainly students, gathered in library to learn exactly what passage of the $129.75 million election would mean. Information about Odessans for Kids — a political action committee in support of the bond — and signs and fliers were available for students and faculty at the meeting after PAC member John Landgraf led the presentation outlining why attendees should support the bond.
“There’s going to be a lot more efficiency in the way we do things,” Landgraf said, adding that, currently, the schools are “crazy crowded.”
Landgraf told the group that the bond would be a final solution in ECISD in terms of addressing every issue, but that it would at least positively address “the place” for students.
Hector Mendez, superintendent for ECISD, answered some questions about the decision against asking for a third high school. Mendez said that adding another school would be an additional $9 to $11 million annually in costs to staff and run the third school. Plus, the school district needed community input to call for a third large high school.
“We did not get support for a third high school,” Mendez said.
But the support for the bond seemed to be present among students and staff after the meeting.
Lanita Akins, a history professor at UTPB, left the meeting carrying a yard sign and wearing an Odessans for Kids button. Akins said the students are going to continue to come and she said she has seen proof that the middle school concept works.
“It’s what’s best for this town, and more importantly, it’s what’s best for the students,” Akins said.
Tim McDaniel, a senior studying political science at UTPB, asked several questions during the meeting, but after said he was in support of the bond even before the meeting started. McDaniel said he was already familiar with the bond before the meeting started, and while he feels that the information could have been presented in a more accessible format, he was satisfied with what he heard.
“I do support the measure. I already have a yard sign,” McDaniel said.
Raquel Rivas, a sophomore at UTPB, said she also is in support of the measure. Rivas said as a graduate of Odessa High and a student pursuing a degree to become a teacher, she said will support the bond election.
“I’m for it, it’s inevitable and it needs to get done,” Rivas said, adding the sooner it’s approved, the better.
After the meeting, Rivas said she felt like her position of support was solidified by what she heard, noting the crowding and moving to a middle school concept.
David Watts, president of UTPB, also attended the meeting. As a taxpayer in Ector County, not as someone representing the university, Watts said he was personally in support of the bond.
“I believe the facilities for k-12 can help you prepare the students for higher education,” Watts said after the forum.
Meeting organizer Brittany Pitrucha, a senior and student senate president at UTPB, agreed. Pitrucha said she didn’t know very much about the bond before the forum, but was in support of after the meeting.
“I think it would be something good to invest in,” Pitrucha said.