Board hears about possible ‘school of choice’

With a view toward stemming its dropout rate, Ector County Independent School District Superintendent Tom Crowe has been talking to Odessa College President Gregory Williams about starting a school of choice with the college.

ECISD loses nearly half of its freshman class by senior year. Crowe said it would be for juniors and seniors who are in danger of dropping out. The school would enable the students to finish high school while earning a certification in welding, for example.

He said Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Roy Garcia has researched schools of choice.

Garcia said he has visited a school of choice in El Paso and one in Austin. He added that they have about 1,200 freshmen start the school year and with 600 to 650 graduating.

Nothing is set in stone, but Crowe said he just wanted to tell the board at its meeting Tuesday that he was talking to Williams about a dropout prevention program.

“I think it has some exciting possibilities,” Crowe said during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Crowe said he is looking at a timeline of about 18 months. He added that it would have a traditional school setting and shop areas and it could operate at night, because some students may be working.

The district would use existing programs at ECISD and OC.

“The biggest thing right now is where would we put it?” Crowe said.

Garcia said it would be open to all students and if they were in the program, it might motivate them to go on for further higher education.

Board Secretary Donna Smith said she thought the idea was “awesome.”

Facilities are something that would have to be worked on because neither the district nor the college has any to spare, Crowe said. He mentioned getting the city or county involved because the venture would help the whole community.


The board also approved the 2018-19 school calendar. School would start Aug. 20 and end May 23 for students. Students will get a week off at Thanksgiving in November, a two-week Christmas break and a week of spring break.

Out of three options, this one received 50 percent of the vote, officials said.

The board also approved an agreement between ECISD and the Boys and Girls Club of the Permian Basin for the construction, conveyance and leaseback of a club located at Downing Elementary School.

The facility will be built by the Boys & Girls Club, donated to the school district, and leased back to the club for $1 a month for 30 years. The agreement would allow the district and the club to share facilities and provide after-school activities and sports programs to West Odessa through the Boys & Girls Club.

Trustees also approved a request for proposals for E-RATE and wide area network services and modulating electronics and E-RATE eligible products and services.

This is the first step in acquiring a new network infrastructure.

When approved by trustees, the request for proposals will establish a cost for the projects. At that time ECISD will apply for E-RATE refunds which can be up to 80 percent of some costs.

Category 1 is fiber optic services and the supporting electronics to connect campuses for internet and telecommunication services. Category 2 is for access points, switches and back-up power devices to interconnect ECISD systems.