A failed bond issue, overcrowding, new principals at Odessa and Permian high schools and three schools facing possible closure or loss of local control due to poor state test scores are just some of the issues faced by Ector County Independent School District in 2017.

A bond advisory committee worked through the summer to prioritize ECISD needs and decided on a mixture of lifecycle projects, renovations and new schools that totaled $291,172,291.

Along with the bond, a tax ratification election also was voted on in November and both failed.

On the bond issue, 61.81 percent of people voted against the bond and 38.19 percent voted for it, or 4,442 against and 2,744 in support.

On the tax ratification election, 60.04 percent, or 4,312 people voted against it, and 39.96 percent, or 2,870, were for it.

There are 73,847 registered voters in Ector County and 7,255 people, or 9.82 percent, cast ballots on Election Day.

The bond and tax ratification election would have brought the district’s total tax rate to $1.45 per $100 valuation. It is $1.15 per $100 valuation.

A political action committee, 4 Kids’ Future, formed to support the bond, but pulled its support after miscommunication over what the tax ratification election funds would be used for on Sept. 29.

The bond and tax ratification election was called Aug. 17 by the Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees.

A community group, Ector County Kids Can’t Wait, formed to boost the bond.

Chris Stanley of Ector County Kids Can’t Wait said the group is contemplating its next move.

In August, the Texas Education Agency issued preliminary 2017 academic accountability ratings showing ECISD has eight campuses with “unacceptable performance ratings,” a letter from Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath to Superintendent Tom Crowe and Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees President Carol Gregg.

Ector Middle School, Zavala and Noel elementary schools have received four or more consecutive unacceptable accountability ratings, the letter said.

If the schools do not get off improvement required status, Morath’s letter said he will be required to order the appointment of a “board of managers to govern the district … or the closure of the campus.”

Since then, both those in the former 4 Kids political action committee, school board members, ECISD and community members have been focused on those three schools and the other five that are on improvement required status.

In October, hundreds turned out to show their support for Ector Middle School at an event called Soar for Success.

Education Foundation board member and education advocate Lorraine Perryman chaired the effort to pull the block party together in about two weeks. She said Soar for Success was the kickoff for Strive for Success, an incentive program where students will earn points for positive academic behaviors.

Danny Gex was named principal of PHS and Mauricio Marquez at OHS.

Gex was principal at Stratford High School in Spring Branch ISD and Marquez was principal of Crockett Middle School.

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