Bond committee convenes

For the first time since the pandemic hit, the Ector County ISD Bond Committee reviewed the committee charges, needs and feedback from stakeholders.

The previous incarnation was the facilities committee. May of those who were on that committee returned to the bond group Thursday night at Buice Elementary School.

The committee will deliberate and formulate a potential bond package to be brought to the ECISD Board of Trustees in December and they will make a decision on proceeding, or not, from there.

The bond committee will be meeting regularly in different locations and issues will be broken out into subject areas, such as finance.

Officials noted that career and technical education was top of mind for people, said Darrell Pearson, a partner with PBK Architects.

PBK walked the district a few years ago to determine needs. The total identified last time was more than $700 million, Pearson said.

Ideas such as ninth grade and sixth grade centers were reviewed, as was a central CTE facility. Adding another high school, staffing and others also were discussed.

Disproportionate discipline of minorities was another issue brought up by committee member Gene Collins.

Lorraine Perryman, who is co-leading the committee with Chris Cole, said it’s been an issue for decades, but nobody talked about it.

The last bond, which included three new elementary schools and additions to Odessa and Permian High School, was passed in 2012 and was $129 million. The vote was 63 percent for and 37 against.

A tax ratification election passed in 2017 included salary increases, controlled access and secured fencing on campuses, bus leasing and purchases and roofing projects.

District funded projects included fencing, sidewalks, way finding signs, roof repairs and replacements, HVAC equipment replacement, flooring repair, restoration and replacement, parking and paving improvements, interior painting, LED retrofits, asbestos abatement, new playground equipment, new CTE welding labs, a new transitional learning facility for special education, athletic facility improvements, new portable classroom buildings and more.

Cortney Smith, executive director of operations, said there were 165 portables in the district.

Superintendent Scott Muri said it is more expensive to educate children in portables in part because of utilities.

Muri went over the district’s mission and goals, obtaining devices for every student and working toward providing broadband for all families in the county.

Some of this was funded by CARES money with the city and county providing a share, Muri said.

He noted that the district is working toward hiring more teachers, paying them more, growing its own teachers and doing more with fewer adults, but the same number of students.

Perryman said everything discussed in the meetings will be on the district website.