Bond committee to meet Monday

A public meeting of the Ector County Independent School District Bond Advisory Committee to discuss a possible bond issue has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday in the George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa cafeteria, 300 E. 29th St.

The ECISD Board of Trustees may be present at the meeting and participate in discussions.

Trustees have been discussing a possible bond election and tax ratification election, to be held separately.

Superintendent Tom Crowe said during a special workshop meeting April 3 that 100 invitations had been sent to community members to be part of the new Bond Advisory Committee and about 50 had been accepted.

In November 2017, a $291,172,291 bond and a tax ratification election failed and some of the current needs were included in that bond.

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.

TranCend4, a company specializing in bond elections was hired to help guide the community through the process. The cost is $26,000, plus expenses including flights, car/Uber, hotel and meals.

Crowe said he believes the committee should take more time to consider a bond this time possibly putting a proposal together for next spring.

Crowe said at the April 6 meeting that a more pressing need for the district is a tax ratification election, the board recap said.

He said the district has cut budgets “heavily” over the last two years, even as student enrollment has continued to increase.

Crowe asked trustees to consider asking the community for an 8-cent increase in the tax rate, which would generate $11 million in revenue.

The district’s tax rate of $1.15 per $100 valuation is made up of maintenance and operations and interest and sinking, or what goes to pay the debt.

The proposed TRE would add 8 cents to the district’s $1.04 maintenance and operation rate, which would make it $1.23 per $100 valuation. As proposed, an election would be in September.

At the April 6 meeting, Crowe presented a list of needs that money would go toward such as raises for all employees, new school buses, controlled-access security upgrades for all schools, restoring money cut from school budgets and increased property insurance premiums because of damage from hail storms the last two years.

Crowe said the $11 million would not cover the items in this list, but it would give the district a good start in recovering from the cuts of the last two years, the recap said.

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