Muri discusses compensation, bond activity

ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri gives remarks about a land donation for a new career and technical education center at a news conference Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, at the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. The land was donated by Grow Odessa. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

A 3 percent retention supplement and enhanced teacher certificates were highlighted during Ector County ISD Superintendent Scott Muri’s media call Wednesday.

The ECISD Board of Trustees on May 21 approved a 3 percent retention supplement for all returning employees — all full-time employees that are currently working for the district and return next year will receive the supplement.

“The board was excited to be able to do that for our employees last night,” Muri said Wednesday. “That really comes from good stewardship of our federal funds. We are appreciative of the federal government for the money they provided through ESSER program over the last three years.”

ESSER stands for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief. The funds were provided by the federal government during COVID.

“We were able to leverage some of those dollars to provide this opportunity for our teachers. Once again thank you to the board of trustees for approving that 3 percent retention for all returning full-time employees next year,” Muri said.

Administration also highlighted some other opportunities. “The board approved a first-of-its-kind new compensation plan for a new type of teacher. In September, the state will introduce a new teacher certificate called an enhanced certificate,” Muri said. “That enhanced certificate will focus on teachers that complete their college program and complete a full-year residency program. Again, that begins in August and concludes in the month of May.”

“What we’re doing locally is those are the teachers that we would like to attract to our own system, and so we have created a separate compensation system for teachers that will earn the enhanced certificate. We were excited to roll that out last night and we will continue to publicize that in the months to come,” Muri said.

Officials also reminded the board about other innovations in the compensation plan.

“We are the home of the $100,000 teacher because of the stackable compensation opportunities that we have within Ector County ISD. We’ve worked hard over the last four years to create that exceptional opportunity for teachers and then now the home of the nearly $200,000 principal, once again because of the stackable compensation opportunities. We started those investments with our teachers and now we’re able to expand those opportunities to our principals,” Muri said.

He added that there is a lot of activity happening with the 2023 bond.

The board approved DLR Group as the architect that will design the new transition learning center.

“That center is focused on a special group of 18- to 21-year-olds that will be served in ECISD, so we’ll begin working with the architect to develop that transition learning center,” Muri said.

In addition, the district is working with PBK as the architect to design the new middle school.

Parkhill architects will design the new career and technical education facility and PBK will design the new transportation facility.

“Last week, the board received the generous donation from Grow Odessa, a donation that totals approximately $2.8 million in property. That property will be used to construct our new career and technical education center. It is located in the southern portion of Ector County. We’re excited to put a big sign on there and let the entire public know where that new CTE center begins,” Muri said.

Also, tennis courts at all the middle schools have been resurfaced.

“That body of work began and is now completed, so all of our middle schools now have a refreshed tennis court surface for student use; so a lot of activity with the bond 2023 program,” Muri said.

It is graduation season.

“And we are right smack dab in the middle of it in Ector County ISD. Last Friday, we held our first two graduations, OCA and OCTECHS, so approximately 200 students made it across the stage. Today, Wednesday, we will have New Tech Odessa, their graduation program. Then on Thursday of this week, UTPB STEM Academy will have their graduation ceremonies, as well as Permian High School and then we will conclude the graduation season on Friday night with graduation of Odessa High School.”

There are nearly 2,000 students graduating this year, he said.

He reminded families attending those graduations that there is information on the district website,

It will have the do’s and don’ts on it.

“There are things that we ask you not to bring into our venues, specifically at Ratliff Stadium. … We have a clear backpack policy at Ratliff Stadium, so moms and dads that may be entering Ratliff Stadium for potentially the first time, please pay attention to information that has come from your campus to make sure that you bring appropriate materials into the graduation ceremonies,” Muri said.

“We are encouraging everybody, specifically Permian and OHS families, to bring a bottle of water with you. It is going to be very hot on both Thursday and Friday night and so we will allow families to bring in sealed bottles of water so feel free to do that. In addition, we will have water on sale both Thursday and Friday night for the Permian and OHS graduations at Ratliff Stadium,” he added.

He also urged people to be mindful of the traffic around the graduation venues of Ratliff Stadium and the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.

“Starting tonight, Wednesday evening, from between the hours of 6 and 10 p.m. you can expect a lot of traffic around Wagner Noël and then tomorrow late afternoon traffic will begin around the Wagner Noël and then approximately 6 p.m., you’ll see traffic until approximately 11 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday night around the Ratliff Stadium area. So just be mindful of the additional heavy traffic around those venues as we celebrate graduation,” he said.