Trustees approve Nacero extension

Pump jacks operate in an oilfield Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Penwell. Nacero, Inc. plans to build a $7 billion natural gas processing and production facility in Penwell. (OA File Photo)

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held a public hearing Tuesday on an amendment to the previously approved agreement for limitation on appraised value with Nacero TX 1 LLC, Texas Comptroller Application 1568.

Nacero is seeking an extension of the timeline and to list a reduced number of qualifying jobs on the application to align with the legal minimum, per guidelines from the state comptroller.

Following the public hearing, trustees voted 4-0 to approve reduced number of qualifying jobs on the application to align with the legal minimum and voted 4-0 to approve an extension for the project Tuesday.

Board members Delma Abalos, Steve Brown and Bob Thayer were absent.

In his opening comments, Superintendent Scott Muri walked through a few results from last year’s SAT School Day scores showing improvements for ECISD students – English/Reading/Writing increased from 476 to 479, which is seven points higher than the state score (472); Math increased from 447 to 458, which is six points higher than the state score (452); and the Mean score rose from 923 to 936, which is 12 points higher than the state score (924).

The board also received an update on Bond 2023.

On Nov. 7, voters approved Proposition A by a 57% – 43% margin, for school projects totaling more than $424 million. Muri noted that this the largest school bond in ECISD’s history, and comes 11 years after the last successful bond ($129.75 million).

Ector County Independent School District School Board Trustee Tammy Hawkins hugs teacher and political consultant Arlo Chavira as they celebrate the passing of Proposition A in a school bond election Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Odessa. (Courtesy of Eli Hartman/The Texas Tribune)

The board recap said he thanked the bond committee that worked for five months to create the proposal, he thanked the action committee that campaigned on behalf of the propositions, he thanked employees for taking on the role of spokespeople for it, and he thanked the community for taking the time to cast a vote and support the district in this manner.

He said the timeline will be for five years, and work is starting now to prioritize projects, work out a schedule for buying bonds, and finalize contracts for property (South Tripp for the new middle school and East Murphy for the new CTE Center). He talked about forming a Bond Oversight Committee by Dec. 5.

Each trustee will nominate a list of community members to serve in this role, then board members will vote to select 10 people to make up that oversight committee for the next five years as the bond projects are begun and completed. In addition, a webpage will be set up to allow all of our community to keep track of the progress of the work.

On another item, trustees voted 4-0 to approve the annual financial report. Every school district is required to prepare annual financial statements, have them audited by an external public accounting firm, and submit them to the state.

The auditor, Whitley Penn, issued an Unmodified Opinion meaning a clean report with no internal control findings related to the financial report and no findings related to compliance.

The financial report shows the largest areas of school district expenditures by function in the general fund are Instruction (59%) and Plant Maintenance & Operations (10%). This report follows last month’s announcement of a perfect score of 100 on the state’s FIRST report for financial integrity.

Trustees voted 4-0 to approve a resolution allowing the district to use money from the general fund to make payments on bond projects, then reimburse the district’s general fund once bonds are sold and funds are received. This will allow the district to begin work on voter-approved bond projects sooner, without having to wait until bond are sold.

In other business:

  • Trustees voted 4-0 to approve Ector County Appraisal District Board Members. ECISD is responsible for appointing 5 people to the ECAD Board. The 5 approved by trustees this year are Mari Willis, Dr. Dorothy Jackson, Robert Chavez, Austin Keith, and Feliz Abalos.
  • Trustees voted 4-0 to approve submission of a grant to the Office of the Governor for ALERRT Training for ECISD Peace Officers. This grant will help pay overtime and travel expenses related to the required ALERRT training. ALERRT stands for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training. All police officers must receive a minimum of Level One of this training.
  • Trustees voted 4-0 to approve a resolution designating Nov. 20, 21 and 22, as well as December 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29 as non-business days under the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA). This is a change in the law that went into effect after the legislative session ended. Except for specified national and state holidays and other identified days, government entities now must designate up to 10 days as “non-business” days for calculating deadlines for TPIA requests. These are days the entity expects to be closed or operating with reduced staff. This must be done for each calendar year.
  • Trustees voted 4-0 to approve the consent agenda. The consent agenda is a group of routine or previously discussed items presented together for a single approval vote. This month’s consent agenda included minutes of meetings; bills for payment; the quarterly investment report; out-of-state travel for Odessa High School performing arts students to go to New York City; renewal of the special education legal services retainer agreement; and the medical director services agreement with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.