Trustees to consider superintendent’s contract

ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri talks about STAAR and End of Course results at a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in the first floor boardroom of the administration building. (Ruth Campbell/Odessa American)

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees will consider the superintendent’s contract during a closed session during a 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday in the first floor board room of the administration building, 802 N. Sam Houston Ave.

Last September, trustees approved an increase in Superintendent Scott Muri’s salary and extending his contract to June 30, 2027.

His salary rose from $309,927 to $319,224.81 per year, which is a 3 percent increase, the same raise that was given to classroom teachers last year.

The board will also discuss STAAR and End-of-Course exam results from spring 2023.

Ector County ISD students showed improvement in spring 2023 STAAR results and End of Course exams, closing gaps with the state.

The STAAR and state accountability system were redesigned this year. The changes made to the state’s accountability system means comparisons to 2022 scores are not apples-to-apples, however, improvement is seen from 2022 to 2023 in the majority of tested areas, a news release said.

In an Aug. 23 news conference, Muri said the STAAR looks at third through eighth grade students in math, reading and writing and all literacy skills in science and social studies.

They also got their end of course exams, which looks at the five EOCs that high school students must take to pass in each of those areas.

He added that the state declined overall and ECISD improved. In reading language arts, ECISD improved.

In math, the state declined and ECISD improved.

“But the bigger message, I think, is the fact that we’re closing those gaps. We have been woefully behind the state for many, many years. Finally we’re doing the right kind of work that allows us not only to close the gaps, but to finally begin to get ahead. … Our goal is to not just meet the state where they are, but to become higher and achieve even more than the state is achieving,” Muri said at the news conference.

Students took a different kind of test from last year. In the past, reading and writing have been separate tests.

“This year for the first time writing has been embedded in third through eighth grade. What you’re seeing, especially across the state is those writing scores have brought down the reading scores. It is no longer a reading test. It is now a literacy test because it is for reading as well as writing, embedded in singular assessments,” Muri said.

“There’s also writing in mathematics, writing in science and writing in social studies. Writing is integral and that is affected here. To compare this year’s tests to last year’s tests, it is apples and oranges,” Muri said.

He noted that last spring’s test is different from the old one.

“It is completely computer based, so students have to complete everything online; different types of questions. Again, you and I may be accustomed to a multiple choice exam; pick the right answer. There are some multiple choice, but there could be many correct answers so kids have to choose those. There’s a whole lot of writing and typing that must be embedded, so responses to questions in which kids have to write their responses,” Muri said. “… Some tests require kids to move items around on the screen, so they actually have to drag and drop and and highlight texts. It requires some computer skills in order for kids to demonstrate mastery of content knowledge.”

Campus improvement plans will also be presented for every campus in the system.