• June 1, 2020

ECISD board approves hires; Muri talks fall picture - Odessa American: News

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ECISD board approves hires; Muri talks fall picture

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Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 9:09 pm

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to hire a Permian High School principal and a chief financial officer, but the name of the principal was not released Tuesday night.

The chief financial officer coming on board is Deborah Ottmers who is assistant superintendent for business and finance at Fredericksburg Independent School District.

Art Martin had been serving as the interim chief financial officer following the departure of David Harwell.

The Permian High School candidate had not made an announcement to their local school district so their name was not released, Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Howard said.

Howard said a news release would be issued on the new hires Wednesday morning.

The unnamed PHS principal replaces Danny Gex, who is moving to the Houston area. The Odessa American requested the names of those who applied for the principal position, which is all public information regardless of candidates alerting their present school districts.

ECISD spokesman Mike Adkins did not provide a list of applicants for the PHS principal although it was requested by the Odessa American on Monday morning.

During the meeting, Superintendent Scott Muri said fall for Ector County ISD may include an extended school year and more time on campus for elementary students.

Muri said the district feels pretty confident that they will not have to offer full-time remote school in August.

Muri said they won’t be able to have every school and every student every day. The guidance they are receiving is that they will be able to see some students daily.

On a given day, a group of students in elementary through high school will spend the day with a group of teachers. However, elementary students may be attending more regularly than secondary students, he said.

Being able to give elementary students more time on campus will enable parents and others to return to work, Muri said.

The school year ends May 21 and ECISD will continue to feed and care for students.

The district is developing a virtual summer school for prekindergarten through 12th grade students.

Muri said EICSD was informed Monday that it would have a chance to see students face to face. More information about this is forthcoming.

Muri said calendar adjustments for next year also are being worked on and considered. A survey will be sent out to parents and staff.

Muri said this may include extending the next school year.

A budget for 2020-2021 also was presented. Revenue for the 2020-21 budget year is projected to be $307,129,000. Payroll is expected to be at $246,949,256, supplemental agenda material said.

Last year, payroll was at $218,644,297 and expenditures were $301,348,909.

The tax rate for 2019-2020 was a total of $1.17 per $100 valuation. Legislation passed by lawmakers during the last session compressed the maintenance and operations rate to $1.06 per $100 valuation. This will increase to $1.07 per $100 valuation for the coming school year. On the financial front, Muri said there is a hurricane coming. A budget scenario has been created that will protect ECISD from a category 1, 2 or 3.

But Muri said the longer the current fiscal situation goes on locally, statewide and nationwide, the more severe that hurricane will be.

Muri said it’s too early to know how bad the hit will be to the  local budget. “We think we prepared a budget that allows us to do what we need to do while at the same time recognizing that what’s happening in our world will have impact,” Muri said.

Along with the coronavirus, the region also has been hit with a downturn in oil prices. Some tax revenues have declined for most entities as a result.

To prepare for uncertain times ahead, a wording change is being proposed in case employment is impacted. It was approved by trustees Tuesday.

Adkins said previously Muri is “all about processes.”

“He quickly saw that our district has been reacting to situations as they arise instead of preparing for uncertainty in advance. Now that other districts and municipalities are beginning to freeze hiring and cut budgets, he wants all the pieces in place in case it reaches that point for us. Again, with all the openings we have it will be a completely different situation than most will face,” Adkins said in a text message.

In other business:

>> Muri said graduations will be live-streamed on the district’s Facebook page.

>> Also, 12 members of the ECISD Class of 2020 were recognized as scholarship recipients during Tuesday’s meeting.  

All 12 are receiving these scholarships through the district.

Following the mass shooting last August, ECISD established the Memorial Scholarship Fund as a vehicle to receive memorial or honorary donations from community members that would then be awarded as scholarships to graduating seniors, a news release said.

Students apply for the scholarships and a campus committee reviews and selects the recipients — one senior from each high school. To be considered the student must be a senior, have a minimum of a 2.5 grade point average, and plan to attend a two-or four-year institution or a technical institution to gain an industry certification. A donation of $10,000 from the Education Foundation of Odessa helped make this year’s scholarships a reality for five students.

>> Oliver Martin, G.H.W.B. New Tech Odessa, Southwest School of Art.

>> Juandedios Mendoza III, Odessa Collegiate Academy, Abilene Christian University.

>> Luke Hughes, OCTECHS, Odessa College Raul Nevarez, Odessa High School, University of Texas at Austin.

>> Samantha Delgado-Vasquez, Permian High School, University of Texas Permian Basin.

The second set of scholarships was awarded to seniors at the two traditional high schools. Odessa High and Permian High have a series of trademarked logos and vendors who want to use those logos for merchandising pay an annual fee. Those dollars are pooled into a scholarship fund for students at OHS and PHS. Students must meet the same criteria as required for the Memorial Scholarship Fund, and submit an essay that is reviewed by a campus committee. Students are selected from four programs: athletics, fine arts, career and technical education, and AVID, the release said.

The four students from each school are receiving a $500 scholarship.

>> Permian High School: Analise Lopez, Texas Tech University; Julissa Garcia, Texas Tech University; Brianna Harris, University of Texas San Antonio; Skylar Hubbard, Texas Tech University.

>> Odessa High School: Jason Zubia, University of Texas; Idaleth Tavarez, Angelo State University; Kabrina Sanchez, Wayland Baptist University; Gabriel Vasco, Texas Tech University.

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