GUEST VIEW: Bond is about needs not wants

Lorraine Perryman
Chris Cole

By Lorraine Perryman and Chris Cole

Great Communities Start With Great Schools! In a recent survey conducted by Opportunity Odessa, more than 4,000 Odessans ranked ECISD as the #1 priority. When asked what investment in Odessa would bring the most bang for our buck, education/schools was the overwhelming response. Odessans clearly recognize that excellent schools are foundational to our prosperity.

Sixty-one citizens who believe in Odessa and our kids came together to form the Bond Planning Committee. We worked for nine months with 11 committee meetings, two community wide meetings and two deep dive workshops to analyze every facet of ECISD. We conducted a community survey to get more input from a broad cross-section of Odessans. There were well over $1 billion in needs that were identified. Through a long and arduous process, the committee whittled that huge list down to Propositions A & B that are on the May 7th ballot. We are proud of the work we did and believe the items in these propositions are absolutely vital needs, NOT wants.

Proposition A will provide for maintenance and life-cycle repairs and replacement for every school in ECISD. The average age of our schools is 51 years. We have 31 schools that are from 61 to 84 years of age! Old buildings require more upkeep. We must invest in our facilities to extend their useful life!

Proposition A will also fund the construction of a new, state-of-the art Career and Technical Education Center. We simply must build to grow our own workforce with the advanced skills necessary to fuel our economy and enrich our students’ lives.

Proposition A will allow technology upgrades that are essential in today’s classrooms.

Proposition B will provide for the construction of a new comprehensive high school that will accommodate 2,500-2,800 students. The last high school we built was in 1959. Eisenhower was president. That is ridiculous!

OHS and PHS are bursting at the seams with over 4,000 students crammed into each school. Overcrowding is unsafe, increases discipline issues and causes more deterioration in already aging buildings. Student participation will greatly increase with a new campus – more sports teams, more leadership opportunities, more opportunities to participate in music and fine arts programs, to mention only a few.

We must act now to address these critical needs. Odessa is growing. We are the epicenter of oil and gas production in the United States, and the Department of Energy predicts that demand will increase by over 30% by 2050. We will need more than 50,000 new SKILLED workers to meet that demand. Our kids are our future and it is paramount that we give them the best facilities and education possible to prepare them to be the voters, leaders, taxpayers and workforce of tomorrow. They are counting on us.

Please vote yes for Propositions A & B on May 7th — for our kids and our future!

Lorraine Perryman & Chris Cole are the co-chairs of Odessans for Education.