OUR VIEW: Now is time to invest in our students

THE POINT: The time is now to step up for all students who attend ECISD schools. This bond makes sense and is something that must be done to not only shore up our schools but to put students on the path to success.

You are on a deadline. You only have until Oct. 10 to register to vote to cast a ballot in the upcoming election that will define what the Ector County Independent School District’s future will look like.

Will schools be updated with the latest in technology or left to limp along?

Will students who don’t want to go to college but who want to learn a trade be able to do so, or will they be waitlisted because those classes are full? A new career and technical ed center in South Odessa could open up possibilities.

Will special needs students have an adequate and needed place to learn life and job skills? A new transition learning center for special needs students could help set them up for success in this world.

Will a new West Odessa middle school help alleviate overcrowding at all middle schools? Or will we leave our students crammed into too little space?

Will safety and security upgrades be funded to make our students safer?

Will district Ag farm upgrades be possible to help students interested in those careers be successful?

Will maintenance and repairs touch virtually every single ECISD campus, or we will vote “No” and leave these buildings (many more than 60 years old) to the ravages of time and too many students?

The real question is what are we waiting for? This bond will not change the amount you pay in property taxes. We know the same old naysayers will be out there with the same old message.

But aren’t you tired of the same old, same old? Voting against this bond will not make these issues go away. It will only leave them to fester and to cost even more to fix later. And that is shameful, because it would do a grave disservice to the youth of our community — our future.

One of the critical obligations of parents is to do everything they can to help ensure their children receive the best education possible, because it sets them up for a bright and productive future. And by extension, this community has the responsibility to do everything it can to ensure we have the best public school system to help parents fulfill their obligation.

Every registered voter in Ector County should be voting in this election and voting for this bond, especially ECISD teachers and staff. If they did, the bond would easily pass. But the perennial naysayers are banking on this community’s poor track record in recent years of turning out for such elections. They know this plays to their favor, because all they have to do is rally just enough of their gang to defeat the measure on the ballot. The fact that not enough voters care enough to turn out and vote plays right into their cynical game plan. It’s time more people in this community start giving a damn about being more engaged.

Wouldn’t it be great if students had more options — especially in the career and technology pathway? Wouldn’t it be great if our service industries could find the people they need to help fuel and grow our local economy in a more efficient manner?

To drill it down, wouldn’t it be great if the hospitals had enough staff? Wouldn’t it be great if the folks changing your oil or making the hamburgers were equipped with the proper skills to do the job well?

Career and technical ed centers help do just that, and there simply isn’t enough room for all the students who want to take those classes.

Both the University of Texas Permian Basin and Odessa College have stepped up in major ways to help build pipelines of teacher and service industry talent. Now is the time for the parents of these students, and really all Odessans, to do ourselves a favor and help our school district modernize and reach students in bigger and better ways.

There is plenty of information at the ectorcountyisd.org website. Early voting starts Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 3. Election Day is Nov. 7.

The ECISD bond has three propositions, A, B and C. You don’t have to vote for all of them, but we hope you do vote for all three.

This is a moment in time for Odessa. This is the moment to the commitment (again, at no property tax increase) to invest in ECISD — to invest in the future of the students who will soon take their place in our workforce.

That workforce can be a great one with this investment.

We loved the guest view written for this week by the Rev. Dawn Weaks. “… there is still work to be done and there are still prayers to be prayed for ECISD. The staff, administration, and school board cannot do this work alone. They need us, the community, to understand the momentum of this moment. We have the opportunity to do so in our upcoming bond election. This bond is a no tax rate increase bond. All three proposals are desperately needed and long overdue.”

We couldn’t agree more. Get out and register. Get out and vote. Get out and help ECISD make our students the leaders of a bright future.