Board approves early college high school name change

The Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees approved changing the name of Falcon Early College High School, reorganized with new officers and heard a budget update following the legislative session.
Chief Financial Officer David Harwell said Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3 Tuesday, which means an increase in state funding for public schools.
HB 3 brings a mandatory raise using at least 30 percent of the extra revenue for employee raises, the board recap said.
Of that 30 percent, of the extra revenue, 75 percent must be used on raises for teachers, librarians, nurses and certified counselors.
The other 25 percent is for other, non-administration employees.
The law also requires a decrease in a school district’s maintenance and operations tax rate. ECISD’s will drop from $1.17 per $100 valuation to $1.0684 per $100 valuation.
District officials anticipate an overall increase of about $25 million for the general fund budget compared to 2018-19. They will be attending meetings in Austin this week to learn more about HB 3’s impact and implementation, the recap said.
Trustees will discuss the budget twice more this month, on June 18 and June 26.
The district’s tax rate is made up of maintenance and operations and interest and sinking for debt payments.
Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Howard said employees can expect pay increases of at least 2.5 percent. She said the district plans to make its recommendation to the board June 18 or June 26.
Interim Superintendent Jim Nelson said the district will be in good shape this year and next, but there is no sense about whether the state will continue to fund at the same level in the next biennium.
The board approves a general fund, food service and interest and sinking budget. Harwell said the general fund is expected to increase by about $25 million over last year.
He said the district would be funded at current year values.
In other business, the board elected Donna Smith as president; Delma Abalos as vice president; and Tammy Hawkins as secretary.
Trustees also approved changing the name of Falcon Early College High School to Odessa Collegiate Academy.
Opened four years ago, Falcon Early College High School offers students a chance to earn up to 60 hours of college credit while still in high school. It was located on the University of Texas Permian Basin campus and moved last summer to Odessa College.
At OC, it joins OCTECHS, an early college high school that enables students to earn an associate degree and/or certifications while still in high school.
Falcon ECHS administration and OC representatives worked together on everything from the proposed name to school colors (Columbia Blue and black) and the mascot (a wolf). In July and August, OC will begin to build signage to place on the building.
The board also voted 7-0 to approve casualty and property insurance.
Due to storms and claims in recent years, the recap said, ECISD’s property insurance carrier non-renewed the district’s coverage this year.
Representatives from the Arthur J. Gallagher Company presented a proposal to the school board. The proposal will increase the district’s annual premium from $1.3 million to $1.9 million, an increase of about 45 percent, the recap said.
They also approved a request for out-of-state travel to New York City for the Permian High School Panther Paws to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.