The Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) Bond Committee held their seventh meeting last week at the Permian High School cafeteria to discuss the results of a push poll the district commissioned to test the feasibility of placing a bond up for consideration before voters next year.  

One thousand respondents were chosen for the push poll survey, with the results showing that while voters think the district needs additional space and updated facilities, voters held a generally negative impression of school administration, opposed any tax increases, and were ultimately opposed to all three bond options the committee is considering. 

The push poll – where survey recipients are asked leading questions – was conducted by Haselice & Associates, Inc. mostly by extensive phone interviews.  Letters were also mailed to select voters. 

After the results were presented, Superintendent Scott Muri jokingly said he had hoped that he could introduce the Haselice employee who presented the results of the poll to the bond committee as “Santa Claus” but after seeing the unfavorable statistics from the respondents concerning the district and the bond proposals, introducing him as the “Grim Reaper” seemed more appropriate.

Voters were questioned regarding their potential support for three different potential bond amounts, ranging from $500 million to $700 million. 

The lowest amount, coming in at $500 million, saw 54 percent of respondents against, and 41% for. 

The mid-level amount ($600 million) saw an increase of opposition to 61 percent, with only 34 percent for. 

Lastly, the $700 million proposal saw the highest amount of opposition, coming in with an overwhelming 67 percent of respondents being opposed to the bond, versus only 29 percent approval. 

Some voters were then asked to describe in “their own words” why they would oppose the bond proposals. Two consistent reasons took a clear lead:  opposition to tax increases (25 percent) and criticism and a feeling of mismanagement of the school district (20 percent) .  Only 46 percent of respondents were asked this question. 

All voters were asked to answer how well they feel the district manages the money it has to operate the school – “Wastefully and ineffective” came in first place with 45 percent, and “as well as can be expected came in second with 31 percent. 

Support for two other distinctive issues was also polled including a $5 million bond proposal to fund improvements to Ratliff football stadium which was strongly opposed, with 65 percent saying they were against stadium improvements with only 29 percent reporting they were in favor.

Additionally, voters were questioned on what option they would support for building new schools to provide for future growth. 

59 percent of voters supported the option to build one or more new 2,500 student high schools on new sites, whereas 60 percent of voters opposed the idea of further expansions to  Permian and OHS campuses making them capable of holding 5,000 students on new locations while re-purposing the old locations. 

Notably, voters generally agreed that the condition of existing school buildings was in good/fair condition, with 53 percent agreeing that the district does need new buildings and classrooms. 

The ECISD Bond Committee will hold a “Deep Dive Discussion” on Tuesday, December 7th (time TBD) at the ECISD Administration Building, with another formal meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 16th, 6-8 pm at New Tech Odessa.

Dottie Chavez is from Odessa, Texas and serves as the public education reporter for Odessa Headlines.