A portion of the ECISD Bond Planning Committee met briefly on Monday, January 10, to discuss and review a final version of the bond proposal that was then put forth to ECISD Board of Trustees meeting on the following day – with the Bond Committee’s yearlong effort concluding with a punt to the board on how the final draft should look to the voters.

With polling data indicating a lack of support for bond proposals in the higher $500-$700 million range, the committee opted to go with a scaled-down version, however, much of the final details of the bond proposal will be left to the school board to craft, with the committee giving the board a wish-list of preferred items. 

Lorraine Perryman, who serves as Bond Advisory Co-Chair, explained how the district’s statistics left them “guesstimating” that something put forth to voters not exceeding $400 million would have a better chance at ultimately passing. 

Repair and replacement needs for existing facilities is the first spending issues cited by the committee’s proposal, which came in at $175,203,786 in spending needs. 

After repair and maintenance, a new career and technical education facility would be funded, coming in at $70,000,000. 

To accommodate future growth, the committee is also proposing a new (third) comprehensive high school, with a budget set at $183,000,000, which is the highest single expenditure cited on the proposal. 

Lastly, the recommendation list includes a budget of $44,542,857 in “technology upgrades,” which is characterized in the polling material as higher internet network speeds and updates to classroom technology. 

Overcrowding and meeting future projected student population growth was one of the main needs being cited, with a study showing a low estimated growth of 1,000 students total over the next 5 years for the entire district.  

Committee members indicated the bond committee was not allowed to consider underutilized campuses or student population management, rather, the committee was only allowed to consider student overpopulation in certain schools as part of its purview as tasked by the school board. 

Presenting the school board with over $470 million in requests, the bond committee put the request forward with a recommendation that the board tailor a bond proposal that falls at or under $400 million – leaving the board with a large task of cutting the proposal significantly down and identifying what projects to ultimately fund – despite the work of the bond committee.

The Board of Trustees has little time to craft the final proposal, with Superintendent Scott Muri stating that February 15 would be the target date to call for an election before the February 18 deadline to place a bond before voters on a May election date. 

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