Voters within Ector County will decide on a school bond for Ector County Independent School District during the next election to be held – with one proposition funding the building of a new high school to serve northeast Odessa (Parks Bell area) and the other portion of the bond funding maintenance for existing schools and a new career and technical school.

The ECISD website gives an overview of the bond information, including information that the bond would constitute a tax increase of $12 a month for a home value of $148,000. Information obtained from the Odessa Board of Realtors indicates the average home value in Ector County is $249,100 as of February 2022, or roughly $100,000 more. 

Throughout the meetings held with the Bond Committee, a consensus showed that families and students have loyalty to Permian and Odessa High School. The previous Bond from 2012 spent a large portion of the $125 million in renovating and adding onto both schools to house the 9th graders being added in. Now those campuses are overpopulated according to some members of the Bond Committee and action needs to be taken to alleviate crowding.

The Bond Committee, which was comprised of a large number of school employees and local residents, punted the final bond proposal to the Board of Trustees to finish out at the January board meeting after a push poll commissioned by the district of 1,000 voters indicated the larger amount of $700 to $800 million would not likely pass when put forth to voters. 

The Bond Committee officials ultimately listed various costs and needs, with facility life cycle repairs of $175 million; a new CTE facility for $70 million; technology upgrades of $33 million; and a new third comprehensive high school for $183 million would come to about $461 million and left it up to the Board to scale it down by the meeting held in February.

At a board meeting Tuesday, the board revealed and approved plans to build a new 6A level high school on 100 acres of land the district already owns located at the corner of Faudree Road and Yukon, and the new 2500-2800 student capacity school serving students in the Parks Bell area. 

One school board member described how Odessa High School and West Odessa schools have been experiencing more student growth than Permian High School and that “we know we will need another high school” in West Odessa. Superintendent Scott Muri responded stating that the next school bond will be aimed at building a new high school in West Odessa to service the high levels of population growth in that area. 

According to the school website, voters will choose between two separate propositions when they head to the polls, with the maintenance funding and the construction of a new career and technical education center (CTE school) at a cost of $70 million on Proposition A, and the new High School in Northeast Odessa being on Proposition B. 

Odessa Headlines previously reported last year after a Bond Committee meeting was held at New Tech High School, which is ECISD’s current CTE campus, the school itself is underutilized – with only 300 positions in the 1200 student capacity school being in use. 

When asked about underutilized campuses, Bond Committee members told Odessa Headlines that not only was underutilization not discussed during their meetings to form a bond proposal, but since it was not “part of their charge” there would be no discussion on the topic. 

The propositions on the ballot will be listed as follows: 

Proposition A, $215,255,000 which would include:

  • Maintenance & life-cycle repairs/replacement for school district buildings ($130,255,000)
    • Various projects for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire & life safety, and others at schools and auxiliary buildings
  • Construction of a new Career & Technical Education (CTE) Center ($70 million)
    • Construction of a new CTE center; classroom and lab space for programs like welding, construction, health science, automation & process technology, HVAC, plumbing, and others; estimated at 150,000 square feet; includes furniture, fixtures, and equipment
  • Classroom technology upgrades ($15 million)
    • Classroom and/or campus audio, visual and multimedia refresh or additions

Proposition B, $183,000,000 for a new comprehensive high school

  • Construction of a new high school; designed for 2,500-2,800 student capacity; estimated at 400,000 square feet; includes furniture, fixtures, and equipment

Early voting begins on April 25 and Election Day is May 7. 

Note: Editor Matt Stringer contributed to this story.

Dottie Chavez

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