I attended that ECISD Board of Trustees special meeting to discuss the potential bond and wanted to give my perspective. In full disclosure, I was on the bond committee and I am a teacher with ECISD.
I have been skeptical of past bonds, but we are at a point where we have to do something to maintain facilities and create new opportunities for students to learn relevant skills.
I encourage everyone to look at the ECISD Bond website to see everything proposed in the bond. The main takeaways are that the district wants a new CTE Center, middle school, and funds to fix numerous maintenance issues. There is also proposed funding for fine arts, special education, athletics, technology, transportation, and agriculture.
1. Our schools have major maintenance issues that have to be addressed. This bond will address those issues. We can argue all day about why those maintenance issues exist, but that does not change the fact that they do exist. If we do not fix them now, we will have to replace buildings in the near future.
2. We need to address CTE training. I have heard many say that we have to prepare our students for the 21st century. Well, we are already a quarter of a way through the century and still trying to teach CTE in buildings built halfway through the 20th century. We need a space to teach our students relevant skills that they can use in an ever-changing world. Our West Texas economy needs students with these skills.
3. This bond proposal addresses the students that may not have been historically addressed in the past. This bond includes money for our choirs, bands, and other fine arts programs. When is the last time we addressed them in a meaningful way? This bond includes money for a Transition Learning Center. This is a center that teaches real-world life skills to students in special education. The students learn vocational skills and daily living skills that set them up to live their most independent and successful lives. This money includes money to fix an extremely outdated agriculture farm. We all know that we need more students interested in farming and ranching if we want to continue to feed our population throughout the century.
3. One argument I hear is that the public does not trust ECISD because of how past ECISD leadership handled funds and maintenance. I too have been skeptical of past administrations, but those administrations are gone. Attend a school board meeting. We have three new school board members that are asking hard questions. At the meeting last night, I saw some robust debate, which tells me that the school board members are not just rubber-stamping everything.
4. This is the most important takeaway for me: the school board has until Aug. 21 to decide what is in the bond. That means if you have questions, comments, complaints or concerns NOW is the time to act. The school board members plan on scheduling four community meetings to hear from the community before they finalize what is put in the bond. Show up. Speak up. They sincerely want to hear what you have to say. I attend a lot of meetings in town involving our local governments. I usually know 90% of the citizens there because it is the same 5-20 people who show up. The only way to make a difference and let your voice be heard is to share your voice. The email addresses and phone numbers of every school board member are posted publically at https://www.ectorcountyisd.org/domain/125 . Tell them what you think. They really do want to know.