ECISD BOND: Why build in East Odessa?

ECISD high schools are drastically overcrowded. Voters will soon have the ability to solve the problem.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 1:23 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - The ECISD bond election is May 7, and Ector County residents will choose whether or not to build a new high school and make other district improvements.

Residents will vote on a $400 million bond, which includes everything from increased funding for school maintenance to a new career center to a new high school.

But some residents are worried that the new school, slated for a 100-acre plot of land near parks ranch in East Odessa, would not serve the entire community.

Mainly, residents in the south and west sides of the county are worried they’re getting the short end of the stick.

“I would say the school needs to be more central to Odessa, maybe North Andrews Highway or even West Odessa,” said Jamie Foreman, manager of Odessa’s Accountability Project. “We’ve got 50,000 people in West Odessa. Why are we not building out there?”

But supporters of the bond say there’s a good reason for the location. The ECISD owns the land near the Parks Bell Ranch area, smack in the middle of the county’s fastest-growing region. The district is also burdened by surveys showing residents they’ll only pay for one school, despite the district needing two.

“It is a recognition of population growth and with a complete understanding and commitment from our committee that another high school needs to be built in West Odessa,” said Odessands for Education Co-Chair Lorraine Perryman.

Both sides believe a new high school is necessary.

According to Perryman, Odessa and Permian are each nearly 1,500 students over the intended capacity.

But some people are also worried about the $130 million the bond allocates towards school maintenance, a vast amount by any measure.

“We have very old buildings in Ector County,” Perryman said. “The average age of a school building is 51 years of age. It takes a lot more money to take care of an old facility than a new facility.”

If both propositions pass, the bond creates a tax rate increase between $0.14 to $0.16. This turns into about $12/month for a homeowner with a $100,000 home.

There is no increase if you’re 65 or older because of homestead exemptions.

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