MISD Trustees considering adding $569 million bond to ballot

MIDLAND, Tx. (KOSA) The Midland ISD Master Planning Committee presented its recommendation for a $569 million bond to the Midland ISD board of trustees Monday evening.

The board will think about the presentation this month and then vote at the August 19th meeting whether or not to put the bond on the November ballot.

If the school board votes to have the bond on the ballot, and voters pass the bond, middle schools and high schools in Midland will experience changes.

If the bond is passed, two new high schools will be built, probably on the east and west sides of town. The high schools would each serve 2,400 9th through 12th grade students. Midland Lee High School would be renovated and expanded. A kitchen, cafeteria, gymnasiums, locker rooms, fieldhouse and practice facilities will be added. Classrooms and laboratories will be improved.

The district will then have a total of three high schools.

Midland High School will be re-purposed into two separate schools on one campus. Current San Jacinto students would be relocated to the MHS campus. This move would increase capacity from 850, to 1,140, 6th through 8th grade students.

The second school on the MHS campus will be a 6th through 12th grade specialized academy (CTE, STEM, Young Men’s Academy, Petroleum Academy, etc.). This side of the campus would accept 100 students per grade level.

The three other middle schools (Abell, Alamo, and Goddard), along with Lee Freshmen and Midland Freshmen, would then be turned into a total of six middle schools for 6th through 8th grade students.

The committee also recommended turning the San Jacinto campus into a Young Women’s Leadership Academy. This move would allow 700 students to attend school at the campus.

The committee focused on utilizing all buildings, and said this plan would not make the district build any new middle schools. Moving 6th graders onto the middle school campuses also allows Pre-K programs to expand at elementary schools, according to the committee.

Midlander Courtney Lunsford went to San Jacinto Middle School. Lunsford’s son Cole will be attending the same school in the fall. Lunsford spoke in favor of the bond, partially because of class sizes. 

“My son just graduated 6th grade with 24 kids in his class. And going to a school that has a capacity of 850, and the enrollment this year being a thousand, is concerning. I think it’s not fair for the children or the teachers. I don’t think it’s a good learning environment, I don’t think it’s safe. And SJ is just a small example of that. There are three other secondary schools in town that have the exact same problem,” she said.

Courtney’s son Cole also spoke at the meeting. Cole Lunsford said he wants this bond approved and passed so his younger sister can attend a newly-built high school. 

“I know this bond won’t create a bigger and better junior high for me and my friends. But it will provide us with a new high school and bigger and better schools for our younger siblings and the future of Midland,” he said.

The bond improvements also involve security updates, like fire alarm upgrades, security cameras and security fencing among other things.

One parent with four children in MISD schools, Olivia Ortiz, said she hopes the bond is accepted and passed.

“Currently, the elementary schools have security measures I’m happy about as a parent. But the middle and high schools don’t,” she said.  

In the meeting, the committee said a homeowner with a $300,000 house would see a difference of less than a hundred dollars from what they’re seeing now. The committee said that’s because that homeowner would have already had their taxes reduced by $210 a year because of changes in property tax legislation.

The Midland Facility Planning Committee is made up of 39 people from across the community and in the district. The committee took into account that the average age of MISD schools are over 50 years old, and that many schools are overcrowded and using portable classrooms. Some locations, like Midland High School and San Jacinto, cannot expand on their current sites, forcing some changes to accommodate growth. The committee studied growth projections and its plan adds 4,700 seats throughout the district.