ECISD Superintendent Proposes $129 Million Infrastructure Bond

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- A special board meeting was called together Wednesday night at Ector County Independent School District Administration Building. Superintendent Hector Mendez is proposing a $129,750,000 bond to create three new middle schools and expand the two already existing high schools.

A representative from an ECISD community group went in front of the Board of Trustees to report what they've found to be the most essential changes needed within the district. All their information came straight out of community focus groups held in May.

ECISD Community Group Representative, Craig Van Amburgh, says the focus groups heavily discussed the idea of moving to a middle school concept.

"Almost everyone said it made sense to seriously consider moving to middle schools," Amburgh said.

The district currently has a junior high model in place which includes 9th graders at those campuses. The middle school concept would take its place and reposition 9th graders.

ECISD Spokesperson, Mike Adkins, tells NewsWest 9, "Middle schools would include 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade. That's a middle school. The high schools would include 9th through 12th graders."

In short, freshmen would be moving in with the older kids.

"What we're proposing is that we'd move these freshmen to the existing high schools," Mendez said.

The district and most community members think that this type of shift would help better align students with state standards of curriculum.

The population boom has been great for the economy but it has also created overcrowding in the classrooms. The district believes the middle school concept may offer some relief.

Mendez says, "The 9th graders at the westside schools would go to Odessa High School and the kids in the eastside schools would go to Permian High School."

There is some hesitation amongst the community as to how this would affect the future of high school sports.

Van Amburgh says, "Some people in Odessa are concerned that doing this would cause the school district to go from playing 5A football or sports to 4A, which is a smaller class."

Superintendent Mendez wants to build three new elementary schools and expand the two existing high schools, but it all comes with a cost to taxpayers.

To turn these talks into a reality, a bond proposal of $129,750,000 will need to be put on the November election ballot.

The board has until August 17th to decide if it wants to move forward.