While the oil boom has been great for the West Texas economy, it has presented myriad challenges for school districts. Ector County Independent School District is no different, now bursting at the seams as students move into the area.
That has led to a number of population related issues. Students moving into West Odessa are now being bused to school inside Odessa, heading past closer campuses because they can't fit more students. Those elementary schools that are on septic tanks can't fit more students because the infrastructure can't handle it.
That led to ECISD proposing a dramatic change. The district proposed a $129 million bond that would improve existing elementary schools and also construct three new elementary campuses in the area that are seeing the largest population growth.
This bond also expands Odessa and Permian high schools, allowing 9th graders to move into the main high school buildings. This means that the high school campuses must be expanded to allow these extra students to make the move, and the bond money will help with that as well.
ECISD also believes that switching to the middle school model will be good for the district.
While it was a night of celebration for ECISD, and Odessans for Kids, the PAC formed to help raise awareness and support for the bond, there is still a lot of work to be done.
"Even though we will have new schools soon, the fight that the community is making to improve education in Odessa doesn't end tonight on election night," said Brooks Landgraf from Odessans for Kids. "We have to continue to support our schools through our students. We have to be involved and active community members. We have to let the school board know exactly what we want to do."
A time table has not been set for construction. That now will begin with the funding in place.