Midland ISD Board Chairman speaks on bond process after Ector County ISD ballot box reverse

0

Midland ISD board chairman Bryan Murry said there were lessons to be learned from bond losses in Odessa and Greenwood.

He also said a tie is community specific and that Midland ISD’s review of facilities and education needs will continue despite recent election results nearby.

He told the Reporter-Telegram that political outcomes elsewhere are not as important in a discussion with the community as what happens with educational outcomes. District leaders are optimistic that the number of failing and D-rated campuses will be reduced. Murry said this week that the district will charge even a penny if academic improvements and maintenance upgrades are needed.


On Saturday, the Ector County Office of Elections reported that Ector County’s ISD Proposal A (which would have provided funding for various school maintenance projects, as well as funding for construction of a new vocational and technical school campus) failed 61.45% to 38.55.

Proposal B (which would have called for the construction of a new high school in northeast Odessa) failed by almost 30 percentage points (64.75% to 35.25).

A long-term facilities planning document presented to the Midland ISD board earlier this year showed that top-ranked capital improvement projects included:

  • General campus improvements – mechanical, electrical, plumbing (include a minimum of $50 million as identified by the Facilities Assessment and Operations team),
  • Two new secondary schools (from 9th to 12thand grades),
  • New Elementary School in Northeast Midland, Lone Star Trail (Kindergarten-Fifth),
  • Reallocate the Midland Freshman campus to a college (include a minimum of $6 million for general campus improvements identified by the Facilities Assessment and Operations team),
  • Convert the Legacy High School campus to a college (include a minimum of $20 million for general campus improvements identified by the Facilities Assessment and Operations team).

A bond in Midland is not expected until May 2023 at the earliest, and Murry said it would be important for MISD officials to base their case on a realistic demand (in terms of money) and buy-in from the community to the need to improve these facilities.

“One of the things I learned from the tie in 2019 was that the community wasn’t a big enough part of the process,” Murry said. He pointed to outreach efforts in communities like Arlington where those who host forums and compile information are third parties. “The community will support us if we give them a reason to support us.”

The board chair and North West Midland representative said Midlanders will hear more about the district’s vocational and technical education offerings in June and about test results in the district at the end of of summer.

He said a bond committee will be set up and that committee will then decide “how much to bite at once” or whether to “break it up into pieces”.

Voters in Ector County turned down more than $400 million in district demands last weekend. Nearly 60% of voters rejected Greenwood’s $140 million bond in November 2021. Midland ISD’s bond in 2019 included $569 million in projects.

When Murry was asked when is the right time to place a bond in front of a community, he replied, “I’m an accountant; there is never a good time to raise taxes. He went on to note that it’s hard to know when the right time is, but interest rates will only go up and construction costs will certainly rise “exponentially”.

He said the end result of facility improvements — whether at one point or over a period of time — is that freshmen should be on the high school campus and sixth-graders should join students. seventh and eighth grade college.

“It’s an important part of the process,” Murry said of the realignment, noting that the positives of the moves include continuity of education, ability for students to take advantage of electives, the district being able to make better use of resources and reduce the number of students. transition to a new campus.

A main point of Murry’s look back at past elections was that process matters, especially district actions. These actions include classroom performance, improving outcomes in addressing maintenance issues with the current budget (such as for roof and HVAC repair projects), inclusion of those who wish to provide feedback on what is needed and the value that leaders should show when a plan is presented to the community.

Share.

Comments are closed.