News Roundup: Ector County Commissioners Approve Property Tax Hike

Ector County Commissioners voted Tuesday to raise the property tax rate by 6.5 percent. (Photo courtesy 401Kcalculator.org)

Midland and Odessa folks gave generously to Hurricane Harvey relief, Ector County ISD has a plan to improve struggling schools, and Ector County commissioners approved a property tax increase in this week’s news roundup.

Ector County Commissioners Approve Property Tax Increase

In a special meeting this week, Ector County Commissioners approved a 6.5 percent ad valorem tax rate increase, the Odessa American reported.

Commissioners said one of the biggest reasons was a $750,000 decline in county tax office revenue attributable to online auto registration – which reduced the amount of money the county gets.

The budget for the next fiscal year would have left the county with less than $5 million in the reserve fund, despite having cut 15 county jobs. County officials said that would last the count about 45 days if there was a major disaster.

The new budget will leave about $8 million in reserve. The county will collect $0.3871 per $100 valuation with the new increase. It was $0.37.

Ector County ISD Addresses Struggling Schools

With eight schools on the Texas Education Agency’s Improvement Required list, Ector County ISD is tasked with improving the schools before the agency steps in, the Odessa American reported.

The district has made inroads on the problem – last year the number was 12. All told, 33 campuses have attained the Met Standard status.

Two elementary schools – Zavala and Noel – and Ector Middle School have been on the IR list for four or more consecutive years. The district has been warned that if those schools don’t manage to make it out of that status with this school year’s STAAR results, the district will be faced with closing those campuses or having the TEA appoint a board of managers to govern the district.

District officials said they have set up supports with those schools with teams of instructional coaches that specialize in specific areas where those campuses have been hitting roadblocks.Those coaches train, plan and model lessons with the teachers, and co-teach. Data determines when the teams move on to another school.

Locals Give to Harvey Relief

Several local businesses, citizens, and organizations in the Midland-Odessa area have contributed to Hurricane Harvey relief, various news reports revealed.

Local CBS affiliate CBS-7 said that among the funds raised in their “Help Your Neighbor” campaign was $100,000 the Wood Family Foundation pledged on Tuesday.

John Bushman, with the Investment Corporation of American in Odessa, presented a $1 million check to the Red Cross the same day.