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Trustees approve application for new solar projects

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held its regular board meeting for February on the evening of the 19th. A recap of the agenda is below.


  1. Call to order.


  1. Sam Houston Elementary students Ruben Guzman & Isaiah Mendoza led the pledges of allegiance.


  1. Reverend Todd Starnes from First Assembly of God gave the invocation.


  1. Special Presentations included the introduction of 9 All-State Musicians, recognition of the Odessa High School Mariachi Broncho troupe for making the UIL State Contest, and presentation of the finalists for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 13.


  1. Verification of compliance with Open Meetings Act.


  1. Citizen’s request to address the Board. Dr. Adrian Vega told Trustees about the upcoming event Celebrating Champions of Education on March 26. All ECISD employees are invited to come and enjoy a meal, door prizes and a speaker – just as a way for the community to say thank you for serving in public education. The event will be at the Wagner-Noel Performing Arts Center, starting at 5:30 p.m.


  1. Report Items


A. Trustees received an update on the progress of projects funded by the Tax Ratification Election in November. The roofing projects from the 2016 hailstorm should be complete in about one month. The roofing projects from the 2017 hailstorm are just getting started, with two bids already awarded and two more under review now. The equipment for the controlled access entrances will be ordered soon, and installation should take about two months after that is received. Fencing for elementary schools that need it will begin this semester. Four new yellow school buses are in, three are being outfitted and will arrive in a few weeks, and the Request for Proposals for lease buses will close next week.


  1. Consent Agenda. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve the Consent Agenda, which is a group of routine or previously discussed items presented for approval all at once. This month’s Consent Agenda included the approval of the calendars for the 2019-2020 school year.


  1. Action Items


A. Trustees chose not to go into in closed session.


B. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve an application for a solar project (named Rockhound Solar A) planned for southwest Ector County near Penwell. Origis Energy USA is the company leading this project – and the second one in the next item – and it will be seeking tax abatements in the form of limited appraisal valuation, according to Chapter 313 of the Texas Property Tax Code, for both projects. The land they are planning to use is undeveloped and brings very little tax revenue to the school district. Both facilities would be operational by mid-to-late 2021. In December, Trustees approved a similar application from Oberon Solar LLC.


C. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve an application for a second solar project (Rockhound Solar B) being planned for that same area.


D. Trustees voted 7-0 to hire the firm Moak, Casey & Associates to guide the school district through this application process. The energy company, Origis Energy USA, will pay the school district a fee that will cover the cost of the consulting agreement.


E. There were no purchases over $50,000 to review.


F. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve Board Policy CCA (Local) Local Revenue Sources Bond Issues. It sets forth guidelines for the issuance and management of debt related to bond issues.


G. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve the Quarterly Investment Report.


H. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve the extension of the Depository Contract.


  1. Trustees spent about 20 minutes in closed session discussing hiring.


A. Trustees voted 7-0 to hire Dalia Benavides as an executive director for secondary education. Mrs. Benavides has 30 years of experience in education, including a stint here in ECISD 25 years ago. Her experience includes serving as an elementary principal, junior high school principal, secondary curriculum specialist, and a consultant. She is a graduate of Odessa High School.


  1. This item was postponed.


  1. Information Items


  1. Request for Future Agenda Items


The meeting adjourned at 7:38 p.m.