Neighboring school districts in west Texas won approval last week for the largest GO bond requests in their histories. Midland Independent School District won 61% approval rate for a $163 million bond-financed plan to renovate and improve the district's 24 elementary schools and add three elementary schools to accommodate enrollment growth. Approval will require a property tax increase of $60 per year for a residence appraised at $150,000, the district said. Voters had approved only four of the past 10 school bond requests by Midland Independent School District before last week. The last successful referendum was for $67 million in 2003. The Midland district's $110 million of outstanding GO debt has underlying ratings of AA from Standard & Poor's and  Aa2 from Moody's Investors Service, enhanced to Triple-A with coverage by the Texas Permanent School Fund. Ector County Independent School District, immediately west of Midland, won approval from more than 63% of voters for its $129.8 million proposal GO bond proposal. The district, which includes Odessa, will build three new elementary schools and shift to a middle-school model that will require new facilities. David Finley, district director of operations, said work will begin soon on the new schools. Ector County Independent School District's credit is rated Aa2 by Moody's and AA by Standard & Poor's, enhanced to Triple-A by the state program.

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