Byers Independent School district's long time financial struggle is now hitting home hard. Right now the district is trying to figure out how to deal with massive cuts expected for the district this coming school year, and that could mean consolidation.
Byers ISD will be forced to shut its doors on the community if it does not find a solution soon. Right now the idea of consolidating is more prevalent then ever. Byers Superintendent Steve Wolf says, "with our enrollment and finance situation the way it is, that is a option the district and the community are exploring. It is a painful one to discuss because nobody wants to lose their community and school."
The superintendent also says that even before he first took his position, Byers ISD had been dealing with tight budget issues. Worst case scenario is that Byers Independent School District will be forced to close and consolidate with a nearby district for the 2012-2013 school year. Higher enrollment could save the school for two more years if student enrollment spikes above 90 students this August and September. Byers ISD would be able to operate for the 2012 school year.
Right now it's just a waiting game for parents. Parent Heather Brown says, "Its just something your going to have to deal with. You don't have a choice. Once the consolidation is upon us your going to have to say alright, do I want my kids to go to the school that we are consolidating with, or am I going to have to choose another one."
This past Monday members of the community gathered together along with Byers ISD staff to discuss all possible avenues the district and community might explore. But some residents like Zach Parker already drive the distance and drive their kids to a neighboring school district. Zach did comment on his concerns, "You have parents and students that don't want to consolidate, you have parents and students that do because they know what kind of opportunities it's going to open up for these kids. A larger school gets better funding, they have better scholastics, better programs, and better athletics."
Petrolia Independent School District is about five miles away from Byers ISD and would be the closet choice for parents. Newschannel six reached out to the Petrolia superintendent today to find out if they are willing to open their doors to Byers students, but they did not return our phone call.