Petrolia Board Discusses Byers Merger

Right now, the future of the Byers Independent School District is on the table yet again. Petrolia board members met Thursday night to discuss consolidation with Byers ISD. The State of Texas plans to close the Byers school district in the coming year due to low enrollment numbers.

Talks had broken down months ago. Things are back at square one on the drawing board but moving forward. Byers sent a new list of things they wanted out of the deal to Petrolia. Byers originally wanted to keep an elementary school open in town but that wasn't going to work for Petrolia.

The new list of desires is more manageable. Byers ask for there to be a co-valedictorian for the first two years. They also ask that they be able to keep trophies. Byers also wants to keep the agricultural facilities open in town so students can have closer access to animals.

Byers officials want current employees to be able to apply for any jobs within the Petrolia ISD. All things the Petrolia Board said were no problem.

There are still some things to hammer out. The Petrolia Board does not need or want the Byers buildings and the liabilities that come with them. There was discussion about leaving the building along with kitchen and library facilities to a new nonprofit called the Byers Growth Group. All those things that still need to be discussed between the boards as the talks continue.

Petrolia ISD Board President Todd Anderson said he's hopeful things will work out. "The consolidation talks look really good right now I believe that we will come to an agreement that will benefit our children in both districts," he said.

The Petrolia Board will meet again Monday night for a procedural vote needed to take steps forward.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6