Coming Together: Byers and Petrolia Consolidation

Some Texoma families will have to make a big adjustment this fall.  Thursday night, Petrolia's school board looked over and approved an agreement to consolidate with Byers ISD.  Byers approved the measure Tuesday night.  Both districts worked on the plan together with an attorney. The consolidation is something Byers ISD's Superintendent Kim Childs says has to happen.

"It became clear that this was going to be the last year that Byers would be able to fund an entire school year," says Childs.

The Texas Legislature cut Byers school funds at the beginning of the year making consolidation the only option.

"It's looked to me like the best option was going to be consolidation," Childs says.

School officials in both districts worked on a plan for months, but there is no guarantee Byers employees will have a job with the consolidated ISD.

Childs says, "If there are openings in the consolidated school district that the employees at Byers will have an opportunity to interview for those positions."

Even so, Childs feels this is the best move for both schools.

"It's going to add about $500,000 to the consolidated school district," he explains.

He says by law, the state will pay the consolidated district $36,000 a year for 10 years.  That's on top of the money Petrolia ISD already gets.  And the tax base for the Byers ISD will transfer to Petrolia.

One Petrolia resident says she hopes the consolidation is approved for the sake of the children.  Tammie Burkle, a Petrolia resident says, "I think it is important whatever is best for the community is best for the whole region.  The kids from Petrolia and Byers all know each other already its not going to be like transporting them miles down the road."

The next step is to get the consolidation agreement information out the public.  Petrolia's school board says they will send emails and written information to parents and all residents so they can be ready to vote on the measure on May 12th.  Residents in Byers will also have to vote to approve the consolidation.

If it is passed by both cities, the consolidation will go into affect July 1st.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6.