Consolidation Confusion

Parents at Byers ISD are still not sure where there kids will be going next year.

Both the Petrolia and Byers districts are pushing for consolidation, but some residents might not be on board with the plans.

No matter how residents in either town vote on Saturday, May 12th election, students will not be going to Byers next year.  Voters will help decide where students go next school year.  Byers and Petrolia both have to vote on the issue.

Byers Superintendent Kim Childs said if the consolidation passes in both towns, Petrolia will have to accept all students from Byers ISD.  If people vote against the merger in either town, Byers parents will have the burden of deciding where their kids will go to school.  Parents may apply to Petrolia, Henrietta or any other school outside the district.

Childs said, "If the consolidation issue fails then each district may accept or reject students."

He said from talking to both the Byers and Petrolia school boards, both feel that the merger would be in the best interest of the district and the children.  He feels the consolidation would provide a smooth transition for students who would have to move from Byers to Petrolia.

Not only will voters decide where Byers students go, they will also decide where their tax dollars will be spent.  A no vote could have hard earned money going to other parts of the state.

If just one town shoots down the consolidation measure, the decision on where Byers tax money will go will be completely up to the state.

"If it fails, that money is gone," Childs said.

If voters in either Petrolia or Byers do not pass the consolidation agreement, both tax money and state funding may be lost.

"The state has an incentive if you consolidate.  They have an incentive package that is about $38,000 a year for about ten years."

That is a total of about $400,000 the consolidated school district would never see.  What's more is that if voters decide against the merger the issue will go to the state  and the tax money will be in the states hands.

"The state would redistribute that money in the state of Texas as they decided, but it would not stay here in Byers."

Petrolia wouldn't see it either.  Both ISD's hope voters understand the impact a vote against consolidation would have on families and the communities.

Consolidation would make sure tax dollars and state funding continues to benefit Byers kids by going to the Petrolia district.

"The money is pooled from the old Byers school district and the Petrolia school district, all that money goes together," Childs said.

He said it even looks like taxes could decrease for both towns.  Childs said what's most important is that voters make an informed vote.

"Go vote on May the 12th and think about what's going to best for you and for your children and for the long run," Childs urged.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6.