Land dispute impacting two Texoma school Districts

Land dispute impacting two Texoma school Districts

BAYLOR, COUNTY (KAUZ) - Seymour and Olney Independent School Districts were presented with a petition to annex 34.89 square miles of land, located in Baylor County, from the Olney school district to Seymour ISD.

The petition was signed by five out of a total of nine registered voters from the area.
Doctor Greg Roach, the superintendent of Olney, said if the 34.89 square miles is annexed to Seymour ISD, his district can lose up to $60,000 a year in tax revenue.
        "That's a significant loss for anyone, especially a district our size," said Dr. Roach.
In order for the petition to pass, both districts must conduct a hearing.
School officials in Seymour had one April 21st and passed the petitioners request to detach the land.
Now, the Olney school board members must do the same.
Dr. Roach said the district will fight for their land in order to continue getting the tax revenue.

Although, he said he is not sure why this issue is even being brought up in the first place.
        "The reason is really, other than maybe from a personal standpoint, inconsequential to me. I have to work in the best interest of the district," said Dr. Roach.
Bob Young, who owns 1,000 acres of land in the area in question, said he did not sign the petition.

However, he does admit the property taxes are lower in Seymour, but reassures that is not issue.

Young said his family goes to Seymour schools, and he would like to see his taxes go to the same district.
Kim Martin, who spoke at the Seymour ISD's special meeting last Thursday, said there is no significant financial impact to either district.
Martin said the taxes total to about $38,000 and believes nothing is being taken away from students.

Dr. Roach, on the other hand, disagrees with the amount of taxes and the impact it will have on his students.
        "It's money we will lose, have to make up and rework the budget. On top of the money, it's going to cost us to address this issue," said Dr. Roach.
Money he said can be used for educational purposes.

Dr. Roach adds he is worried about the precedent this will set for other land owners.
Olney ISD officials have already hired an attorney and will conduct a hearing to determine their decision about the land annexation on May 9th at 5:30 p.m. in the Olney High School auditorium.
If Olney school board officials do not approve to detach the land, this issue will then go to the Texas Commissioner of Education.

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