Byers trustees propose considerations for agreement with Petrolia ISD

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By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

With time running short for Byers Schools, and Petrolia again open to the idea of consolidation, BISD Superintendent Kim Childs sought the direction of his school board last week.

During the Dec. 15 regular meeting of the board, Childs asked trustees to review a list on considerations to be presented to Petrolia ISD. Almost all of the items mentioned were presented during the first round of talks between the two districts, before Petrolia pulled out.

Childs provided board members with a handout outlining the benefits of consolidation for Petrolia ISD.

Based on data from November, consolidation of the two schools would benefit Petrolia ISD by $514,600. The district would see an increase of $464,000 to its maintenance and operations revenue from local and state sources, and increase of $12,600 in interest and sinking funds. The district would receive a consolidation incentive from the state in the amount of $38,000 per year for a period of 10 years.

If voters in both districts do not approve consolidation, said Childs, Clay County Commissioners will assign all of the Byers ISD property and debt to Petrolia and Henrietta ISD’s, as prescribed under chapter 13 of the Texas Education Code.

Consolidation would not effect property taxes paid by the residents of either district. Byers ISD resident pay $1.17 per $100 in value in maintenance and operations and 8 cents in interest and sinking, the amount paid toward debt, while Petrolia ISD residents pay $1.04 in maintenance and operations and 21 cents in interest and sinking.  Both add up to a combined rate of $1.25 per $100 in value.

Byers ISD trustees are requesting several considerations to be included in any agreement with Petrolia ISD. The board is asking for co-valedictorian and salutatorian, one of each representing Byers High School, for two year; and that PISD will grant interviews for qualified Byers ISD employees if positions become available within the first year of consolidation.

They ask that PISD increase the number of tuition students to accommodate Byers children that do not qualify for pre-K or Head Start. The move would allow parents of 3 and 4-year-olds in Byers access to childcare that is not otherwise available in the area.

The final consideration requested is that the BISD facilities be sold to the Byers Improvement Group, a community development organization, for $10. In consolidation, Petrolia ISD would take responsibility of the building unless it is sold. While the BISD facilities are an asset to the community, Childs explained that, in a fiscal sense, they are a liability to both districts.

The board discussed several issues that will have to be dealt with during consolidations, including the Byers FFA chapter, shop equipment, buses, technology equipment, football field bleachers, books and athletic equipment.

BISD hopes to complete consolidation by the start of the next fiscal year, July 1, 2012.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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