City of Byers shows interest in BISD facilities

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By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

The City of Byers could move its operations into the Byers school facilities if voters approve the consolidation of Byers ISD and Petrolia ISD.

BISD trustees met with representatives from the city council, the Byers Improvement Group and Byers VFD Thursday night. After some discussion on what would be included with the school, Mayor Bob Lawrence told the board of the city’s intentions.

“We realize that this is relevant to (consolidation) passing,” said Lawrence.

Byers and Petrolia school districts have agreed “in principal” on a consolidation agreement, and will make the final decision in a joint board meeting Jan. 26. The 6 p.m. meeting will be held at Petrolia Elementary.

An approval of the agreement by both school boards would hand the matter over to voters, with a proposition in the May 12 school board election.

If voters approve of the consolidation, Petrolia ISD will take possession of the facilities, and has the option of donating or selling the buildings and grounds to the municipality in which it is located, or to a non-profit organization. Petrolia ISD has no intention to hold classes at the school.

Petrolia ISD would retain anything inside the school that could be used for the betterment of the students, but items that have no educational value, such as trophies and school memorabilia, could stay in its current location, including maintenance equipment.

“We just want to keep it in the community as long as we can, to let the people of Byers continue to use the school,” said Shannon Nelms.

School board member Weldon Craig suggested a “conglomerate” of the city and Byers Improvement Group take the building. It was suggested that the facility could be used for city offices and maintenance barn, as well as a community center and even a library, once again making the school an asset to the town.

It’s to our advantage, in light of what’s to come,” said Craig of consolidation.

If voters do not approve the consolidation, Byers ISD will go dormant and, after one year, county commissioners would be charged with assigning BISD to another district or splitting it between districts.

The consolidation agreement must be approved by April 16, giving residents of both district 25 days to review the contract.

Byers ISD is on track to closing is final year without debt, even with needed roof repairs. Childs said he would not feel comfortable turning the facility over to another entity without the repairs.

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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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