Byers School will be closing its doors at the end of the current school term.
This is a situation many regret deeply but it cannot be changed. It is going to happen in spite of anything that can be done.
There seem to be some concerns regarding the gift of the school building to the city of Byers should the consolidation take place on July 1. The consolidation is dependent upon registered voters in both districts voting in favor of the measure.
All property owners in the state of Texas are required to pay school taxes by law. Those property taxes will continue whether the school is open or not, but the rates cannot be raised at this time without a vote of the people. No district can arbitrarily increase their rate beyond the legal limits.
City property taxes for residents within the Byers city limits are currently at the legal roll back rate, which means they cannot be raised without the vote of the tax payers. Fees for water, sewer and trash pickup cover those services and are self-sustaining. They do not affect city taxes.
Should the city not be able to maintain the building it would be returned to the new Petrolia Consolidated School District. The city would no longer bear any responsibility in regard to the building.
The city hopes to keep the building in good shape and use it for the benefit of community members if at all possible. It would provide a place for functions of various kinds. Some might be sporting events, a library, family reunions, school reunions, community potluck suppers, concerts, receptions of various kinds, classes, etc.
The current bonded debt would be paid off right away by the new district and that would allow the city to lease any part of the building to a small industry or business to raise funds for maintenance. Fees might also be charged for some functions.
Unoccupied buildings tend to deteriorate very quickly and become an eyesore for the community. You don’t have to look very far to verify that fact.
Should the consolidation not take place the district would become dormant for one year, and nothing could be done with the property. After that time the commissioner’s court of Clay County would be summoned by the Commissioner of Education to divide the property in the district for the purpose of assigning property tax responsibility and school assignments for children living within the bounds of the district. If the consolidation vote does not pass all children living in the district will be considered transfer students regardless of where they attend school. No district will be required to take any child that they do not desire to have in their system or to provide transportation for any child living in the current Byers ISD district. Transfer students cannot participate in varsity sports until they have lived in a district for one year.
Approximately 120 children reside in the current Byers school district at this time. It is the obligation of the members of the community to see that those children become educated and are productive members of society. Won’t you help make this happen on May 12 by voting for the consolidation?
Most importantly about the school consolidation proposition:
We as the community of Byers need to preserve what the founders of our community built with their hands in 1907. Paid for by them through tuition for their kids to attend at first. Later, paid throughout time to the present with their school taxes.
Present time has taken away our school district but not our fight to prove our ability to be a strong community with rich heritage and tradition.
Vote “For” on the school consolidation proposition on May 12!
Micheal A. Kumor
City Council Member