- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
“I did approach the presidents of the boards of Chisum and North Lamar and asked if they would be willing to sit down with us,” Board President George Fisher said at Monday’s Paris Independent School District board meeting. “Both boards declined.”
The board formed a subcommittee of Jenny Wilson, Rickey Richardson and Dr. Gordon B. Strom to research and report back within a few months. By district policy, Fisher is also a member.
“I’m disappointed they don’t want to sit down and meet with us,” Wilson said.
The district should look into the matter and really see what consolidation has to offer, Richardson said. Then PISD would have something to present to the other districts.
“To make a deal, you have to have something to make a deal with,” Richardson said. “Right now, we’re just talking about blue sky.”
Strom said he favored consolidation for the benefit of the students – a bigger, single district could offer more services and programs than individual, smaller districts. He also said it may become necessary because of tightening in the state budget, which he said will likely only continue to get worse.
“I think we should keep looking at it, because I’m concerned with the way the state’s going with taxes,” Strom said. “They’re trying to starve us to death so we have to.”
If that happens, Fisher said, the district suffers, which means the students suffer.
The key is to approach the other districts and discuss how they should proceed if Texas mandates consolidation down the road, as some other states have, Strom said.
“The potential of bringing it all back into one – bringing this town and this county back together 00 would be very positive,” Richardson said.
Consolidation doesn’t necessarily mean everyone goes to a single school, Richardson said. It could be possible to keep the schools as-is and simply merge the administration.
“A consolidated school district doesn’t necessarily mean we all become Wildcats or we all become Panthers,” Wilson said. “I think there’s some misconception out there about what consolidation looks like.”
By state law, in order for a consolidation effort to move forward with an election, the school boards involved have to agree – or a petition of at least 10 percent of registered voters in each district have to sign a petition.
“We’re a long ways from asking the voters,” Fisher said.