Petrolia/Byers School Consolidation Overwhelmingly Passes

    For months now the communities of Petrolia and Byers have been talking about combining forces and consolidating. Saturday folks in both communities took to the polls to let their voices be heard on the issue. And with 90 percent of voters saying "yes", the consolidation will move forward.
    More than 600 people voted on the consolidation issue, with the overwhelming majority saying yes to combining the two districts. And for the students this move definitely gets an "A".
    It's a 112 year old school, and this week marks its final classes. For Byers Junior Taylor Dunn, the feeling is bittersweet.
    "I think I am going to be sad, but I think a lot of people are going to be sad that it's closing because a bunch of them have gone their whole lives," said Dunn.
    Like many rural schools, the enrollment at Byers has been shrinking year by year. Over the 2011/2012 school year, only 43 students were in attendance. And while the student population at Petrolia remains strong, educators there didn't want to turn their backs on students regardless of which district they were in. Now,students in petrolia say they're eager to welcome in the new students from Byers.
    "I am pretty excited about it because we get a lot of new students a lot of new teachers and I think it will be a really positive thing for our school," said Abbi Armour, Petrolia Freshman.
    "I think they are so little they will fit in with us because we are not too big of a school and they know a lot of us and I think they will fit in pretty good," said  Macy Adkins, Petrolia Freshman.
    But Byers student Taylor Dunn says while she may be excited, she's also nervous.
    "I have never been to another school, so I think it's going to be nerve racking going in and making new friends," said Dunn.
    A common feeling for any teen transferring to a new school, but one which may ease as the "new" becomes normal.
    According to the consolidation agreement, there will be co-valedictorians and salutatorians, one from each school for the next two years. Also, Byers employees will be given first consideration for any opening in Petrolia. And the Byers school building will be turned over to the city.

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