Brookesmith ISD casts doubts of closure aside and turns its fortunes around


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    Two years ago, the writing on the wall at the Brookesmith Independent School District spelled doom and gloom, but the school district's superintendent said that the message has now turned optimistic.

    Brookesmith ISD Superintendent Steve Mickelson said that he hopes that the school district never closes down.

    "I didn't doubt that Brookesmith ISD was going to be fine," Mickelson said. "It wasn't that, it was turning the image of the district around."

    The image that Mickelson is speaking of is the one that was created by Guy Birdwell, the former superintendent at Brookesmith ISD.

    In October of 2016, Birdwell announced at a school board meeting that Brookesmith ISD would have to close due to a lack of funding.

    However, Birdwell resigned the day after he made that announcement.

    "We had an exodus of folks and we had some negativism," Mickelson said. "It was difficult to get around that quickly."

    According to Mickelson, enrollment entering the 2018-2019 school year at Brookesmith ISD is 170 students, which is an increase from the 2017-2018 school year, when they had 118 students enrolled.

    "People are seeing how well the students are served here," Mickelson said.

    Brookesmith ISD has been able to stay open by enacting cost-cutting measures and adopting a long-term operational plan.

    Brookesmith ISD's school board adopted a $2.7 million budget in August, which was an increase of $300,000 compared to last year's budget.

    However, Brookesmith ISD's new budget showed a decrease of $179,000 to instruction and a decrease of $1,200 to instructional resources and media.

    Mickelson defended his budget and said that he is not sacrificing his students' educational opportunities in his attempt to keep the lights on at Brookesmith ISD.

    "We really just spend on things we have to have," Mickelson said. "We focus on the kids and that's where the money goes."

    The 2018-2019 school year budget also showed that money was not set aside for security and monitoring.

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