School, Town Facing Demise

The streets are nearly empty in the dying town of Megargel, TX.

The 250 people who call this place home don’t create much traffic, according to a recent article.

The town’s school is one of the few signs of life, the article states.

When the six-man football team couldn’t find a sixth man, a cheerleader took the field, said writer Colleen McCain Nelson.

Now with just 63 students and a nearly empty bank account, the Megargel Independent School District is running out of money and options, she wrote.

“You could see it coming but you’re just hoping that something’s going to change,” said Principal John Robertson, who has spent the past few years trying to save his school, in a recent interview. “You know their parents.”

Now he has the unpleasant task of persuading residents to shut it down, writes Nelson.

Many here believe closing the school would spell Megargel’s death, according to Nelson.

More Texas towns could face such a choice soon, according to research.

“But in Megargel, 140 miles west of Dallas some residents aren’t giving up without a fight,” reported Nelson. “Around town everybody has a story about Megargel School.”

When only one seventh-grader enrolled this year the school offered one-on-one instruction.

In the halls, Robertson said he greets each student by name.

The family atmosphere drew him to this district with the funny name.

But the small class sizes are a boon and a bane, according to stats.

Megargel spends more than twice what the average Texas school allocates per student, the principal said.

From the ancient piano in the auditorium to the aging gym that bears strong resemblance to an airplane hangar, Megargel’s school is from another era, according to literature.

“We don’t have any extra money,” Robertson told Nelson. “I am reluctantly pushing for consolidation, planning hot dog dinners to tell residents why sending their kids to Olney is the best option.”

He said he knows, though, that asking voters to shutter the school is a tough sell: “The school really is the center of town.”

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