What used to be booming oil and ranching town has now dwindled and is struggling to be able to keep things in Premont alive. The school district is struggling to keep their doors open. This school district was established in 1921 and became the largest rural school district in Jim Wells County and by 1963 Premont had seven schools with an estimated population of 3,049. With the development of the oil industry booming this community continued to prosper throughout the 1980’s throughout the 2000’s.
Today the halls of this rural town’s high school are just about deserted which meant that either everyone was in their classes or truant. Getting students to school and keeping them there has been a huge problem for this school district. Lagging attendance rates are hurting the district financially and academically which has caused the district to receive a notice last July that it would be facing closing because of its years of poor academic performance and shoddy finances. Premont’s troubles are typical of many rural school districts today where enrollment is dwindling due to the older generations are dying and there is no new generations moving in. This is a perfect example of stage 4 of the demographic transition. The demographic transition is the process of change of a country’s population structure and every country is in one of the four stages of the demographic transition. Premont Texas is in Stage 4 which means that the crude birth rate(CBR) which is the total number of live births for every 1,000 people is very low, and the (CDR) Crude Death Rate is increasing faster than the CBR which leaves for a negative (NIR) which is the percentage by which a population grows in a year.
As hard as it seems this school has made drastic moves to improve its finances which include cutting high school sports and other extracurricular activities which the Texas Agency in December granted them another year to try to reach certain goals or benchmarks to avoid closing the school completely. Now you tell me do you think that students are going to want to go to school solely for academics all day. No students look forward to going to band, cheerleading as well as football and other sports. So do you honestly think that a school that already has attendance issues is going to improve in this aspect? No students now find it even more difficult to go to school just to learn and will not do well. I remember I did well in school because I had to in order to be able to participate in band. Band was such an important part of growing up because I loved music and loved participating in a winning band. There needs to be a balance between learning and recreation and fun. This school used to have a top notch band and was very competitive in all sports with lots of past history of being district champs and even state champions. It is very sad to hear that this is happening in the small communities.
These students and school district is unjustly being punished because it serves a huge low-income population and gets a meager per-student financing assistance from the state. I do not think that it will be able to fight and hold on until school finance battles are done and over. I believe that the only blame for this situation is the way the state holds the schools accountable for academics and teach only to have their students pass the standardized test and the lousy school finance system. The rich school districts keep getting richer and the poor school districts keep getting poorer. I found out that districts with the lowest accountability ratings receive on average $1000.00 less per student than those with the highest ratings and Premont ranks near the bottom in per- student dollars this was told to me by one of the leaders of the school who chose not to disclose his name. I believe that the citizens should be outraged because they are not receiving their