Teachers speak out about possible Camp Tyler changes

By Courtney Lane - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

Students, from all over East Texas, have attended Camp Tyler for nearly 60 years, but because of its partnership with TISD, Tyler students have had first pick, so to speak, but that could now change.

By next school year, Camp Tyler could run independently from TISD. We first broke that story on Monday.

The questions on everyone's minds are: What exactly could this mean and why is it being considered?

Camp Tyler is full of traditions and memories. Teachers say students have such an amazing time here that they never want to leave.

"The growth that you see here in a child in the four days that we service them is tremendous," said Camp Tyler teacher, Hoston Morrow.

TISD's superintendent Dr. Randy Reid said the school district wants that to continue, but in these tough times, he said it doesn't make sense to spend roughly a million dollars a year to operate.

"In addition to that our parents are paying 50 per child to help defray some of our costs and it still costs us a million dollars. With a new plan the parents wouldn't have to pay anything at all," explained Dr. Reid. "So the district would still fully fund the program for the kids and yet it would still be a third of the cost of what we're currently paying."

Reid is confident a new program would still provide the same quality outdoor education at Camp Tyler. However, teachers like Houston Morrow would lose their positions.

"It's so important that we continue this as it is and us be here next year and service the students as we have in years past," said Morrow.

Of course, the teachers' main concern are the students, and that the new proposal would actually work.

"I would never sit here and tell you that'll it'll be exactly the same," said Dr. Reid. "This is a great burden to consider because Camp Tyler has been such a strong piece of the history of this district. But from a academic and a financial standpoint I believe [in] the overall product that we can offer, because we can utilize those dollars for teacher salaries or increasing utilities."

But after nearly 60-years, change is always hard, and everyone hopes the quality of education and growth at Camp Tyler is not compromised.

"We have put our heart and soul into this place, and it saddens me that it's coming to an end through TISD," said Morrow.

Reid says teachers at Camp Tyler would be able to re-apply to the district for in-class positions. The Camp Tyler Foundation is writing a detailed proposal for the school board to review.