Community Support Saves Giddings State School
Last Friday, June 3, the Board of the Texas Youth Commission, with direction from the Texas Legislature, voted to continue the operations at Giddings State School and five other secure facilities throughout the state. Three facilities will be closed and two will be combined into one.
GSS Superintendent Stan DeGerolami said, following Friday’s announcement by the Texas Youth Commission, “We will need to hire more staff to help manage the increase in our population. We have been holding approximately 24 to 25 positions vacant in anticipation of the possibility that the TYC may close our facility. Since we are one of six facilities the state has decided to keep operational, we now know that we will need to fill all of those positions, plus add an additional eleven more.” Currently, GSS employs just over 400 people.
Superintendent DeGerolami said that the Giddings State School has already begun expanding. On Saturday, they received 16 more youth from the Al Price facility in Beaumont and they are expecting an estimated 30 more youth in the coming weeks. Prior to the young men transferring to Giddings last Saturday, there were 252 youth at GSS. Superintendent DeGerolami expects that number to grow to 298 within the next few weeks.
DeGerolami said, “We expect that the mix of our population will be the same as we currently serve.”
On April 30 of this year, TYC held a public meeting at the Giddings High School. Over 450 local citizens attended that meeting and spoke on behalf of the GSS. Joyce Bise, Director of Giddings Economic Development, spoke also. She pointed out that in 1968, the local citizens raised $100,000 in a 36- hour time period in order to purchase 200 acres for the school, which opened in 1972.
DeGerolami said, “We are so grateful to our community. There is not a question in my mind that our facility was saved due to two reasons: one, the outstanding community support and, two, our outstanding programs. If we’d only had great programs without the community support, we may have been one of the units eliminated by the state.”