The University Interscholastic League announcement early last week that Uvalde High School would step down from district 5A to 4A in sports competition was welcomed by coaches as leveling the playing field, while at the same time reflecting the fact that enrollment at UHS has been declining.
Over the last five years, total enrollment at the high school has slipped from 1,326 in the 2014-15 school year to 1,128 as of Jan. 15 of this year. The 198 student or 15 percent drop was enough to trigger the change in district competition, since the threshold for 5A participation is a student body of 1,230 to 2,219. The 4A range, where we now find ourselves, is 515 to 1,229.
So, in terms of enrollment, we are now on the upper end of our district instead of the lower end, where we had been at a distinct disadvantage when playing sports against high schools with almost double our student population.
Our new football district 14-4A Division 1 includes Boerne High, La Vernia, Pleasanton and Somerset. UHS’s new non-football district 30-4A comprises only eight competitors, including Carrizo Springs, Crystal City, Hondo and Pearsall, instead of the 16 that were part of the previous District 30-4A.
As our long-time sports editor James Volz has pointed out in recent stories, including his column in today’s paper, playing against smaller high schools offers no guarantee that our athletes will have more success. However, with fewer districts to compete against it should be easier to advance to a post-season playoff berth.
As for the drop in enrollment, most of it can be attributed to students choosing to attend school in neighboring communities like Knippa and Sabinal. Clearly, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District has been challenged in recent years, by low test scores and a failing designation from the Texas Education Agency, but we believe that the district has turned the corner on those tough times.
Under Superintendent Hal Harrell, the UCISD has improved its accountability rating from the TEA by two letter grades from “F” to a “C” score of 77, and the district received an upgraded financial integrity rating of “B” with a score of 86. UHS also recently unveiled a new College, Career and Military Readiness Center. The center will be a resource for students seeking to continue education after high school, join the workforce or enroll in the military.
Clearly, we all stand ready to cheer on the Coyotes in their new sporting arena and the district in general as it seeks to meet the educational needs of all of our students