Walker County schools will learn Friday if they will move into new districts or remain in their current districts when the University Interscholastic League announces realignments.

School district superintendents will meet 9 a.m. at Region Education Service Centers statewide.

The reclassification, which occurs every two years, will adjust classifications and redraw districts for every public high school in the state.

This year’s classifications will be in effect during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, and both athletic and non-athletic programs may be affected in different ways.

“Just by sheer frequency, our athletic program faces a bigger concern because of the amount of time and money spent on their weekly trips, but we do still have a district meet on the UIL academic side,” said Clay Webb, New Waverly Independent School District superintendent. “The realignment makes a lot of difference to us, and we hope to play a little closer route around here this time.”

According to Trinity Independent School District superintendent Bobby Rice, a primary concern related to the realignment is the money spent traveling when school districts span large areas.

“With the current district we’re in, we spend a lot of money on gas because we’re really spread out,” he said. “We’re hoping the schools will be closer after the reclassification because that saves money on gas and it keeps kids from being out of town late on school trips.

“Plus, I think you can build more rivalry and have more fun with schools that are close by, because the kids know each other.”

Rice said certain non-athletic UIL groups have less to be concerned with after the realignment because their initial meets involve a wide-range of schools regardless of their classification.

“The band and choir have marching and solo and ensemble competitions, and those aren’t necessarily aligned with district division,” Rice said. “They have a bunch of contests, but there are a lot more schools than just our specific UIL district. However, our UIL academic meets are district specific, and those students do have some travel even though there’s only one district academic meet.

“We have elementary, junior high and high school students who participate in UIL events, and when you’re spread out like we are currently, it’s not a good situation to have those kids out so late.”

According to Webb, the district lines drawn can mean much longer or shorter trips for students participating in any UIL event.

“We’re curious, because over the past few years, they’ve run our district from the Louisiana line,” he said. “This last time, we had Hempstead as a southern school and a school in Lexington as a northern boundary.

“We’ve been in situations like that for the last eight years, so hopefully we’ll get better mileage this time.”

Webb said considerations would be made if the distance his district’s students needed to travel after the realignment was beyond a reasonable range.

“Two things have to happen if a school were to decide to leave a district,” Webb said. “First, the district you’re placed in has to agree to let you out, and then the district receiving you has to agree to let you in. We’re hoping it’ll be acceptable on the first placement, but we’ll know a lot more Friday morning.”

Rice said the information the districts would need to plan the next two school years would be available after Friday’s announcement.

“We’ll find out Friday at 9 a.m., and we’re really looking forward to seeing what they have come up with,” he said.

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