The Hereford ISD Says UIL Change Causes Too Many Absences

Education verses athletics... It is a battle that is coming into play in a local school district.

Officials say many of their students play multiple sports or involved in other UIL events, like one-act plays or speech competitions. So traveling up to 300 miles south to compete can quickly rack up the days they miss class. Something parents are worried about.

Felicita Gonzales says, "It will be harder and more stressful for them to catch up on their work."

Jennifer Harbison says, "School comes first."

The long road trips mean not only athletes will be missing out... But other students' classes will be affected.

Michael Steven, Hereford SuperIntendent says, "See we are not just talking about kids now missing school. Don't forget all of these people teach. And so its, when we talk about instructional time, we aren't just talking about kid time but teacher time. Everybody teaches and that is where it really adds up."

Steven says when the teacher is gone, no new lessons are taught... Meaning it's just like having the other kids absent too.

"When you take the band and the football team, for example, you take them out of school, then you take the guts out of the school. You aren't going to introduce a new concept when you only have half your students." Steven says.

Hereford is appealing the decision to switch their district from 3-4A to 4-4A. They say it is about balancing education and athletics.

"I don't want kids to have to make choices on the way they participate." Steven says.

The Amarillo ISD will also be traveling farther this year... And they say they are still looking into how much school their students will miss.

District officials say loss in school time is the most important thing they are considering.