Home-schooled students advocate for participation in UIL activities through Abilene ISD

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Schoolchildren in the Abilene District ISD have expressed their desire for equal opportunity to participate in UIL (University Interscholastic League) activities, which is now permitted by Bill 547. However, the challenges that may arise have left most school districts in the state of Texas opt-out, with the exception of Wylie ISD.

“I live half a kilometer away. I see them running near my house, training, and I just want to play for them,” said Carter Batten, a homeschooler from Abilene ISD.

Batten spoke at the school board meeting because he wants to play on the football team, which is now allowed to pass House Bill 547but AISD chose not to participate, leaving many homeschooled students feeling left out.

“I had to sit next to my 16-year-old boy, who was playing football with all these kids, and he couldn’t play because we live at Abilene High and not Wylie,” a local parent said. a student at home, who also spoke at the meeting.

Another parent said, “I’m just here to ask you to help us fight for our freedom as homeschoolers.

Even though these parents seek equal opportunities for their children, it is not as easy to sign on to this bill as some might think. The school will have to prepare for certain challenges.

AISD Executive Director of Fine Arts Jay Lester told KTAB/KRBC that these issues include eligibility, checking grades, extra expenses, travel and regulating the practice to follow the rules. of the UIL.

“We will not receive any additional state funding for these students,” Lester said.

Even so, Wylie ISD has welcomed few homeschoolers to participate for nearly a year since the bill was updated.

“We haven’t had any real problems,” Wylie Superintendent Joey Light said.

Light explained that the reason they haven’t had much of a problem with funding is that they only had about five homeschoolers who participated last school year.

“The cost has been pretty negligible for us,” Light explained.

Though he says he understands many schools are hesitant, Light said Wylie is one of 21 districts across Texas that have opted in.

Lester with Abilene ISD said that while a decision hasn’t been made yet, “we’re listening. But we know that there are difficulties and challenges that we will have to solve if we were to do this.

This item has not yet been added to the agenda of a future AISD Board meeting for further discussion.

Sara H. Byrd