District realigns to move to smaller UIL division

Emma Raleigh

At the beginning of the 2012 -2013 academic year, the Board of Trustees discussed Bryan High School’s move from 5A to 4A. In February, the board constructed a committee to redraw the attendance zones within the district to increase Rudder High School’s numbers and decrease Bryan High’s in order to shift the UIL category of each school.

“We put a committee together of parents, administrators, teachers, and a gentleman from outside of the district who came to run the meeting,” superintendent Tommy Wallis said.

The committee included students as well, and principal Lamond Dean says a plan of action was reached.

“Information was disseminated among the community of Bryan High students and parents,” Dean said. “We have tried to balance the numbers, and plan to work towards a more balanced number between Bryan and Rudder over the next five years.”

Besides more evenly distributing the community’s student population, the change will benefit the district in many ways, affecting multiple athletic teams and other UIL competitors.

“Hopefully it will combine efforts with more local high schools like College Station High School and Rudder High School to help formulate a district that will lessen travel, and it would be better for our students,” Dean said.

Each year in October, UIL takes enrollment counts from every public high school in Texas. This academic year, Bryan aims to lower their enrollment, even with changing UIL classifications and alignments.

“UIL will go through the schools and divide them up in equal parts, with about 250 schools in each district,” Dean said. “Next year, they’re going to renumber the districts, so though Bryan may be 5A next year, it’s actually 4A because the number scale is going up to a 6A.”

Currently, Bryan High competes against other 5A schools with about 2,200 students. Other schools in this division such as Conroe ISD schools compete with nearly 3,000 students.

“Some schools are double our size as far as UIL participants, and that lessens the competition opportunities for us since we just aren’t the same size that they are,” Dean said.

By making this move, Dean says students will not only receive more opportunities competition wise, but their time spent of travel will see a positive change.

“As opposed to going to Conroe twice a week, we can easily go to College Station or across the street to Rudder,” Dean said. “We can have more of a centralized travel schedule that will help economically, as well as help our students not be on the road so much.”

The economic upsides to this shift in divisions were one of the initial reasons for considering redistricting and downsizing.

“We began to look at the financial implications of our budget, and what we could do to cut spending, because we’ve been cut so much money from the state,” Wallis said. “One of the things that was brought up at one of our budget meetings was the possibility of Bryan High School going 4A.”

Student athletes and other competitors will see additional changes outside of the competitions.

“I definitely think it will help the school as far as school spirit is concerned,” Dean said. “A lot of students grow up together, and all of the sudden get friendly competition because of locale. We will get a chance with our two campuses to compete against College Station’s two campuses, as well as maybe some more centralized districts. Brenham is one of the ideas.”

Possibly one of the greatest impacts the district will see is a better community brought together through UIL events.

“I think it’s all positive,” Dean said. “It will create a more closely knit community.”