Representatives from Navarro and Wimberley high schools made their case to the UIL Appeals Committee on Tuesday for a restructuring of their new district, 14-4A-II, citing concerns over a lack of teams at sub-varsity levels for the other four schools in the new district.
While the committee acknowledged the concerns, they voted 7-0 to deny the appeal.
“Our appeal was a little different, it wasn’t the appeal that the UIL has set up,” Navarro head coach Rod Blount said. “We wrote a letter talking about the difficulties that this district would give us and a possible solution to fix it.
“We knew it was a long shot that involved moving a couple of teams from a couple of districts, trying to even it out and moving some people out of our district.”
The two schools were paired in the district with four schools that either have just begun a football program, or don’t have enough kids for freshman and JV teams.
Manor Tech, Austin Eastside Memorial, Austin Achieve and SA Young Men’s Leadership were added to the district with Navarro and Wimberley.
Typically, schools appealing realignment do not propose a plan similar to what Navarro and Wimberley were proposing, the movement of schools from three different districts in the area to split up the four schools that were assigned to 14-4A.
“We didn’t know if we would even get a hearing or not, because it didn’t follow the normal appeal,” Blount said. “They acknowledged that what we were asking made a lot of sense but at the end, the committee voted to keep it the same way.
“They understood the difficulties with the sub-varsities, but said they can’t always set it up where everybody’s equal.”
Navarro and Wimberley’s appeal involved moving schools from two other districts into 14-4A, and moving a couple of the new football programs in that district to a different one.
“We weren’t appealing to move to another district, which is the way it’s usually set up,” Blount said. “We were trying to shake up a couple of districts and try to balance them out a little more.
“The members of the committee said they understood how frustrating it was when the sub-varsities don’t have games, or a game gets canceled, but that’s how it happens sometimes.”
Navarro superintendent Dee Carter made the presentation for Navarro, Wimberley made their presentation, and other schools affected were given their chance to speak on the appeal.
“We had some schools speak for it and some schools that went against us,” Blount said. “We had some from our district and a couple from the other districts that we had proposed to change.”
Gonzales High School, which Navarro and Wimberley had proposed to move into the new district, spoke in favor of the proposed changes. There were several schools that spoke against the change, some from the new district and others that would have moved into the district.
“The schools in our district said they signed up to be in that district and wanted to play us,” Blount said. “They thought that everything was done right, the best that it could be, and that’s understandable. But there wasn’t anything negative from anybody — they understood our concerns, but they had to look out for the best interest of their school, just like we had to look out for ours.”
Navarro and Wimberely were required to notify all the schools affected by the proposed changes to the realignment.
“There were 18 teams (in three districts) involved,” Blount said. “We weren’t trying to move everybody, but it would have affected them somehow.”
The proposal would have moved two of the schools into Districts 13-4A and 15-4A, and moved the closest one from each district into 14-4A.
Despite the denial of the appeal, Blount was pleased with the process and that the committee was willing to listen to the proposal.
“It was a good hearing,” he said. “I think they listened to us and saw that there were some concerns there.
“Hopefully, the next time on realignment that will come into play and we won’t have the same district again. But I was very pleased with how everything went — they were open and listening and had good questions, so it wasn’t that they had already had their minds made up, so that was good to see.”
The committee heard 10 appeals on Tuesday from schools all over the state and granted one, denying the nine others.