The superintendents of both the Denison and Sherman Independent School Districts have filed a formal appeal against the UIL realignment last week that places the two Grayson County towns in the same district as towns in far northeast Texas. Hear from both of them tonight on First News.
Below is the press release sent out by Sherman & Denison ISD's.
The school superintendents of Denison and Sherman Independent School Districts have joined hands to appeal last week’s UIL realignment of Sherman and Denison into District 13-4A, a placement which would require student travel to schools as far away as Texarkana and Mount Pleasant.
Dr. Henry Scott of Denison and Dr. Al Hambrick of Sherman met Monday to discuss the problems presented by the new changes as well as possible solutions. Both superintendents agreed that the primary problems created by the new alignment involve decreased student time in the classroom and greatly increased time spent traveling. They also agreed that the only solution would be an appeal to the UIL Appeals Committee.
“When traveling to games as far away as Texarkana and Mount Pleasant, our students would have to leave school much earlier to arrive in time for games…and some sports have more than one game per week. That translates into less time in classrooms for our student athletes,” said Hambrick.
“In recent years, we have traveled to schools in the Frisco and McKinney areas, a situation that was much more reasonable in that our kids could be at most games in a little over an hour, making round trip travel time two to three hours. Under the new alignment, those travel times have basically been tripled or quadrupled.”
Scott agreed, adding that mid-week competitions were of special concern. “We’re particularly concerned about the games that will require between 2 ½ and 3 ½ hours of mid-week travel time, such as baseball, volleyball, softball, tennis, soccer, girls and boys basketball…and also our JV and freshman football teams,” said Scott.
“That’s five to seven total hours spent traveling to and from these games, putting our kids back home at well past midnight. A lot of kids will be negatively affected by this, not to mention the increased costs for travel. From an academic and student performance standpoint, this is simply not a good situation.”
In a letter to the UIL Appeals Committee, Hambrick and Scott suggested moving Denison ISD and Sherman ISD to District 10-4A while moving Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath to District 13-4A. Local school officials say that for the Rockwall schools, trips to Texarkana and Mr. Pleasant could be made on interstate highways with drive times considerably less than those for Denison and Sherman.
“Total round trip drive time from Rockwall to Texarkana is approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes, roughly half the time that will be required of Sherman or Denison to make the trip,” said Hambrick.
“Similarly, Rockwall’s round trip drive-time to and from Mt. Pleasant is estimated at three hours, which is two hours less than the time it would take our buses to make the trip.”
Both also mentioned safety as yet another reason for officials to grant the appeal, noting that the creation of a District 13-4A centered around I-30 seems a logical choice since driving conditions and times would be so much better for the districts involved.
“The children of Denison ISD and Sherman ISD deserve the best opportunity available to achieve and succeed in school as a means to a bright future,” said Scott.
“The demands of balancing studies with sports are daunting at best, but our students work hard to meet their many obligations. We sincerely hope that the UIL Committee will help us ensure that our children are not unnecessarily burdened by changing our district’s placement to one that is more conducive to student success.”