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Polk County Enterprise - Local News

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Realignment shuffles UIL districts

Polk County Enterprise

By Brian Besch

LIVINGSTON — Following the December release of preliminary enrollment numbers from member schools across Texas, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) released its 2018-20 realignment of districts Thursday morning. It was the first time enrollment figures had been released early in an attempt to further transparency. Another new item for this cycle of reshuffling was the use of mapping software to help with the process. For schools in Polk County, both have seemed to serve well. Overall travel distances have been diminished and the controversies such as the one Livingston experienced two years ago now have more opportunity for assessment before districts are released. In 2016, the UIL issued a the Livingston district a public reprimand and placed it on probation for two years for rules violartions related to submission of enrollment figures for reclassification and realignment. Lion athletic teams were originally slated to move into what is now District 10-4A Div. I for competition against Cleveland, Bridge City, Huffman Hargrave, Little Cypress- Mauriceville, Navasota and Silsbee in football. In basketball, a district of Lufkin Hudson, Jasper, Diboll and Huntington would have competed with the Lions. Once numbers were re-evaluated, an appeals committee placed Livingston in District 22-5A, as it exceeded the 1,100-student minimum for Class 5A when combined with Livingston Academy. Schools in the district included Baytown Lee, Beaumont Central, Beaumont Ozen, Lumberton, Nederland, Port Arthur Memorial, Port Neches- Groves and Vidor. Fast forward two years and Livingston is back in that original district grouping for football. Gone are Navasota, which will compete with Houston schools; Silsbee, which falls into a tough grouping in Class 4A Division II; and Cleveland, which grew enough to reach Class 5A. Arriving with Livingston from Class 5A are Lumberton and Splendora. They will combine with Huffman Hargrave, Little Cypress Mauriceville and Bridge City on the gridiron for District 11-4A. In basketball, the travel will improve even more, with Shepherd, Liberty and Tarkington making for short drives. Corrigan-Camden will welcome Anderson-Shiro, Kountze and New Waverly in football in the new District 12-3A Division II. Also in the group are holdovers Hemphill and state-champion Newton. Leaving the district is Franklin, Garrison and Crockett. Diboll, Lufkin Pineywoods and Woodville will be included in a tough basketball district. Onalaska will have the same district in basketball, save for the change of Crockett for the Houston Harmony School of Discovery. Goodrich and Leggett lose the long drive to Richards and gain two familiar schools in Burkeville and Chester. Big Sandy had some of the most change, entering into Lufkin Pineywoods Academy's place in 2A. They will now face Zavalla, Broaddus, Brookeland, Colmesneil and West Sabine in a grouping that should make for a cheaper gas bill.


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