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UIL places Livingston ISD on two-year probation

UIL-LISD

Livingston High School has been issued a public reprimand and two years probation for violations of rules related to submission of enrollment figures for reclassification and realignment.

The penalty was handed down by the University Interscholastic League’s State Executive Committee at their most recent meeting on March 22, issued a public reprimand and two years probation for violations.

The Lion athletic teams were originally slated to move into 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.

In February, an appeals committee placed Livingston in District 22-5A along with Baytown Lee, Beaumont Central, Beaumont Ozen, Lumberton, Nederland, Port Arthur Memorial, Port Neches-Groves and Vidor.

“(Livingston) violated rules that required them to submit enrollment data for reclassification and realignment,” UIL media coordinator Kate Hector said. “That was brought to the UIL’s attention at the appeals committee hearing on Feb. 18. Livingston previously reported incorrect enrollment figures. Correct figures move them from conference 4A to conference 5A. The district assignment appeals committee reassigned their district, but didn't have the authority to impose any sanctions for that error at that time.”

The rule requires Livingston to submit correct enrollment figures. The school reported that their mistake had been a clerical error.

“The UIL checks those numbers with the TEA and that's how the correct numbers were brought to our attention,” Hector said. “What the probation means is that over the course of those two years, if there are any additional rules violations, the penalties could be more severe.”

Those more severe penalties the state executive committee can impose for schools and UIL members include forfeiture of contests and disqualifications from UIL contests for up to three years. For school district personnel, that can consist of suspension anywhere from one day to three years.

The district’s alternative school, Livingston High School Academy, could have added confusion. At its largest point this year, the academy has had 81 students enrolled.
The academy had just 25 different students throughout the year in 2014-15.

In October, board members changed the name from “Challenger” to “Academy” for a more positive connotation. LISD superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins said many of the kids in the academy are as much as two years and several credits behind.

It has grown in popularity this school year and 18 students scheduled to graduate in the spring, all of which were behind while attending Livingston High School. The district has provided an expansion in computer-based programs, assigned full-time teachers and now has a full-time principal to help students at the academy. Each in the non-traditional classroom goes through self-paced software.

Hector said she has been with the UIL for four years and two realignments. This is the first time she has experienced a school reporting numbers that were not correct. Though not a common occurrence, it has happened.

“Our policies and procedures for realignment are available online and available in advance,” Hector said. “All of our rules are published in the (UIL) constitution. The rules are available and our staff is always available to answer questions. It is the school's responsibility to know the rules and follow them accordingly. The school reported to us that they are opening the academy and just weren't aware that the enrollment counted toward total school enrollment.”

There is nothing in the state executive committee's decision that reveals malicious intent or has specific details. Hector said it was not something that was apparent to the committee during the hearing and that the punishment is simply a reprimand that carries a probation of two years. [ENTERPRISE STORY BY BRIAN BESCH]