The Granbury School Board of Trustees, at its regular monthly meeting on Monday, June 13, settled the question of whether homeschooled students would be allowed to participate in UIL activities.
The answer was no.
The vote was 4-1, with Melanie Graft providing the single yes vote. Trustee Courtney Gore was absent.
The matter was placed on the agenda of the board's regular meeting in May at the request of Graft, whose children are homeschooled.
At that time, other school board members, with the exception of Barbara Herrington and Mike Moore, indicated a willingness to consider it provided that challenges and concerns could be addressed.
Trustees Mark Jackson, Barbara Townsend, Paula McDonald, Gore and Graft voted for staff to create a policy that would be subject to the board’s approval.
In the weeks since that meeting, an 11-point guideline was drafted, but by the June meeting, the tide had turned.
Acknowledgement was again made that parents of homeschoolers are taxpayers, but it was also noted that the school district loses money when students are homeschooled rather than enrolled in public school.
According to Superintendent Jeremy Glenn, the district receives approximately $6,100 per year for each student, depending on their level of attendance.
Herrington again expressed opposition to the idea. In her statement, she noted the “long, hard, arduous days” endured by public education students who sit in classrooms and participate in extra-curricular activities. She also acknowledged a recent survey in which more than 70% of GISD staffers polled stated opposition to the proposal.
The longtime trustee said she felt that approval of such a plan would be allowing homeschoolers to “have their cake and eat it, too,” adding, “I think it’s an uneven playing field.”
Graft said that the community had expressed support for such a move. She reiterated that she is a taxpayer and repeated a comment from the May meeting that she attributed to Weatherford ISD School Board President Mike Guest: “if we’re for kids, then we need to be for all the kids.”
Jackson, who made the motion at the May meeting to construct a policy pursuant to HB 547 — legislation that authorizes equal opportunity for access by non-enrolled students to UIL activities but does not require it — said that he started “listening to those around me” and “began to see this as problematic.”
Jackson stated, “At the end of the day, I couldn’t come around to it, but maybe a future board will consider it.”
After Jackson made his statement, Herrington restated a motion she had made earlier in the discussion.
“I move that the board deny homeschool students to participate in UIL activities of any kind in GISD,” she said
Jackson said he was not sure he would have chosen the word ‘deny,’ but he seconded Herrington’s motion.