The questions ranged from insurance liability to the possibility of losing enrollment when the Calhoun County ISD Board of Trustees took up the issue of allowing homeschool students to take part in UIL events.

In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that allowed homeschool students to participate in UIL events such as sports or academic contests if they met the standard UIL requirements, explained Superintendent Evan Cardwell. The decision to allow a student would be up to the district and decided on a case-by-case basis.

School districts, under the law, would need to amend their policies to allow it.

This is what was being considered after Dr. Joseph Jenkins approached the board twice about allowing his son to participate in the Calhoun High School football program.

The board agreed to amend their policy and to create a policy for allowing homeschool students to participate by a 5-2 vote. Board members Vinson Phillips, Lori Leal, Cynthia Alford, Dominic Robles and Bill Shrader voted in favor while board President Bill Harvey and board member David Gaskamp voted against.

During the public comment section, Cindy Krause spoke up about allowing the students to participate.

Harvey said he could not find his way to support homeschool students participating due to the inherent inequality he found.

“We have certain expectations of our students to meet attendance, scholarship and behavioral requirements that are not required for homeschool,” he said.

The difference in the requirements to meet no-pass, no-play was of concern to him. Harvey noted that homeschool children can take one of several tests to prove their competency in what they have learned, which is good for two years. CCISD students, on the other hand, have to prove their competency every nine weeks or they can’t participate.

“Our kids have to play by one set of rules and homeschool another and I don’t know how to fix that,” he said.

Of concern to several board members was the idea of students dropping out and the impact it would have on the school.

Robles said he was concerned that students would drop out to be homeschool but want to come back to play sports or participate in other UIL events.

Board Member Gaskamp shared that concern. Harvey pointed out that if a student dropped out for homeschooling, they were not eligible to participate for the remainder of that year but could come back to participate the next.

The potential cost of adding a homeschool student was of concern to Alford. She asked how it would affect insurance for the students on the field as well as traveling to events.

Shrader said the district had a policy and it would just be a matter of adding another person to it.

In other business, the board:

Approved an easement on Sandcrab Boulevard for the city of Port Lavaca Sidewalk project.

Approved property insurance renewal with an annual premium of $1,795,420.

Approved renewal of the contract with Sodexo Services of Texas for food services.

Approved the summer learning programs.

Approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Texas Medical Branch for Youth Aware of Mental Health Program.

Heard the quarterly investment report.

The facilities project list was presented to the board.

Approved employment and resignations as well as hiring a director of Human Resources.