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Cindy Lynn Kemp
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Mabank ISD: No UIL for homeschooled students

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MABANK–During its July 26 meeting, Mabank ISD’s school board exercised its option to not allow homeschooled students who live within the district to participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities.
House Bill 547, passed during the state legislature’s 2021 regular session, amends state law to let homeschooled students not enrolled in their public school district to compete in extracurricular activities if their district approves it.
Superintendent Brad Koskelin recommended not allowing it because he believes there are “unknowns” on how those students will be calculated into enrollment figures, which he said could potentially raise Mabank ISD’s UIL classification from 4A to 5A. Koskelin also expressed concerns about “inequities” between enrolled and homeschooled students relating to grades and attendance.
Chief Academic Officer Rebecca Stephens said there were at least 101 homeschooled students within Mabank ISD eligible to participate. Assistant Superintendent Henry Tracy said that number was gathered from students who left the district to be homeschooled.
Koskelin said the school board can revisit the issue next summer, but that he must notify the District Executive Committee about the vote by Aug. 1. Afterward, he said, the school can’t change the policy for this coming academic year.
The board also amended the district’s compensation plan to give a one-time retention and sign-on bonus to teachers and staff. Koskelin said the district would use federal coronavirus relief funding to give teachers and staff “with us last year” a $1,000 bonus “because of extra work related to COVID.”
A $300 sign-on bonus also was approved to help lure candidates to fill open positions, a process which the superintendent said in June was “particularly difficult” this summer.
The school board also approved the district’s proposed tax rate and set a public hearing on the tax rate and budget for Aug. 23. Chief Financial Officer Brenda Rodriguez said the district can’t adopt a higher tax rate than it publishes in its mandated public notice but can adopt a lower rate. Rodriguez said the district should bring in about $1.7 million more in tax revenue than the current fiscal year, even with a penny decrease to the tax rate, because of higher property valuations.
The board also approved a correction deed for a public utility right-of-way and ingress/egress for the expansion of Park Boulevard near Mabank High School, originally approved March 20, 2007. Koskelin said the roadway’s route has changed and the district will get back land it ceded in 2007.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a one-year contract renewal with Claims Administrative Services to handle workers’ compensation claims, increasing the district’s cost about $3,400 for a total estimated cost of about $67,000.
• Approved applying for ESSER II federal coronavirus relief funding for the 2020-2022 school years.
• Approved all 2021-22 Campus Student Codes of Conduct housed within 2021-22 Campus Student Handbooks.
• Approved the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Henderson County Adjunct Faculty Request for 2021-2022.
• Approved extracurricular status and excused absences for Henderson and Kaufman County 4-H club events.
• Approved the 2021-22 Adjunct Faculty Agreement.
• Authorized Technology Director JK Hyde to submit proof of completing the district’s state-required cybersecurity training to the Texas Information Resources Department.