By Alex Byington
The Cove Herald
Should trends continue as they're have been in recent years, Copperas Cove should find itself again in Class 5A come February.
And the Bulldawgs could find themselves once matched up with not only longtime rivals in Killeen, but the Kangaroos themselves.
In the figures submitted to the University Interscholastic League for its biennial reclassification, Killeen's enrollment of 2,192.5 students could exceed the expected Class 5A-4A cutoff number. The cutoff during the last cycle was 2,064. Killeen's enrollment number then was 1,829.
The cutoff dropped from 2008 (2,084), the first time the 5A-4A cutoff line decreased since 1990.
Cove submitted an enrollment figure of 2,174.5, up slightly from the number turned in for the 2010-12 school years. Thursday was the designated "snapshot" day for Texas high schools to declare that day's enrollment numbers to the UIL for reclassification purposes in the next two-year cycle. The release date for the 2012-14 realignment is Feb. 2, 2012.
A move would likely place Killeen, which has been in 4A since 2002, into what is now District 12-5A along with Cove and fellow KISD schools Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker. The group could also join rivals Belton and Temple.
"It's been coming. I think that's why the school board and the administration wanted to put kids in seats. Killeen's one of the oldest schools but we have more space. I think it's kind of balancing out," said Killeen football coach Sam Jones. "As far as athletics, we've been 5A ... As long as we keep getting the kids and getting the numbers, I think we'll be OK."
Killeen's growth shouldn't come as much of a surprise for those who have been expecting such a move ever since a KISD rezoning plan was approved in April 2010.
The rezoning moved students from Comanche Village on Fort Hood, originally zoned for Shoemaker, to Killeen. Shoemaker, in turn, picked up Palo Alto Middle School as a true feeder instead of splitting the students with Ellison.
Shoemaker turned in 2,307, up from the 2,230 turned in during the last cycle. Ellison is now the district's largest school with 2,512 students, which was down from the 2,572 used for the last realignment, followed by Harker Heights (2,440.5).
Another factor that could determine any future area 5A district is Waco Midway's snapshot number of 2,127, which would also likely put Killeen's fellow 8-4A foe into 5A.
With the inclusion of Killeen and Midway into 5A, it could force the UIL to shift 12-5A foes Bryan and A&M Consolidated toward a Houston- or East Texas-based district. That move would make travel must easier for the area 5A schools.
"That will be a plus for all the schools in the district, not having to travel on those weeknights, (not) having to travel down to College Station for basketball and soccer - that's a late night for our kids and it affects them academically," KISD Athletic Director Tom Rogers said.
Another potential mover could be Salado. The school turned in 444, down from 467 during the last cycle which pushed Salado up to 3A for the first time.
Lampasas (978) and Gatesville (821) are both expected to remain at the 3A level, while the area's smallest school - 2A Florence - will remain that way after submitting an enrollment of 344, though the figure is up slightly from the last realignment (329).