By Kevin Posival
and Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
Almost 560 students from Fort Hood could spike Killeen High School's enrollment numbers and endanger the football team's playoff chances if a Killeen Independent School District rezoning proposal is approved.
Roos athletic coordinator Sam Jones is just waiting to see the numbers.
"Numbers-wise, if they're going to make everybody (come) and they're going to bus everybody and they've got to come, then it may affect us," Jones said. "If they do it through ninth and 10th grade and let everybody (else) decide if they want to stay at the schools they're at, I think that'll be something they've got to look at. I really don't know until it happens."
Last October, Killeen High turned in a snapshot enrollment of 1,829 students, 236 short of the 4A-5A cutoff (2,065) the University Interscholastic League used in February's biennial reclassification.
The school board proposed at Tuesday's workshop to earmark the Comanche Village area at Fort Hood - northwest of Shoemaker High School - where an estimated 559 high school students would be zoned for Killeen High to ultimately reduce overcrowding at Harker Heights High School.
Approximately 488 students living in Hymesa - the area between Stan Schlueter Loop and Heather Glen - would be zoned out of Harker Heights and into Ellison, which would in turn lose approximately 602 students living west of State Highway 195 to Shoemaker.
Shoemaker, which campus athletic coordinator Ken Gray estimated to be from 75 to 80 percent military-dependent, would see an increase of only about 40 students but could be stabilized by the proposed rezoning.
"Hopefully, by getting some of the kids from Palo Alto (Middle School), we'll get a more stable kid or one that's going to be here all four years and not be here for a couple of months and then leave," Gray said.
Currently, Ellison receives about 58 percent of Palo Alto's students with the remaining students going to Shoemaker. Under the proposal, all Palo Alto students would go to Shoemaker.
"It will certainly have an effect ... but I think we'll still be getting the Nolan (Middle School) kids and the Manor Middle School) kids, and we'll gain probably all of Liberty Hill (Middle School) so it's a tradeoff," Ellison athletic coordinator Buddy McBryde said.
The school board proposed a grandfather clause that would allow current high school students - freshmen to juniors - the option to remain at their present school or move with the rezoning. All incoming freshmen would be required to attend their newly rezoned high school.
Before the 2009-10 school year, Killeen ISD projected 313 eighth-graders would come from Smith and Audie Murphy Middle schools, which, under the proposal, would attend Killeen High in the fall. Based on last year's projections, Killeen High expects to graduate 312 seniors.
Killeen is also projected to receive about 230 graduating eighth-graders from Rancier Middle School as well as nearly half of Manor and Nolan Middle schools' graduating eighth-graders.
"I know it can affect us," Jones said. "I don't know if it'll affect us in a way that we won't be eligible to play for the playoffs or not, not until I see the numbers."
UIL Athletic Director Cliff Odenwald told the Herald earlier this month that the Kangaroos' football team would remain in District 8-4A regardless of the rezoning, but if Killeen High's enrollment spikes grossly over the 5A cutoff of 2,065 students, the football team might not be allowed to compete in the playoffs, while all other sports would be moved into a 5A district, most likely District 12-5A with Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker.