If Thursday’s enrollment numbers submitted by the Killeen Independent School District are any indication, all four high schools could wind up in the same district come February’s University Interscholastic League 2012-14 realignment.

In the figures submitted, 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.

“I have mixed feelings about it, but if the numbers are there, then they’re there,” KISD Director of Athletics Tom Rogers said Thursday. “I don’t have any concerns with Killeen being able to compete in that 5A league at all.”

A move would likely place Killeen, which has been in 4A since 2002, into what is now District 12-5A along with fellow KISD schools Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker. The Roos would also join former longtime rivals Belton, Copperas Cove, 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.”

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.

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.

“Killeen and Belton has been an old rivalry for a long time and now that Killeen’s been in that 4A district, they’ve become a rivalry with Midway. So bringing them will just heat things up quite a bit. I think it’s going to make for a great district if that’s the way it shakes out,” Rogers said.

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.

“One of the good things about it is our kids won’t have to travel that far — the longest trip district-wise will be Midway,” Rogers said. “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. That’ll be a big plus for us.”

Another potential mover could be Salado, in just its second season in 3A after moving up from 2A at the last realignment. The school turned in 444, down from 467.

If the 3A cutout of 430 from last year increases even slightly as past trends indicate, the Eagles could find themselves back among the 2A ranks where they prospered. In 2007-08, Salado won the prestigious Lone Star Cup in 2A, which honors the most successful athletic programs in each of the state’s five classifications.

Lampasas (978) and Gatesville (821) are both expected to remain at the 3A level.

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