LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin ISD officials have confirmed a discrepancy in numbers they turned in to the University Interscholastic League, meaning they may have competed the past two years in the wrong division.
The investigation started after KTRE submitted an open records request to the district for the enrollment of the district on Oct. 25, 2013, the day numbers were turned in to UIL.
The Texas Education Agency report shows Lufkin ISD to have an enrollment of 2,136, putting LISD above the 6A cutoff of 2,099. UIL records show LISD to have turned in a number of 2,088, which put the district in 5A.
KTRE requested the records after receiving an anonymous letter alleging LISD did not turn in the right figures. The letter alleged three other school districts also turned in wrong numbers and were able to compete in a smaller district.
"We actually had no knowledge and pieced it together from the public information request we got from the station," School district attorney Wayne Haglund said.
"We realize there is a difference between the 2013 snapshot calculation and the UIL number submitted," said Sheila Adams, the executive director of communications for the district. "When administration contacted UIL, a representative from UIL said that they had received an anonymous letter a couple of weeks ago with no return address alleging that five or six schools entered wrong enrollment numbers. The UIL representative advised a letter would be mailed to the district next week."
Adams said the UIL snapshot number did not include students who attended Stubblefield Learning Center because they had not included them in the past. She said the 2013 snapshot number was entered by an administrator who no longer worked for the district.
Haglund said nobody at the district has been able to figure out how the district came up with the 2,088 figure. According to the TEA report, of the 2,136 students enrolled at LHS on snapshot day, 67 attended Stubblefield. Subtracting the Stubblefield figure from the LHS figure falls below the 2,088 turned into UIL.
"What we understand is that we are to include everyone even if they are not eligible to play," Haglund said.
Lufkin won a state championship in soccer in 2015 as a 5A team.
Haglund said he hoped the school would not be stripped of that title, explaining the UIL should not discount the student-athletes' efforts in winning the championship through numbers.
"If all of us are here for kids, what would happen, I hope, is all of us would involve something besides the kids," Haglund said. "This has nothing to do with the kids and their efforts and it would be a shame if that were to happen."
"I feel certain that those numbers will be vetted at the highest level in the future," Haglund said. "They will come all the way up and be approved through this office."
UIL Media Coordinator Kate Hector said the UIL is gathering relevant information about the allegations and will have more information later.