ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Homeschoolers who live within Abilene ISD limits are trying to get the district to allow them to participate in UIL sports and other events.

Texas legislators passed House Bill 547 in May 2021, which allows homeschoolers to take part in these league activities with a public school district, provided they meet the same requirements as other students, such as living in the district, making passing grades, and upholding standards of behavior and performance.

Despite the allowance, Abilene ISD has not given homeschoolers the green light to play for their teams, saying they are facing challenges like monitoring grades for homeschoolers, adding expenses, and more.

Wylie ISD, however, has been allowing homeschool students to participate in UIL since HB 547 was passed, and they say these challenges have not posed a huge issue for their district.

House Bill 547, which outlines all the criteria homeschoolers must meet, reads as follows:

AN ACT
 relating to authorizing equal opportunity for access by
 non-enrolled students to University Interscholastic League
 sponsored activities; authorizing a fee.
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
        SECTION 1.  Subchapter D, Chapter 33, Education Code, is
 amended by adding Section 33.0832 to read as follows:
        Sec. 33.0832.  EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR CERTAIN STUDENTS TO
 PARTICIPATE IN UNIVERSITY INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE ACTIVITIES. (a)
 In this section:
              (1)  “League” means the University Interscholastic
 League.
              (2)  “Non-enrolled student” means a student who
 receives instruction as described by Section 29.916(a)(1) from a
 nonpublic school.
        (b)  Nothing in this section may be construed to affect the
 holding in Texas Educ. Agency v. Leeper, 893 S.W.2d 432 (Tex. 1994),
 classifying home schools as private schools. The legislature finds
 that a home school is a private school for purposes of this section.
        (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (i), a public school
 that participates in an activity sponsored by the league may
 provide a non-enrolled student, who otherwise meets league
 eligibility standards to represent that school in a league
 activity, with the opportunity to participate in the activity on
 behalf of the school in the same manner that the school provides the
 opportunity to participate to students enrolled in the school.
        (d)  A non-enrolled student who seeks to participate or
 participates in a league activity on behalf of a school is subject
 to the following relevant policies that apply to students enrolled
 in the school:
              (1)  registration for league activities;
              (2)  age eligibility;
              (3)  fees;
              (4)  insurance;
              (5)  transportation;
              (6)  physical condition;
              (7)  qualifications;
              (8)  responsibilities;
              (9)  event schedules;
              (10)  standards of behavior; and
              (11)  performance.
        (e)  A non-enrolled student may only participate in a league
 activity for the school in the school district that the student
 would be eligible to attend based on the student’s residential
 address. A non-enrolled student who seeks to participate in a
 league activity on behalf of a school shall be required to establish
 minimum proof of residency acceptable to the district in the same
 manner as an applicant to attend a school in the district under
 Section 25.001.
        (f)  The parent or person standing in parental relation to a
 non-enrolled student is responsible for oversight of academic
 standards relating to the student’s participation in a league
 activity. As a condition of eligibility to participate in a league
 activity during the first six weeks of a school year, a non-enrolled
 student must demonstrate grade-level academic proficiency on any
 nationally recognized, norm-referenced assessment instrument, such
 as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Stanford Achievement Test,
 California Achievement Test, or Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills.
 A non-enrolled student demonstrates the required academic
 proficiency by achieving a composite, core, or survey score that is
 within the average or higher than average range of scores, as
 established by the applicable testing service. For purposes of
 this subsection, a school district shall accept assessment results
 administered or reported by a third party.
        (g)  A non-enrolled student’s demonstration of academic
 proficiency under Subsection (f) is sufficient for purposes of that
 subsection for the school year in which the student achieves the
 required score and the subsequent school year.
        (h)  After the first six weeks of a school year, the parent or
 person standing in parental relation to a non-enrolled student
 participating in a league activity on behalf of a public school must
 periodically, in accordance with the school’s grading calendar,
 provide written verification to the school indicating that the
 student is receiving a passing grade in each course or subject being
 taught.
        (i)  A non-enrolled student is not authorized by this section
 to participate in a league activity during the remainder of any
 school year during which the student was previously enrolled in a
 public school.
        (j)  The league may not prohibit a non-enrolled student from
 participating in league activities in the manner authorized by this
 section.
        (k)  With respect to a non-enrolled student’s education
 program, nothing in this section shall be construed to permit an
 agency of this state, a public school district, or any other
 governmental body to exercise control, regulatory authority, or
 supervision over a non-enrolled student or a parent or person
 standing in parental relation to a non-enrolled student beyond the
 control, regulatory authority, or supervision required to
 participate in a league activity.
        (l)  Subject only to eligibility requirements under this
 section for a non-enrolled student to participate in a league
 activity:
              (1)  the curriculum or assessment requirements,
 performance standards, practices, or creed of the education program
 provided to a non-enrolled student may not be required to be changed
 in order for the non-enrolled student to participate in a league
 activity; and
              (2)  for a non-enrolled student participating in an
 education program on January 1, 2021, the education program
 provided to that student may not be required to comply with any
 state law or agency rule relating to that education program unless
 the law or rule was in effect on January 1, 2021.
        (m)  Notwithstanding any other law, a non-enrolled student
 who participates in a league activity under this section is subject
 to the immunization requirements and exceptions of Section 38.001
 in the same manner as a public school student.
        SECTION 2.  This Act applies beginning with the 2021-2022
 school year.
        SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
 a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
 provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
 Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
 Act takes effect September 1, 2021.