Recently, my group researched and presented on the “Tebow Bill”. The bill proposes to allow part-time students such as homeschooled and private school students, to participate in sports and school activities. The bill has met with much controversy from public school associations. The Virginia High School League(VHSL) is one of the largest opponents to the bill. The VHSL fears that the bill will allow part-time students to school shop for the best schools for certain sports or programs. The Virginia bill, however, will not allow students to participate in schools which are not in their attendance zone. This one element in my opinion will weaken the argument for the defeating the bill.
The bill would not have as significant of an impact on the elementary schools as the high schools. However, if part-time students are able to pick and choose classes within the school day there could be staffing implications. Elementary classes are not supposed to exceed 25 in grades K-2 and 30 in grades 3-5. So if a part-time student wants to participate in music and the class already has thirty students in it, then an additional section may have to be added. The money to pay for additional staffing has not been allocated to the school or the division. The student would not have been factored into the per student expenditure for the school budget from the county. So the school would be faced with no more with fewer resources.
Initially, I was not in favor of the bill but the more I researched for the project the more I see the point of view of the part-time students. These families have paid taxes to support our schools. They should have equal access to the class offerings and extra curricular activities. The question in my mind is not if they should be allowed to participate, but how can the state or localities do a better job of allocating funding to support the additional staffing that may be required to accommodate part-time students in our classrooms.