FRISCO (WBAP/KLIF News) – The Frisco School Board unanimously voted to halt the opening of two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school next fall.
“It’ll save the district $15 million,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Lyon. “We add anywhere between three and four new schools a year, and have done for the last 20 years. We have gone from four campuses in the early 90s to 68 campuses in 2016.”
The district has a $30 million budget deficit. Lyon said contrary to what some are saying, the shortfall has nothing to do with the $30 million the district contributed to the Dallas Cowboys’ new practice and administrative facility called “The Star.” “It’s two completely different buckets of money. One allowed us to participate with the city on ‘The Star.’ It has no relationship to being able to fund teachers or open schools… Delaying the four schools allows us to move forward without negatively impacting any opportunities for students or any academic programming for kids, and that is why this is a good recommendation.”
Lyon said the budget deficit has more to do with money taken by the state for school funding.
The district plans to temporarily shift school boundaries to put affected students into other schools.
Frisco ISD is the fastest growing school district in the state, and the top five in the nation.
Press release from the Frisco Independent School District:
The Frisco ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday evening to delay the opening of four new schools until 2018, saving the District more than $15 million in operational costs.
Memorial High School, Lawler Middle School, Liscano Elementary and Talley Elementary had been planned to open in fall 2017.
District leadership recommended the delays following the failure of a property tax increase which would have helped offset cuts in state funding.
“It is not a desirable situation, but it is a way to save considerable amounts of money without negatively impacting student programs and opportunities,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeremy Lyon. “We have demonstrated that we have capacity by utilizing existing facilities and classroom space.”
The delays set up a rezoning process this fall that will have an extra focus on school capacity and effective utilization of space.
District leaders will present preliminary attendance zone changes for the 2017-18 school year at the next regular Board meeting on November 14. Following the meeting, proposals will be shared with parents and input will be taken through phone calls and emails, as well as during the December regular School Board meeting. A final decision is anticipated for the January meeting.
The schools currently under construction, which will now open in 2018 include:
- Memorial High School, 12300 Frisco Street; intended to relieve Wakeland, Lone Star and Heritage high schools
- Lawler Middle School, 12921 Rolater Road; intended to relieve Vandeventer and Scoggins middle schools
- Talley Elementary, 5900 Coit Road; intended to relieve Curtsinger and McSpedden elementary schools
- Liscano Elementary, 11222 Mammoth Cave Lane; intended to relieve Mooneyham, Norris and Sem elementary schools
The decision to delay the new schools is the first of many steps to build a sustainable and balanced budget for the 2017-18 school year and following years.
FISD is currently seeking input from the community at www.friscoisd.org/budgetfeedback regarding District priorities and ideas for cost savings. Responses will be reviewed and vetted through the priorities-based budgeting process. Three committees consisting of FISD employees and community members have been formed to identify and recommend cost savings to the School Board next spring.
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