Frisco ISD considers money-saving ideas amid budget concerns

- From paying to play sports to helping keep classrooms clean, parents and staff are making recommendations on ways to save money in Frisco ISD. The district is facing a $30 million budget shortfall over the next few years.

Recommendations came out of months of meetings with a budget committee made up of parents and staff to look at the budget after voters turned down a proposed property tax hike last summer.

Hunt Reifschneider, the dad to two current Frisco ISD students, is one of the parents recruited to a budget committee to look for places where the district could save money.  

“I was anxious to try and get involved and see what we could do to try and kind of look through some sort of compromise, find a way through all of this and make sure that our education was still focused in on the students,” he said.

The school board heard a budget report Monday night on the heels of receiving around 50 money-saving recommendations last week. Some of the ideas proposed were to reduce consulting contracts, cut central admin costs and ask students and staff to place trash cans in hallways at the end of each day. 

“Really just about having them help out recycling in the lunchroom, having them keep their classrooms clean just to help our janitorial staff a little bit to reduce the amount of hours that our janitors have to spend on our campuses,” said Frisco ISD CFO Kimberly Pickens.

Other ideas included charging parking fees for athletic events and increasing the cost of admission to some games as a way to avoid cuts to extracurricular activities. 

“We're all in this to do what's best for kids,” Pickens said. “So if there are some things we can find in our budget that don’t impact students, then those are certainly things we're going to consider.”

Last year, the school board approved this school year's budget, anticipating voters would agree to a property tax hike. Voters turned it down.

The district, which has grown from four schools in 1993 to 68 today, has already decided to delay the opening of four new campuses and freeze salaries to cut costs. But the district will need to find more money before the school board makes its final decisions. 

The initial recommendations will be vetted by two more internal groups at the district to help shape the budget recommendations for next school year. The board votes on the budget in June.

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