Frisco ISD suspending controversial athletics fee

The Frisco Independent School District will not collect a controversial fee for student athletes for at least one year.

The district began charging middle school athletes $100 and high school athletes twice that much in 2017 to close a multi-million budget hole. Last year, student athletes paid about $1.7 million in fees.

Many criticized the "pay to play" idea and worried the fees would sideline students from less affluent homes. But school board members voted in favor of it to keep the budget balanced.

Frisco ISD said it spends about $10 million each year on extra-curricular activities. The fee was intended to help offset the costs for transportation, security, laundry and game officials.

With new money coming in from the state, the fee will be dropped for the 2019-2020 school year and the idea will be revisited.

"After listening to our community stakeholders, we have made the recommendation to study all fees collected by our campuses," said Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Smith. "Suspending the athletics fee will ease some of the burden for now, and the study will allow us to ensure any fee collected in the future is meaningful, reasonable and aligned with the goals and priorities of the program."

Frisco ISD will also give teachers a $2,000 raise across the board with the increased state funding. Teachers with more than five years of experience will get an additional $500.

And, the district bumped the starting teacher salary from $53,000 to $54,500.