Fee Recommendations will Help Fine Arts, Athletics Families

May 15, 2020

During the 2019-20 school year, Frisco ISD did a comprehensive study of fees charged to students for various courses and activities. Based on that review, the 2020-21 FISD budget includes recommendations to boost the District’s secondary fine arts budget and continue the suspension of the athletics operational fee for middle and high school students. 

The recommendations were part of the District’s preliminary budget that was presented Wednesday, May 13. The budget is scheduled to be presented for approval at the FISD Board of Trustees meeting on June 8. A public hearing and adoption of the budget is set for June 22.

The recommendation to indefinitely suspend the athletics operational fee would result in no change from the 2019-20 school year. During the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, the FISD athletics operational fee was $100 for a middle school student and $200 for a high school student, but that fee was suspended during the current school year.

The study of fees led to another recommendation designed to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for families: an increase to the District’s secondary fine arts budget. The proposed increase is not intended to eliminate fundraising but is an effort to reduce the amount families pay to have their students participate in fine arts.

“We are proud of our fine arts and athletics programs, both for their achievements and the way they enhance our students’ educational experiences,” said FISD Chief Student Services Officer Erin Miller. “These programs are critical to our mission to reach all students and maximize their opportunities.”

Fine arts courses, unlike athletics or other elective courses, have both curricular and extracurricular components. The District’s fine arts budget pays for the curricular portions of each program and students pay course fees related to consumable, student-owned supplies for the curricular components of these programs. 

The added funds would help support secondary fine arts teachers across the District supplement their classroom budgets. The costs for the extracurricular components of these programs vary from campus to campus and are often paid for through fundraising efforts.

While it will not eliminate fundraising efforts altogether, the increased budget should help offset some of the extracurricular enhancements currently funded by booster clubs. Booster clubs collect money from families for both fine arts and athletics programs, but those groups and the fees they charge have no affiliation with Frisco ISD other than existing to provide support to the programs.

The FISD study of student fees, which analyzed the types of fees being charged, whether they were required or mandatory and whether the fee was consistent with District guidelines, did not recommend changes to student fees that were optional. It also included recommendations for a development of a consistent fee structure for middle school fine arts programs and high school theatre productions to be implemented during the 2021-22 school year.

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