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Budget Cuts Force Frisco ISD To Start Classes Earlier

By Jack Fink, CBS 11 News
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A teacher assists a student in her third-grade class. (credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

A teacher assists a student in her third-grade class. (credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – The projected steep state budget cuts will force Frisco elementary and middle school students to start classes earlier next fall.

Parents were told during a Monday evening school board meeting. Many are mixed on the idea.

“They don’t want to get up in the morning already,” said Ricka Jones, a father of four.

Heather Brown, mother of two added, “My kids are my alarm clock in the morning. They get us up in the morning.”

The district believes it can save $525,000 by driving costs down for buses.

It will spread out school start times for elementary, middle and high schools so fewer buses and bus drivers would be needed to take students to their schools.

“If you’re trying to keep from laying off teachers and staff, we feel it’s certainly beneficial,” said Richard Wilkinson, Frisco ISD Deputy Superintendent of Business and Operations.

It’s among the millions of dollars in cuts the school board made Monday night, with many more millions of dollars in cuts to considered later this month.

Under the worst-case scenario, Frisco ISD will lose up to $60 million in state funding during the next two years.

That comes at the same time it will gain as many as 7,000 new students and open four new schools. And while the district is not calling for any layoffs, it won’t be hiring many new teachers either, guaranteeing larger classes.

That concerns James, who moved to Frisco from Dallas.

“The public schools are just like private schools so we definitely need more teachers,” he said.

Later this month, the school board will also debate raising the tax rate. Brown said she doesn’t mind if they do.

“I don’t see that as a huge cost to me to see to it that my kids have the best education they can get,” Brown said.

If the board decides to raise the tax rate later this month, taxpayers would not get to vote because Frisco ISD’s tax rate is below the state cap, district officials said.

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