What you should know about Frisco schools for the 2018-2019 school year
Frisco schools: FISD a destination school district for relocating families
Many families moving into the DFW area have decided to make Frisco, TX their home.
Many reasons may factor into this. Including Frisco’s family-centered and inclusive culture, the mecca of world-class sports, shopping and dining facilities, it’s rich history of economic growth. Or, even the city’s easy access to major airports.
But one reason consistently cited for the move to Frisco is the Frisco Independent School District. Here are a few factors why Frisco schools are such a sought-after destination for parents of school-age children:
- Consistently rated high quality of academics, student activities and college readiness by Texas Education Agency (TEA) and numerous other agencies including GreatSchools.org and Niche.com
- FISD ranked #8 of 985 as Best School Districts in Texas, and #60 of 10,574 in the United States
- Approved as a District of Innovation in 2017 through House Bill 1842 allowing FISD to access options available to charter schools
- Frisco is also ranked #20 out of 984 districts for the Best Teachers in Texas with average 9.4 years of experience, and considered as one of the safest districts in the US, coming in at #330 out of 10,576
- Excellent success rates of 97% attendance and 98.2% 4-year graduation rate
- Access to world-class athletic and training facilities including Ford Center at The Star and recently opened Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research facility
- Special program centers including the renowned Career and Technical Education Center (CATE Center), as well as the Early Childhood School and Student Opportunity Center
- Small-school model dedicated to creating small, personalized learning environments to help students reach their full potential
Frisco continues high-growth pace
For many of the factors cited above, Frisco ISD continues to be one of the fastest growing districts in Texas, and in the United States. As an example, in 1993 Frisco was home to just four schools with total enrollment at 1,933 students.
At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, Frisco had 68 schools (plus 3 special program schools) and a total enrollment of over 58,000 students K-12.
Frisco typically adds 2,500 – 3,500 new students each year and current projections put enrollment at FISD at 73,000 by 2027.
FISD Historical & Projected Enrollment Growth 1991-2022
New Frisco schools opening this fall
For the 2018-2019 school year, Frisco is opening 4 new schools including:
Lawler Middle School
Memorial High School
These new schools will add $18 million to the district’s annual operating budget ($473.5 million for 2017-2018) and 347.5 new staff positions.
With the new school openings, Frisco’s network of schools will stand at:
10 high schools
17 middle schools
42 elementary schools
3 special program centers
Is the small-school model for high schools still in play in Frisco?
As mentioned above, the FISD small-school model is one of the primary reasons why many families choose Frisco for their new hometown. Frisco adopted the small-school model more than two years ago with the intention of providing a more personalized approach to education for students.
Challenges for the small-school model
But, the small-school model comes with some drawbacks. Rezoning is an annual event in Frisco. And, each year families are faced with the possibility of switching schools as new schools are built to accommodate the growing enrollment.
Additionally, the small-school model takes a toll on FISD’s operating budget. The model can add 3-5% more when compared to larger campus districts such as Allen according to FISD’s chief financial officer, Kimberly Pickens. In August of 2016, Frisco voters chose not to ratify a tax increase of .13 cents to support rising operational costs for FISD. Soon after, the district began tightening its financial belt.
Potential changes to Frisco’s small-school model
FISD’s continued growth combined with tighter budgets has caused the city to consider possible changes to its small-school model. A long-range planning committee made up of residents was formed at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year to engage the community and help determine what is best for the city.
A survey to community members about the size of Frisco ISD high schools included over 4,100 respondents and showed 80% in favor of wanting to keep the small-school model. Reasons for those in favor included “more opportunities for extracurricular activities” and “the student feeling more connected to the school” as primary factors.
The start of the 2018-2019 school year is the first time in over 20 years the district has no new schools under construction. This comes with Frisco’s ‘wait and see’ outlook on starting new school construction and the balance of its small-school model with operating costs.
Some potential upcoming changes under Frisco’s new philosophy could add more temporary buildings on high school campuses to accommodate growth, as well as larger class sizes. Since the 2016-17 school year, class size has increased. At the high-school level, the percentage of core content classes having more than 30 students rose from 13% in fall of 2016 to 19% in fall 2017.
FISD’s bright future continues
The long-range planning committee and FISD are still working on solutions to help keep Frisco and FISD a top destination for families. And FISD has stated that figuring out the best school model for Frisco is priority one.
So, what do you think? We’d love to hear your feedback on Frisco schools – join the conversation on our Facebook page. And, if you are thinking of moving to Frisco, we’d love to show you around. Call us at 469-634-0932 any time!
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine twelve times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly. Judi is also a Company-Wide Top performer with Ebby Halliday and the #2 Top Group for Ebby Halliday Frisco.