While politics might always be an issue that is carefully tiptoed around when it comes to a casual conversation; one thing that a majority of reasonable people on both sides of the aisle agree on is that the education system in our country is extremely important for the betterment of society as a whole.
However, with funding for education being slashed across the country, often public school districts must find creative ways to invest the smaller and smaller amount of funding they have to properly provide for its students. So, having graduated from the Texas public school system back in the year 2016, I felt that it was my responsibility, nay, my duty, to report on the groundbreaking and clever use of funds that my hometown’s school district has done in order to make for a focused and effective education system.
I hail from the great state of Texas, in a suburb called Frisco forty-five minutes north of Dallas. Originally nothing more than farmland and a train station, Frisco has rapidly expanded within the last twenty years, turning wide open fields as well as “Mom and Pop” restaurants into superstores, corporate coffee shops, and apartment complexes of exponentially increasing height.
As most of the new residences of Frisco are commuters on their way to and from their offices in Dallas, Frisco faced a problem of a huge influx of kids in desperate need of a place to go to school. Only one high school was clearly not enough for the ever-growing number of students (as of the beginning of this fall semester, Frisco Independent School District has over 62,000 students enrolled in their schools). So began the rapid construction of schools across the city, currently sitting at ten high schools for the sixty-two square mile city of Frisco.
If you’ve had the pleasure of attending an American public high school, this following paragraph might hit close to home. Because even though I’m from one of the more well-off places to grow up in the country, underpaid staff, outdated textbooks and many other problems still plagued my high school experience while my football program thrived.
While I can be thankful and say there was never a time in going to school at Frisco I ever felt unsafe or in danger, the school district’s use of funding shows an alarming amount of misplaced goals for the district, especially once a large financial decision was made in 2016.
While Dallas doesn’t boast glitzy tourist destinations, our consistently underperforming football team is one of the most recognizable in the world. So when their owner Jerry Jones announced the plans for a new and improved practice facility, the talk in Dallas was centered around where the facility would set up shop. As Frisco was putting the finishing touches on their recent eighth high school in town, the venues available for Friday night football suddenly were not enough, and school district execs began making talks with Jones to see if they could use the practice facility for high school football games and graduations.
A deal between FISD, the Cowboys, and Nike was made, and to fulfill their end of the bargain, “Frisco ISD contributed $30 million toward the construction of ‘The Star,’ a joint effort among the Cowboys, the district and the city.” With this deal, FISD would be able to have their logo on certain parts of the stadium, as well as the occasional use of the facility for a UIL event. Making a deal with the Cowboys also meant a deal with Nike, which meant for mandatory Nike sponsored uniforms for all of the district’s football teams, but “ironically, the Nike deal does not include shoes. Frisco ISD requires students to provide their own.“
I can already hear the corporate apologist’s counter-arguments; “I don’t see the issue here, the district is able to do events at a state of the art facility and the teams get new uniforms out of it.” Well to that my dear reader I ask a follow up question: Why is my former school district spending over four million hours worth of minimum wage on an event venue when there are art programs in its schools that had not seen a boost in funding in multiple years? Why are there non-functional bathrooms in schools when the school district clearly has the money to fix them? Why did I spend my high school career looking at sponsored advertisements from companies that paid my district for my eyes and attention to their product?
I know I’m ranting. But the questions still stand. Why do school districts across the country claim to not have the funding to properly have their schools function to their best ability while making outrageously expensive deals with massive companies and corporations? To this, my dear reader, I can only leave you the question. Because as to why school districts across the country are misusing their funds and keeping young students from reaching their full potential is beyond the comprehension of this frustrated writer.