24 thoughts on “Add Plano to the List

  • September 22, 2010 at 5:17 pm
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    Merritt, you raise a lot of good points but I don’t see an issue with this one.

    I looked at the communications you received from HPISD and don’t see an issue here. The organization is a nonprofit, the financial statements are audited and we all know the state doesn’t provide sufficient funding for extracurricular activities. I also assume that the fees aren’t illegal.

    And you can’t point at Plano and Coppell and say they are better stewards of funds because they don’t have fees for athletics. They’re just raising funds another way, like making the parents join booster clubs and wear identical tshirts or do a lot of fundraisers in which they send kids out on the streets (and parents to the office) to sell trinkets and magazines. I’d much rather pay a fee.

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  • September 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm
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    Hey, let’s have a middle and high-school auction and donate all the money to athletics instead of the ACE fee! Wouldn’t that be FUN!!

    All of you parents who are in a huff spent literally thousands of dollars at the elementary schools on carnivals, auctions, Sally Foster, etc. Remember how much you spent to buy ceramic class projects, have your kid be principal of the day, or to be carnival sponsor?

    It’s only $250 per kid. For a voluntary activity. Please, please, move on.

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  • September 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm
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    Coppell charges $150 per kid, up to a max of $300 per family for extracurriculars- football, volleyball, band, choir etc. In addition, there are booster club fees (for volleyball- not too bad, for band $500 before the school owned instrument fee and the $1500 band trip). Public school sure is expensive!

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  • September 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm
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    Obviously you have struck a nerve, Merritt. Keep digging.

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  • September 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm
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    Hey Laurie,
    Guess what? Not every parent spends thousands of dollars
    on that stuff! In fact, lots of parents don’t! Because it’s voluntary! That’s why the ace fee should be a voluntary donation – not required. Remeber? It’s a public school!

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  • September 23, 2010 at 8:19 am
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    JP, you are right many parents do not spend thousands of dollars on “that stuff”. However, you should be thankful for the parents who do; otherwise, the ACE fee would likely be higher or there would be drastic cuts in the athletic department that many would not be happy about. It is voluntary to donate, but IT IS ALSO VOLUNTARY TO PARTICIPATE IN SPORTS! The school is not required to field any of the teams, so, in the world of Robin Hood, I expect to kick into the kitty.

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  • September 23, 2010 at 8:57 am
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    For HPISD to raise the 400k through taxes would cost residents close to 1.3 million. The fee is the most cost-effective way to raise the money. The school offers hardship waivers for student-athletes that can’t afford it. Not sure there is much of a story here, it costs more to play Y athletics.

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  • September 23, 2010 at 9:31 am
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    @jp, Participation in extracurricular activities is also voluntary. Whether it’s through this fee or a tax increase, someone has to pick up the tab. This is a lot of complaining and whining over something that seems fairly straightforward to me.

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  • September 23, 2010 at 9:55 am
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    Okay, all of you who are so happy to pay this fee, explain to me why is it is so much higher than any other public school. All Merritt is trying to do is find out what exactly it covers. So far, the answer is “it goes into the general fund to cover athletic costs”. That answer is not specific enough. Surely you all are intellegent enough to realize the potential for corruption here. What if the fee were $500? Would you pay that? How about $1000? When repairmen come to your house and charge three times what they charge in other neighborhoods, is that okay with you, too?

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  • September 23, 2010 at 10:56 am
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    Is the Ace fee payment tax deductible?

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  • September 23, 2010 at 10:58 am
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    JP, I don’t think the “potential for corruption” is high. Ms Williams has done her duty and given the detail of expenses that the athletic budget covers. The category of detail and how those are classified are mandated by the state and they are audited on a regular basis. A simple understanding of accounting and a review of actual expenses on the published accounting statements give me some reasonable assurance that their isn’t a lot of extravagance. Merritt is doing her job and driving comments on the blog so don’t fool yourself into believing that Madoff is pocketing funds here. If my kids want to participate in sports and others do not, I feel it is my obligation to support those efforts. I’ll be happy to pay what I can afford. If not, I’m sure that a vote to increase your taxes would get you just as riled up.

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  • September 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm
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    AMD,
    You still did not answer my question, Why is our fee so much higher than every other public school? If my kids want to play athletics, I’m happy to pay for it, also. Tell me how much the uniform is and I’ll pay for it. Equipment? We can chip in for that too. How much are the busses? Let’s divide the cost by the number of kids riding and pay that. But to charge a blanket high fee to everyone “because they can afford it”, is unethical at best. By the way, our taxes are going up. Doesn’t bother me near as much as all the unexplained fees the district charges.

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  • September 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm
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    jp – you seemed to have missed some of the earlier posts, especially the one where the expenses are detailed. Basically the ACE fee covers very little of the total cost. If you want to pay your share, you can figure out what that is and I’m sure the district would be happy to take your check.

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  • September 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm
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    Do other schools take city school buses to events rather than the chartered buses that HP students take to away events? Perhaps that’s the difference in the cost (@ jp)

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  • September 23, 2010 at 6:22 pm
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    AMD,
    I did not miss any posts. Again, you have not answered my question. Do you think the district would take my check instead of making me pay the ACE fee? I think not. And another by the way, just because our books are audited does not guarantee anything. Enron’s books were audited. So were all the banks and mortgage companies that are failing. For that matter, so are DISD’s. I can think of a few financial scandals they have had.

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  • September 23, 2010 at 7:00 pm
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    Hey jp, you’re actually quite funny. Not sure how old your kids are or even if you have kids.

    Everything around here is voluntary, except when it isn’t.

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  • September 24, 2010 at 8:09 am
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    JP, perhaps the other districts have lower or no fees because their booster clubs have higher dues, maybe they sell more candy bars, maybe the costs of transportation aren’t allocated to the athletic dept, etc……I don’t know why the fees are different because I don’t live in those districts. No one here has enumerated all of those facts to clarify why they are different but are simply insinuating that there is some sinister force at work. Quite frankly, the point is I don’t care why the fees are lower or nonexistent. I live in this district because I think my kids will get a better education and have a better school experience. If they want to participate in a VOLUNTARY activity, I feel that I should contribute.

    I am sure the athletic department would be happy to any donation you would like to offer. I think the previous poster’s point is that the ACE fee is cheaper than paying for uniforms, transportation, etc. on an individual basis.

    Enron was audited, but somehow I doubt that the transactions at HPISD are anywhere near the complexity of Enron’s. DISD has had some scandals with credit cards that I can recall, but the insinuation that the ACE fee is somehow some kind of illegality worse than a ponzi scheme is simply ludicrous.

    If you want to find something to be angry about, direct your wrath at Robin Hood. It is the main reason the ACE fee exists.

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  • September 24, 2010 at 9:27 am
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    @jp, Your share of the cost for uniforms, bus rental, fuel, bus driver, equipment, referees, salaries, etc. will be a lot higher than $250.

    Also, perhaps you haven’t noticed, but everything about living in the Park Cities costs more than it does in other parts of the Metroplex. And when 3/4 of the school tax dollars go elsewhere, parents have to pick up the shortfall. It’s really not that hard to figure out.

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  • September 24, 2010 at 10:43 am
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    AMD (and others) make an excellent point about Robin Hood. I think it’s virtually impossible to compare districts to each other without taking into account how much money they have to pay OUT (or get IN) via Robin Hood.

    And the idea that each and every expense for your kid to play sports should be broken out and paid for on a case-by-case basis is beyond insane. (That’s why it’s such a pain to go to lunch with a group of women vs. a group of men: add 30 minutes for the women to get out their calculators to determine to the penny how much each one owes individually… but that’s another topic for another day). A pre-determined flat fee works best.

    Until someone can come up with a smoking gun on some actual financial malfeasance that ACE has enabled, then I don’t think it’s that big a deal.

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  • September 24, 2010 at 11:34 am
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    I did not think it was a good article. Lots of bias and false claims. Failed to mention that the HP football kids practice on a baseball field, too. All the time. And the math: Did the 285 spent per student refer to just athletes or totall student body… if just athletes, and we reduce that cost by the parents 250, HP’s actual expense is lower than anyone mentioned… Can someone check those numbers and tell me…
    And is ACE fee tax deductible.

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  • September 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm
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    AMD,
    One of your sentences sums up this thread and the reason for all the people who think the fee is fine, “I don’t know why the fees are different….Quite frankly, the point is I don’t care.” Most people in this district just want to pay whatever is asked for – absolutely no questions asked. That is why the fees are higher, because the district can get away with it. People will pay it, no matter how high it is. Your statement about how you will pay whatever you can afford is unbelievable, but common. So if a car is worth $5000, but the price is
    $20,000, you will pay that simply because you can afford it? You don’t even want to KNOW whether you are getting the right value for what you are paying. And all these comments about Robin Hood. Yes, it’s terrible and yes I know we have to give away tons of our money. But so do Plano and Southlake, and Coppell, and I think even DISD is considered a propery-wealthy district. We are no different that many, many other districts in that regard. I do think it is a good article in the DMN about funding, but it is mainly about booster clubs, where it is voluntary to contribute. What we are talking about here is the school district REQUIRING a large donation. Someone keeps asking if it is tax deductible. If it is, then it can not be required. Fees are not tax deductible, donations to some organizations are. The fact that we have such a great booster club that raises so much money, not to mention the endless other fund-raising things we do, is even more reason to question a required “donation” by the district.

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  • September 27, 2010 at 5:25 pm
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    The kids have to learn early, you pay to play, that’s the Park Cities way. AND as they grow older they pay to go to the Parties. You all need to work on NOT sending the Robin Hood money away.

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