Catherine Ross, Collin County Reporter
The Lovejoy Independent School District will start accepting students from other districts as long as they pay tuition.
A Collin County school district is planning to accept transfer students from outside the district in exchange for tuition.
The Lovejoy Independent School District's out-of-district program requires annual fees per student -- $10,000 per student in middle and high school and $8,000 per child in kindergarten or elementary school.
Superintendent Ted Moore said that state budget cuts have forced administrators to get "creative" to find funding.
Lovejoy ISD is consistently ranked high in the state, with all five campuses ranked "exemplary" in the last state assessment in 2011.
"The No. 1 reason people move to Lovejoy is for the school district," Moore said. "The quality of the school district is a marketable asset."
The district said it often fields phone calls from parents in neighboring cities who wonder if Lovejoy accepts transfers and if the district would consider accepting students if the family paid tuition.
"Our answer has been, 'No, we don't do that' -- until now," Moore said.
With a sixth campus -- a middle school -- under construction, Lovejoy ISD has the space to accommodate more students, Moore said.
The program will also allow the district to continue its level of programming without raising taxes.
But Frisco parent Lorie Smith said that paying "college money" for public school is not a part of a reasonable budget.
"I think the quality of the schools are good enough that I wouldn't pay for a public school in this area," she said.
Other parents wondered if the program could detract from schools in nearby cities, such as McKinney or Allen, if too many children from one grade level at one school chose to leave.
Lovejoy ISD said the number of students it is admitting is low enough to avoid a major effect on other districts, though it will gauge demand over the next few weeks. The district won't accept more than 15 out-of-district students per grade level.
The district is accepting applications for tuition-based enrollment on its website.