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Cashless ticket systems for North Texas high school athletic events get mixed reactions

North Texas high school athletics cashless ticket systems get mixed reactions
North Texas high school athletics cashless ticket systems get mixed reactions 02:20

LEWISVILLE ( — As more and more school districts in North Texas move to cashless ticket sales for athletic events, there's growing concern about who is getting left behind. 

Some Lewisville ISD residents have been lobbying the district to change its policy. 

"People say this is the way of the future," said Winston Edmondson, who lives in Lewisville and works as a police officer in a nearby city. "I appreciate that. I see this is the way things are going, but not everyone is there." 

He first noticed the new purchasing system when he went to one of his daughter's basketball games last year. 

"I went to pay for my ticket just like normal, and they said, 'Wait a minute, we don't accept cash,'" he said. "I was kind of confused." 

To buy tickets, you must download a specific app, create an account, and use a debit or credit card to pay for them. 

A $3 or $5 ticket comes with a $1.50 processing fee. 

"Four tickets," Edmondson said as she showed how to navigate the app. "Now, the processing fee is $8.56. To me, it just feels like an extra slap in the face." 

So he turned to social media to express his outrage and was flooded with comments. 

People wrote things like, "Not all people have bank accounts or smartphones. Not fair leaving some out." and "The fees are what kill me!" 

"I learned that it was way bigger than my frustration about a $1.50 convenience fee," said Edmondson. "I can pay that. It's not a big deal. But there are families out there that legitimately don't have access to banking products." 

Edmondson also heard from families who say it's a struggle for elderly grandparents to navigate the purchasing process. 

"For some folks, it's a matter of, 'I will not be able to see my child play while you have this policy,'" he said. 

Lewisville ISD isn't the only school district in North Texas that has gone cashless for athletic events. All tickets for Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, and Arlington ISD games must be purchased digitally. 

Plano ISD uses an app as well, but the district's website says cash transactions are available at the gate for varsity football games. Garland ISD lets people buy tickets online or in person with cash. 

"From a risk standpoint, just not having employees handling cash and relying on volunteers," said LISD School Board Trustee Sheila Taylor. 

She said the district moved away from cash for audit reasons, as well as for safety and security, but she saw the backlash online. 

"We don't want to disenfranchise anyone," Taylor said. "So, if you want to attend the game to see your child play, or whatever the case may be, that you have the opportunity to do so. We don't want a policy to keep you from doing that." 

New this year, the district offers a two-hour window each Wednesday, from noon to 2 p.m., for fans to come to the LISD Athletics Office and buy tickets with cash. So far, there haven't been many taking advantage of the option. 

"We're super appreciative they've done this, but there's more work to be done," Edmondson said. 

He approached business owner Bill Walton about using his Lewisville coffee shop, the Human Bean, as a place to process cash transactions. 

"We actually have a button on our POS system that says, 'LISD,'" Walton said. "This is all a resource for the community, a resource for LISD. If they approve it, we're good to go." 

Walton and Edmondson say at the heart, this is about the community coming together to make sure no one gets left behind if they don't have a smartphone or debit card. 

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