Galt Joint Union High School District trustees narrowly approved holding Liberty Ranch High School’s 2012 graduation ceremony at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. The 3-2 vote was taken at a special meeting Monday.
The school’s inaugural graduation is set for June 1.
The cost for one graduation practice and the ceremony will be close to $5,000 for rental and security.
“Financially, to say we’re going to drive 25 miles and rent a facility instead of using one here for free is not honest to the public,” high school district trustee Kathleen Amos said. She and fellow trustee Angela DaPrato voted against the proposal.
But Principal Brian Deis said there is a cost associated with holding the ceremony in Galt.
If it was held on Liberty Ranch’s football field, for example, there would be the cost to rent bleachers or chairs for both students and spectators, and lights would need to be brought in since the ceremony is at night, according to Deis.
“That would require fundraising of $15,000 or more,” he said, using figures based on the cost of past Galt High graduations.
Ceremonies are typically paid for through a combination of site funds and senior class fundraising. In Elk Grove, for example, students sell tickets to pay for their ceremonies at Power Balance Pavillion in Sacramento, Deis said.
Fees for Liberty Ranch’s ceremony will be paid using a combination of site and state lottery funds. This is how the cost breaks down:
- $1,875 rental, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- $2,350 for stagehands, lighting and sound package.
- $340 maximum for on-site security.
- $350 for grand piano rental (without tuning), if the school opts to use one.
The costs do not include bus transportation for students from Galt to Sacramento twice that day, and chartered buses for parents without vehicles attending the ceremony, according to Amos.
That will cost an additional estimated $700, according to Deis.
He said the discussion on where to hold the ceremony started last spring.
“It came up to hold it at Galt High School, but students wanted to do it somewhere different since they are not Galt High students,” Deis said.
The contract with Sacramento Memorial was originally voted on at last Tuesday’s regular school board meeting, but the vote was split 2-2. Board president Diann Kitamura was absent, so the item was placed on a special agenda and discussed Monday.
Amos also takes issue with holding the graduation outside city limits when there are city parks and other facilities available, she said.
“It’s a community event. It should be held in the community,” she said. “This is a dangerous precedence to set if other schools want to do the same in the future.”
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.