Sure, MCPS has the highest per pupil spending in the State of Maryland.
Sure, the MCPS budget if over $2.3 billion.
But Superintendent Jerry Weast doesn't believe that students should be rewarded for earning a high school diploma with a graduation ceremony.
So Superintendent Weast doesn't fully fund graduation ceremonies.
Many MCPS high schools use DAR Constitution Hall for their graduation ceremony. The rental of that facility is $5,700 per graduation.
...Lafen estimated that graduating at DAR will cost Blair $6,000 beyond the $5,000 Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) allocates to reduce the burden of graduation expenses. Based on these figures, he predicted that seniors will have to contribute about $10 in senior dues in addition to money collected for cap and gowns. Lafen warned, however, that MCPS Superintendent Jerry Weast has proposed budget cuts that could further increase senior dues. "Just in the last couple of days, Mr. Williams [Blair's principal] was given notice that MCPS may cut graduation funding by $1,600," he said...
How will MCPS high schools pay for the rental of DAR Constitution Hall this year?
Seniors will be taxed.
It's called "senior dues" and it is a fee at many high schools that is required for MCPS seniors to graduate.
The "senior graduation fee" isn't discussed or voted on by the Board of Education, and isn't authorized by the State Board of Education, or the Maryland legislature.
Is it legal? Doubt it. But if you want your child to have a graduation ceremony you better pay up.
Don't count on any elected officials to stand up for your child's right to a free public education including a graduation ceremony. Local and state officials have ignored the illegal curricular fees still being charged by MCPS, and remember that the County Council already approved Superintendent Weast's underfunding of the DAR/Constitution Hall rental fee for 2010 graduations.
*County Council's Education Committee: Valerie Ervin, Chair, Mike Knapp and Phil Andrews.