Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Graduation Math - BOE Refuses to Fully Fund Graduation Venue Rental - Slush Funds Abound

When a MCPS high school collects a fee from every senior, what is the total amount of cash collected by the principal? 

For 2014 Graduations based on current senior enrollment the approximate cash collected, not counting late fees, could be:

Blair HS at $30                          $19,560                        
Walter Johnson HS at $60          $32,280
Richard Montgomery HS            $23,175
Northwest HS                             $22,100
Quince Orchard HS at $70         $32,060
Seneca Valley HS at $65            $16,900
Watkins Mill HS at $45              $15,795
Wheaton HS at $55                     $13,750

Based on our past research, the cost to rent DAR Constitution Hall is $5,700. 

MCPS paid $76,500 in FY 2013 to DAR for 21 high schools to graduate.   

It would appear, therefore, that the Board of Education is refusing to pay the full rental cost of this graduation venue. 
According to the numbers on the MCPS Funding Accountability and Transparency webpage, the BOE is only funding $3,642 per school graduation. 
That would leave $2,058 per high school for the graduation venue fee.  

Now, take a look at how much cash the above high schools are collecting from seniors in the name of graduation venue costs!  

Again, if graduation/senior fees were legal they would be authorized by the Board of Education and there would be a public accounting for the fees collected in the MCPS budget. 


  1. There are additional graduation costs: caps, gowns, and diplomas. It doesn't look like this was factored into the calculations.

    1. BUZZ. Try Again. The Board of Education pays for the diplomas.

      There is no need for a cap and gown if a student uses one from a previous year. All a student needs is a tassel. See the BCC HS post.

      9201.4 Diploma and Certificate Covers—Extension


      Jostens, Inc. $ 39,696


  2. I find the whole concept of "senior dues" to be truly bizarre. We recently receive the following note from Walt Whitman: "There are approximately 50 students who have not paid senior dues. Please check the obligation list posted on the main office window. You will not be permitted to buy prom tickets or receive a cap/gown until all obligations have been taken care of." Walter Johnson at least posts a contact for anyone with financial concerns. While I am sure Whitman would also be responsive to financial burden, they did not provide such information.

    A few years back parents kicked up a fuss: http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/graduation

    Are senior dues a common practice in other school districts?

    1. Not in Maryland. Montgomery County is the big winner on charging students fake fees. Principals love the fake fees because they build up a slush fund for the principal that is outside the control of the Board of Education or MCPS.
      "Senior dues" are not mandatory, are not authorized by the BOE or the legislature and are not required for graduation. Pay them if you wish and mark the payment "gift" for your accounting purposes.

      P.S. Can you forward the notice about senior dues to our e-mail? contact@parentscoalitionmc.com Thanks.

  3. And they use the slush fund to buy mirrors and surveillance equipment that no one monitors.

    1. Ha! That's funny, but the BOE buys the surveillance cameras that aren't monitored. That brilliant plan was put in place by NANCY NAVARRO when she was the BOE President. Send her a thank you note for that one!


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