A cash-strapped Florida high school is charging students a $20 fee just to participate in this year’s commencement ceremony, and their parents are being charged $200 for prime seating at the May 31 graduation.
Manatee High School in Bradenton blocked off 10 rows of prime seating in the end zone of Hawkins Stadium and is selling the benches to parents and families for $200 a row.
All the other seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, the Bradenton Herald reported.
The high school’s new fees go to cover the cost of its $12,000 commencement after the school district pulledi its $3,400 contribution this year.
For the first time the school also charged graduates to walk in the ceremony, which is reportedly common at other high schools in the district. If students could not afford the fee, it was waived.
“I am not here to make money off my kids,” Manatee High School Principal Don Sauer told the Herald.
Each bench, according to the Bradenton Herald, seats about 15 people, but Sauer said students will only be allowed three or four guests.
"The ceremony isn't really for students, the ceremony is for the parents," he said.
He said they decided to sell the rows after estimates that the school’s budget would be $1,500 short of the funds needed for graduation.