La Plata High School requires seniors and graduating juniors to pay a minimum of $50 to graduate, being senior dues. If a student chooses to walk and receive their diploma with their graduating class, there is an additional fee of $38 (or more, depending on time of purchase), which accounts for the cap and gown. If they were to wish to have memorabilia, the parents and students could be looking at a price ranging from $10 to $2,177, which would include t-shirts, a class ring, a yearbook, pictures, a graduation DVD, and a Certificate of Merit Pin, but excludes prom tickets, the senior trip, and other costs labeled To-Be-Decided. Out of the given costs, La Plata receives an estimated profit of $167.
For students in high-income families, the given costs would not be an issue if their child were to apply to three colleges (the average admission being $41, test scores $12, and transcripts $2 each) and spend the $88 needed to graduate with the class. In regards to the lower-income housing, these abrupt expenses could cause difficulty if the parents wish to have the keepsakes of their child’s graduation and allow their son or daughter to attend field trips not to mention classroom supplies, potential books, and other items needing to be invested in.
Put this into perspective: senior dues are $50 dollars for each senior. The senior class population is currently 380 students; that’s $19,000 the school is receiving if every student were to pay, not including the potential $350 from graduating juniors. This accounts towards venue, security, bus transportation, a senior gift to the school, paying for the upcoming freshmen, pamphlets each guest gets when attending the graduation, decorations we do not already own, and other expenses not labeled. For a school receiving tax-payer money, $19,000 is a bit excessive when most of the graduation consists of previously used chairs and podium, as well as select teachers ironing their and their colleagues cap and gowns as opposed to dry-cleaning. At most, a large percentage of the money received went to renting The Show Place Arena for the allotted time, but now, with North Point being the new destination, a large portion would go to bus transportation and honored guests. Even then North Point is closer than The Show Place Arena by about half the mileage, so one would expect some sort of compensation because less gas is used, but that’s not the case. The dues are the same amount as last year.
The school and arena declined to comment on the specific costs of renting the facility or give a supply breakdown of costs. Though the school did mention where the money was going towards, such as Marshall fees, flowers, and others previously said, such things should not cost as much as the former years because of a change of venue and mileage.
Unlike other schools, La Plata is known to have the lowest senior dues, but what is considered low does not account for other fees. Some schools, such as Henry E. Lackey High School, have higher senior dues ($180), but these dues also account for yearbook and other expenses La Plata students have to pay for separately (like the senior picnic). Some schools, such as Chopticon High School, have dues such as low as $10.
As a senior, these expenses can be difficult to pay for in such a short time. A possible solution could be every grade paying each year at a lower cost ($15 perhaps) to reduce the amount upfront. With this solution, the school would actually make more money than the original $50 and relieve the amount of stress the hefty fee has. In total, if the English classes were to make this a “class fee,” the school would make $10 more from each student in their high school career. The school would receive more money and make senior dues manageable for the students who will be going to college and have to pay a deposit of $100 or more.