Students at Glenbard North and East won't have far to travel to receive their high school diplomas at the end of the school year.
The school board voted unanimously Monday to allow commencement ceremonies for the two schools to be held on their respective campuses -- a decision that follows earlier discussion about the price tag of off-site graduations.
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Glenbard officials had been looking for an alternate venue for the 2013 ceremonies because their usual site, the College of DuPage's Physical Education Center in Glen Ellyn, is undergoing renovations. They suggested holding both ceremonies at Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates at a price of $29,014 -- just below the $30,000 fee charged by COD.
But some board members questioned the cost and suggested North and East follow the example of South and West, which host graduations on campus.
They also said the proposed graduation date at Sears Centre -- June 5, a Wednesday -- could present difficulties to some family members who might have to take off work.
Administrators at North and East argued that the off-site graduations would be more accommodating for students and guests, of which there are 4,000 who attend each ceremony. North and East have the largest enrollments of the four Glenbard schools.
On Monday, district administrators agreed to a one-year change to allow on-site graduations, while maintaining a preference to return to COD the following year.
"We've explored and discussed it at length and the combination of distance and the fact we would have a midweek graduation timeline are just hurdles we don't want to follow through on," said Superintendent Dave Larson.
Officials have estimated it could cost $13,600 to host commencement on each campus, including the costs of a professional temporary sound system, rental of folding chairs, and hiring local police for security.
The board is expected to approve changes to the district's academic year calendar that would move graduation date at the two schools to Sunday, June 2.
Looking beyond 2013, board member Tom Voltaggio suggested looking at other options "instead of just ordaining that we're going back to COD."
"I'd like to get some feedback from the community based on the experience we have this year," he said. "I'm not saying COD is a bad idea, but it's one of a number of possible options to us."
Board member Mary Ozog said she'd like to see details on how COD calculates the fee it has charged Glenbard -- whether it just covers the college's costs, or if profit is made.
"If the same taxpayers are funding COD, do we have to fund this graduation activity as a profit setting?" she said.