BRUNSWICK

Eliminating a giant screen will shave nearly $9,000 off the cost of the Brunswick High School graduation. That, in addition to other cost-saving measures, will mean the 2015 ceremony could be held at Bowdoin College’s Watson Arena at a cost close to the $10,000 cap set by the school board last month.

That’s contingent on whether lighting and audio costs can be kept to around $5,600, according to Superintendent Paul Perzanoski.

Moonlighting Production Services has provided lighting and sound services for both BHS and Bowdoin graduations, with Brunswick paying about $5,600 of the $11,250 overall cost.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” Perzanoski said. “Taking the Jumbotron out, it’s a heck of a lot easier raising $5,000 than $12,000.”

After several months of discussion, the board in August capped graduation spending at $10,000.

The board had budgeted $21,000 for the 2014 graduation ceremony in June, whose actual cost was closer to $17,800.

Brunswick High School has traditionally scheduled their graduation date close to Bowdoin College’s ceremony, allowing the school district and college to split costs associated with chair rental and audio/visual works.

The board earlier this year voted to move the 2015 graduation date from June 5 to June 12 in order to comply with state law. That decision meant the board may no longer be able to split chair rental and A/V costs with Bowdoin College.

As a result, the board had budgeted $33,000 for the 2015 high school graduation, causing consternation with some board members and some Brunswick residents.

Cost-saving measures discussed included holding graduation at the high school. However, proponents of keeping graduation at Bowdoin College maintain that there’s not enough room inside the high school’s gym, which doesn’t match Bowdoin’s Watson Arena’s 3,200 capacity. The athletic field is too windy, according to proponents.

Board member Joy Prescott confirmed with Perzanoski that the board is not exploring whether to hold graduation at any other location other than Bowdoin College.

Other suggestions have included using Watson’s PA system used for Bowdoin College hockey games. Perzanoski said that, according to Bowdoin, “you can try, but it doesn’t work as well as you want it to.”

Another suggestion was issuing free tickets for only up to two friends or family members of seniors while charging others for admission.

The cap imposed in August was upsetting to some members of this year’s graduating class, as well as to Brunswick resident Larissa Darcy, who criticized it as unfair to the seniors.

Darcy on Wednesday noted that the school board, town council, and Brunswick voters had already approved the school budget that included the $33,000 budgeted for graduation.

Darcy said the school board should have been “more forward thinking” so as not to suddenly shift a burden onto this year’s graduating class.

“For some, this is the most significant event in their life,” Darcy said. “It shouldn’t be limited to those who can afford tickets, or limiting tickets to just two.”

Board member Jim Grant noted that it may now be possible that seniors won’t have to raise additional funds for graduation. This issue, he said, “has taken on a life of its own in the press and the public,” and that it was never the board’s intention to make seniors fundraise for their graduation.

[email protected]timesrecord.com



Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: