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Graduation survey: Most OK with ceremony fee

The Farmington School District conducted an online graduation survey that resulted in 1,165 responses from parents and students who answered questions about venue, number of tickets and if they would pay more in fees if there was a need for graduation at another venue. Kara Hildreth / contributor

The Farmington School District's graduation survey reports most respondents are comfortable paying the current graduation ceremony fee.

Barb Duffrin, Farmington educational programs director, created an online graduation survey that was emailed to parents and students to ask for feedback about venue, cost and number of graduation tickets.

The Farmington School Board discussed graduation at past meetings and voted to conduct the informal online survey at its Sept. 11 board meeting.

Duffrin shared a PowerPoint presentation at the Nov. 14 board meeting that showed some answers to questions surrounding the number of graduation ceremony tickets needed, the location of graduation and the cost of the overall production of the ceremony.

The survey resulted in 1,165 responses over a two-week period.

The survey informed respondents how the district now has the ability to livestream the graduation ceremony if it was held indoors due to weather. Family and guests can sit in the gym where the ceremony will be held or in other spaces such as the Little Theater, the large recital hall or Tiger Commons at the high school.

Answering the question of how many tickets would a family need, 74.87 percent said they needed five or six tickets, 22.88 percent would need three or four tickets, and 2.25 percent said they would need only one or two tickets.

Answers varied when respondents were asked about scenarios and priorities if the district needed to rent a larger indoor space for an off-campus ceremony that provided more ample seating. Nearly 49 percent would prioritize having graduation at Farmington High School, 43 percent would prioritize having as many tickets as a family needs, and about 7 percent did not have an opinion.

Today families of graduating seniors contribute $45 to offset the cost of the expenses related to the graduation ceremony.

When asked to share opinions about the fee, almost 81 percent are comfortable contributing an amount, 15 percent are not comfortable contributing $45, and 4 percent did not have an opinion.

An off-campus ceremony could involve higher fees, according to the district.

In the survey, respondents were asked if they were comfortable paying parking or other fees. About 43 percent said they were comfortable contributing more than the current fee, nearly 50 percent are not comfortable contributing more and 7 percent did not have an opinion.

The survey also asked: "Who is comfortable with potentially increasing fees if the ceremony is moved and who is not?"

Maintaining the priority of holding graduation at Farmington High School, 35 percent are not comfortable contributing more than the current fee, and 10 percent say they are comfortable contributing more than the current fee.

Maintaining the priority of having as many grad tickets as a family needs, 29 percent said they are comfortable paying more than the current fee, and 12 percent are not comfortable contributing more than the current fee.

If the ceremony is moved off site, 33 percent said they are not comfortable contributing more than the current fee, and 37 percent are comfortable paying more than the current fee if they had five or six tickets.

Fifteen percent said they are not comfortable contributing more than the current fee, and 6 percent said they are comfortable paying more if there are three or four grad tickets available.

"Families of current students are comfortable with the current graduation ceremony fees," Duffrin said.

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