by Caitlin Glenn | Staff Writer
At Johnson, Project Graduation has been an event that seniors look forward to every year. Due to a combined low attendance and high cost, the future of the PTA sponsored event was called into question within the last year, but any fears of not having Project Grad this year were laid to rest at the last PTA meeting, where members voted to continue with funding.
“We’ve done project graduation every year since Johnson opened,” PTA president Shannon Moravits said. “And what has happened is that we haven’t had very good participation at all, and it’s really, really expensive. For instance, last year we only had 107 kids attend, out of a class of about 700, and we had it at Dave and Busters, which cost about $13,000. These are all the little things that nobody knows about. The year before that, there was 125 kids that participated at Ski Ranch, and that cost was about $16,000, so if you do the math, we were charging at about $50 a head and it was costing an upwards of $22 a head.”
With such a high cost, the PTA was quickly forced to seriously consider the future of Project Graduation at Johnson. “What happened was back in September we had a PTA meeting. It’s really a money decision, as it really becomes an affordability issue, and we just haven’t had good participation so the PTA board has recommended that we not do Project Graduation anymore,” Moravits said. “MacArthur isn’t doing it anymore, Madison isn’t doing it anymore, and neither is Lee.”
As with any organization, funding is an unfortunate but necessary factor when it comes to making decisions, but the PTA made sure to let all opinions be heard before making any decisions. “The proposal didn’t go over well, which is completely understandable because I’m a huge proponent of project grad,” Moravits said. “So, after hearing from a lot of parents, we had another meeting in October where parents could come and voice their concerns, and we basically had a big discussion and tabled the motion, meaning we weren’t going to vote on it again until we had done more research.”
“One of the things that came up was that we want to provide an event for the kids because it keeps them safe. It’s an alcohol and drug free venue, so we needed to find a way to do it less expensively. We had a really good discussion and then had another PTA meeting in which everyone agreed that we wanted to have this event,” Moravits said. “We just needed to figure out now to have it on a more cost effective basis, because a lot of these facilities are so expensive. We tabled the motion and then we had another board meeting in November when we, the board, voted to continue as the PTSA to sponsor the event.”
After tabling the motion and putting the issue under more consideration, the PTA board finally reached a decision and chose to approve funding. Voting by the general membership was done at a meeting Thursday, November 21st in the Johnson library, and Project Graduation will continue through the 2014 school year as long as there is a minimum of 150 students.
“The event will be held at Rio Cibolo Ranch and will include lots of fun activities,” Moravits said. “Some of the things being discussed include casino tables, a photo booth, karaoke, hay rides, a DJ, lots of food, games, and other fun activities. It all is ending up really good.”