ST. CHARLES – St. Charles School District 303 has locked in graduation dates for the next several years.
At the Feb. 10 St. Charles School Board meeting, the majority of board members approved a contract for the use of the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center in DeKalb from 2021 to 2025. Voting “no” were board members Heidi Fairgrieve and Jillian Barker.
Board President Carolyn Waibel was absent from meeting. Waibel had said during the Jan. 21 meeting that she was opposed to having the graduation ceremonies held on a Monday.
As part of the contract, graduation ceremonies will be held on May 24, 2021 and May 23, 2022 – which are both Mondays. Graduation ceremonies are also tentatively set for the years 2023 through 2025 on Mondays, but those dates are tentatively held and can be rescheduled in the future depending on other available dates at NIU.
"Is this ideal? Of course not," Mark Moore, the district’s assistant superintendent for leadership and administrative Services, had told board members during the board's learning and teaching committee meeting on Jan. 21. "Ideal would be Sunday. But that's not an option. It's not available in any of these years."
Board member Becky McCabe she would go along with the recommendation of the high school principals.
"This is a building decision," she had said during the Jan. 21 meeting. "If the high school principals have said this is the best date, they know their families, they know all of the scheduling issues, they know what's going on across the district better than I do. I'm willing to say let's get this settled and go with Mondays."
St. Charles School Superintendent Jason Pearson said all the school districts in the area are in the same boat.
"I think that they're all kind of in the same situation as we are with having to go with a space that's large enough to host their events," Pearson said. "They try to be as close to the end of the school year as possible and just hope there's not too many snow days. They would like to keep the gap from the last day of school and the graduate date as close as possible in the school year."
Board member Edward McNally said "any weeknight stinks, in my opinion, but we're kind of stuck here...We need to lock in what we can now."
The school district has also locked in costs for using the NIU Convocation Center. The cost for the first two years will be $14,000 each year. The cost will rise to $15,500 for years 2023 and 2024 and will be $16,000 for 2025.
This year's graduation ceremonies will be on Thursday, May 21. St. Charles East High School's ceremony will be at 4 p.m. at the NIU Convocation Center, followed by St. Charles North's ceremony at 7:30 p.m.