Burbank High Graduation 2013

Students at Burbank High School will have to pay for extra tickets this year to recoup the cost of the ceremony. Pictured is the graduation ceremony from May 24, 2013, where students recited with principal Hani Yousseff, "always remember to pursue pride and excellence in everything you do" (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / May 24, 2013)

To recoup the costs of the graduation ceremonies at Burbank and Burroughs high schools, officials will now charge $10 per graduation ticket, beyond the handful of free tickets that seniors receive each year.

"We've had some years of cuts so the principals are looking at the growing costs of graduation," said Emilio Urioste, director of secondary education of Burbank Unified.

The extra tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Burroughs seniors will continue to get five free tickets, while Burbank seniors will get four.

The costs to host the ceremonies are typically absorbed by each school's site funds, the student body groups and fundraising efforts.

For Burroughs High, the cost to hold its graduation at Memorial Field — where seniors have graduated from since 1949 – tallies about $8,700 to cover the chair rentals, printed programs, tickets and sound system.

At Burbank High, where seniors have graduated at the Starlight Bowl since 1952, the cost of the ceremony is nearly $17,000.

Much of that cost comes from a shuttle and valet parking service for the venue, Urioste said. School officials must also toss in about $6,400 to pay for Burbank police to supervise the area and guide drivers up the hill to the venue.

With the Starlight Bowl offering about 4,200 seats and Memorial Field providing 5,590, school officials will continue to give four free tickets to Burbank students and five to Burroughs seniors.

School officials estimate that Burbank and Burroughs will sell about 500 tickets each, netting $5,000 for each school.

School board members this week embraced the idea.

"You can't put a price on 60 years of tradition and/or on happiness as well," said school board member Roberta Reynolds.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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