The Cebu City government will be shouldering the graduation fees of public elementary and high school students in the city.
The City Council approved the ordinance providing the graduation fees subsidy to public schools last Wednesday.
City Hall will give public elementary and high schools a subsidy of P150 per graduating student. With 26,814 students projected to graduate this school year, City Hall would need about P4.02 million for this project.
“The Department of Education issued DepEd order No. 8 series of 2005, which prohibited public schools from collecting any graduation fees or any contribution for graduation rites,” read the ordinance authored by Councilor Alvin Dizon.
Although the collection is prohibited, the same order still allows Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) to “voluntarily solicit” from their members.
Since next year’s budget was already submitted, the City Council agreed to charge the amount under the city-sponsored activities in the 2015 budget. But in the succeeding years, it will have its own budget account under the mayor’s office.
Once signed by Mayor Michael Rama, the Local School Board (LSB) will craft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). Dizon, who is also a member of the LSB said he would strive to have the IRR done before the graduation next year.
The ordinance provides that the subsidy can only be spent on the following: (1) printing of the graduation program and certificates, (2) printing of the diploma, (3) stage decorations, (4) rental of sound system, if the barangay where the school is located has no sound system or is unavailable for use, (5) rental for chairs, if the barangay where the school is located cannot provide the required number of chairs to be used for the graduation ceremony, (6) stipend, (7) food, (8) and other expenses as may be approved by the LSB.
Under the ordinance, DepEd shall inform the city, through the LSB, of the number of graduates before the end of January of each year.
The LSB will then recommend the release of the funds.
The DepEd-Cebu City Division will be responsible for distributing the subsidy to each school and to liquidate and submit supporting documents to the city.