Based on the comments and pageviews from last week’s story, freshly sworn in city councilor Jori Nelson’s proposal for the city of Prairie Village to donate $1,000 to SM East’s after graduation party struck a nerve — with people on both sides of the issue. So we thought we’d put Nelson’s proposal before our readers to see whether they agreed with the council’s decision to deny Nelson’s donation request. Nelson said supporting the drug-and-alcohol free event would send a positive message to area families about the city’s support for a safe environment for kids to celebrate.
First, a bit of background: SM East has been hosting an after graduation at the school since 2011. (Prior to that, the school had its party at PowerPlay Family Entertainment Center in Shawnee).
The party is primarily funded through donations from parents. This year, the school suggested the following donation levels to parents in a letter sent to the homes of each student: $20 for freshman families, $30 for sophomore families, $40 for junior families and $50 for senior families. This year’s organizing committee declined to share the overall budget for the party, but the event includes dinner, entertainment, games and a raffle.
The city of Leawood is the only municipality that made a donation to this year’s party. (There was a rumor going around last week that Fairway had made a donation as well, but that is not true, according to city manager Kathy Axelson, who said Fairway has not made a donation to any school’s graduation party in at least a decade). Leawood makes a donation to the graduation parties of all the schools with Leawood residents attending them. Each donation is based on the number of Leawood students attending the school.
SM East’s party has been a big draw for students in recent years. Last year, 99 percent of graduating seniors attended.
“The event is a very easy sell—students love it,” said principal John McKinney. “For many it will be the last time they see each other for a while. It is a fun, safe, well-supervised event.”
Do you think the city of Prairie Village should have contributed to SM East’s graduation party? Why or why not?
Tomorrow we’ll delve into an ancillary topic: Whether the city of Prairie Village should provide alcohol at its annual holiday party for city volunteers.
Talk Amongst Yourselves is shawneemissionpost.com’s daily conversation starter for northeast Johnson County. Have a topic you’d like to suggest?