Wichita school cancels graduation ceremony amidst budget cuts

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita elementary school has cancelled its 5th grade graduation because of budget cuts.

Nevaeh Acosta, 10, loves school. She has been looking forward to her 5th grade graduation from White Elementary School in Wichita for quite some time.

“It would be so much fun because I get to stand up with my friends and I get to have a diploma,” said Nevaeh.

Nevaeh will still get her diploma, but she won’t get much of a celebration.

“When I actually heard about it, I was this close to crying,” she said.

“They all deserve to have the graduation. Not just her, everybody,” said Nevaeh’s mom Sherry Lesher.

The school’s 5th grade team sent a letter home with its students canceling 5th grade graduation this week. This is what the letter said.

We regret to inform you that 5th Grade Graduation has been canceled due to the shortening of the school year. We were unable to get tables and chairs for the event. However, we will have a table set up at the music program with diplomas on them. The 5th grade “Year in Review” cd will also be available that evening for $5.00. The music program is May 19th 6:30 at South High School. Please plan to attend a little early so that you can give your child their diploma.

The Wichita school district cut the school year by two days last month to save about $400,000.

Lesher said she understands the budget cuts, but does not understand the graduation cut.

“It makes it sound completely insignificant like it means nothing and it means something, it absolutely means something,” Lesher said.

Nevaeh said 5th grade graduation means the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

A district spokesperson said not every elementary school in Wichita has a 5th grade graduation ceremony. She said it is up to each school to decide how to work around the shortened year.

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