The Waukesha School District is changing it's policy regarding fees for graduating high school seniors.

The new policy, which will take affect at the beginning of the school year, will deny students with outstanding fees from participating in graduation ceremonies.

The old policy authorized principals to withhold diplomas from students with outstanding fees, which isn't appropriate, according to Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Joe Koch.

'This diploma is a student record, therefore we were not able to withhold it,' Koch said.

Koch went on to say during the Policy and Committee meeting Monday, July 18, that this practice of barring students with fees is commonplace in many neighboring school districts including Ozaukee County and Milwaukee County suburbs.

The district does work with families who might not be able to afford the outstanding fees as well as accommodate students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and students who qualify for homelessness.

'We do make exceptions or provisions along the way for families who can't afford these fees,' Koch said.

Schools also have the ability to work with families setting up payment plans and notifying families of the fees well before the graduation date. Fees that aren't paid by the end of the graduating year have the possibility of going to collections or circuit court, although the district hasn't pursued any of those options yet.

'The new policy doesn't prevent them from graduating high school. They get their diploma,' Koch said. 'What we're looking to do is to capture, where appropriate, the fees that should be paid to the district.'

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