Manatee High School in Bradenton Florida has broken new ground with the institution of a $200 premium seating fee for graduation this year, and some parents are squawking.

The school which holds its graduation ceremony at the high school’s football stadium,is instituting the fee to help defray expenses since the school system isn’t kicking in its annual $3,400 due to budgetary restrictions.

According to principal Don Sauer, the setup at the stadium costs $13,000 and that they are only selling seats in the first 10 rows and hopes to generate $3,000 towards the costs.

The other alternative according to Sauer is to hold graduation ceremonies at the convention center-which other schools do for free, but he said that would leave out 2,500 people.

Fees have become a way of life in public schools across the nation-lab fees, ACT test fees, etc… I recall paying a small cap and gown fee when I graduated from high school, but the idea of paying for “premium seating” seems outlandish to me.

Where’s the Occupy movement when you need them?

My guess is that despite the ridiculous fee that the school will probably find 15 parents with enough ego and money to cough up the $200.

But why stop there?  Maybe the school can sell personal seat licenses or legacy seating to families who will have multiple graduates over the years to guarantee them premium seating and class envy for as long as they are willing to fork over the dough.

Or why not graduation sponsors?  Get local businesses to pay for advertising on the top of the caps and back of the gowns. This should generate enough money to not only cover the graduation ceremony fees but maybe even a reception or party afterwards.

The possibilities are endless as they go down a slippery slope.