Downtown Sacramento sidewalks have been filled with graduates in caps and gowns and beaming parents since last Friday, when Sacramento State kicked off a week of graduation ceremonies at the Golden 1 Center.
This week belonged to Elk Grove Unified, the region's largest school district, which graduated seniors from its nine comprehensive high schools in three days of ceremonies. The district's alternative high schools and charter school will graduate at Sheldon High School Performing Arts Center in six ceremonies on Thursday.
Last week Sacramento State graduated its students in five ceremonies Friday and Saturday. The ceremonies are sure to be larger next year since the university ended its Winter Commencement ceremonies. All graduations - spring, summer and fall - will take place in May, according to university officials.
Elk Grove Unified is the only K-12 district to hold high school ceremonies at the new Golden 1 Center. Many high schools use Memorial Auditorium or their own campuses.
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Both Sacramento State and Elk Grove Unified have been criticized for greatly increasing their graduation costs by using the new downtown Sacramento entertainment venue. Sacramento State paid $151,600 to hold six graduation ceremonies over two days last year - more than double what it had paid at Sleep Train. Elk Grove Unified nearly doubled it's graduation bill last year, paying $195,292.
Both institutions moved their graduation ceremonies to Golden 1 after Sleep Train Arena in Natomas closed.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A correction on May 24, 2018 to this story states that Sacramento State has ended Winter Commencement ceremonies. All graduations - spring, summer and fall - will now take place in May, according to university officials.