At an Oct. 20 meeting, the board considered a $75,000 contract to rent the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park for class of 2023 graduation ceremonies.
The item came after the class of 2022's graduation ceremonies at the Pfield—the district's second year using the venue for graduation—drew complaints from attendees.
According to a district presentation, 91 of 129 comments received in the district's graduation feedback survey were negative. Common issues survey respondents cited were insufficient parking, a lack of Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations and disruptions due to weather.
As a larger indoor facility, the H-E-B Center could be better equipped than the Pfield to address those issues, trustees said.
"If our stadium creates a risk and it decreases accessibility, then I'm sorry, we have to pay the more money for [using the H-E-B Center]," Trustee Jean Mayer said.
The $75,000 required to rent the H-E-B Center would be a substantial increase over the approximately $50,000 it cost the district to hold graduation at the Pfield last school year.
Additionally, trustees said holding graduation within the city would be preferable from a district culture standpoint.
"It started a tradition in our community," Trustee David Aguirre said. "With the implications that we have this year financially, ... weighing those two things, I kind of like the tradition that we began here."
The board ultimately voted 3-3 on the item, meaning it did not pass. Trustee Renae Mitchell was absent for the vote.
Superintendent Doug Killian said there is room for the district to make improvements at the Pfield before graduation to alleviate accessibility concerns.