City Council members agreed this week to contribute $1,000 toward Garden Grove High School's graduation night party.
Diane Novack, grad night chairwoman, said the recession has made it virtually impossible for students to reach their goal of raising $16,000 to cover the costs of the celebration.
Novack and several students appeared before the City Council on Tuesday to ask for money. But the real reason for the visit, Novack said, was to get publicity at the televised meeting and perhaps pick up a few donations from the community.
Novack said she was surprised that the council voted 4-1 to approve the $1,000 donation, in light of worsening city financial conditions and its refusal in past years to donate funds.
The city is facing a budget deficit of several million dollars.
Councilman Bruce A. Broadwater urged his colleagues to help finance the party, citing the importance of ensuring an alcohol- and drug-free environment for the safety of the students.
Councilman Robert F. Dinsen, who cast the dissenting vote, said the city is so hard-pressed financially that it is considering imposing 5% employee pay cuts to help balance the budget.
"With our responsibility to run the city and provide police and fire protection, I don't see how we can afford to even give $1,000," he said.
Grad night officials said the seniors will be searched as they board buses on the evening of their graduation, June 22, and then transported to a privately owned convention center in Buena Park, where they will be under adult supervision. There will be games, music, dancing and food.
Seniors have raised money in a variety of ways, including bake sales and craft fairs. They plan to earn $1,200 by cleaning 350 flats of strawberries for the Strawberry Festival later this month. With the city's contribution, they so far have raised $11,000.