I'm assuming that in most places, seminary is only offered as an early morning option. When I was a teen in the late 80's, "home study" was also an option for those that couldn't make it due to early activities like band.
Well, I haven't heard much about home study being offered anywhere- is it?- but here in AZ, seminary isn't even offered as an early morning option. No, you can ONLY take it as a release time class. And because of the number of credits needed to graduate here, you can't even fit it into your schedule without paying for a few summer classes to make up for those classes you miss due to release time. You can take a "zero hour" class (one year this can be seminary), to avoid too much summer school.
So how much are we talking?
$175 per 1/2 credit. That's a semester class. So $350 a year for a year long class. Most LDS kids around here take two summer school classes each year to avoid having to do a zero hour class and so they can take release time seminary. Seminary is costing them $350 a year.
And look- the stake has even broken it down for us, so we can see how to work it out that our child can take seminary all four years. It is sickening to me that it is not even an option for seminary to be truly free, yet they push it so hard. When I outright asked dh if they were essentially saying you had to pay for seminary, he kind of agreed with me and thought they were looking at ways to change. I asked why they don't just offer early morning seminary in each ward like normal other towns do and he said there were too many kids. Huh? If you do it by ward it would be quite manageable-- I mean Texans, Kansans, West Virginians, and practically every other state does it just fine.
The bottom line for me though is- why are LDS people not complaining about this expensive program? Why do they just roll over and take it?