The price of parking: part one

The price of parking: part one

Savannah Whitmer, Lead Reporter

More than 400 students use the school parking lot every day and have bright parking permits hanging on their mirrors showing they have paid the $30 to use the lot. Many students are wondering why they have to pay, and what the money is used for.

“The money goes into the student activity fund, we use money from that fund to do any painting on the parking lot, towards the lines and numbers, and things like that,” Principal Gavan Goodrich said. “It’s primarily used for repairs in the parking lot. If the money isn’t used for the parking lot, it’s used on things for students.”

But not all students pay for parking. School Resource Officer Mark Mitchell and Assistant Principal Bruce Coachman oversee the parking lot and every year they find students parking without permits.

“Officer Mitchell is very good about knowing who drives what and he does a good job seeing who’s driving in the parking lot,” Coachman said. “Early in the fall he recognizes most of the cars, and who drives and what they’re driving. And then of course we also have a database that has all that information. It has students, has their hang tag, their parking spot, their drivers license number and insurance and things like that.”

Students unwilling to pay for a permit are often identified by parking in another student’s spot.

“If we know that a student doesn’t pay for parking, then we won’t allow them to park in the parking lot,” Goodrich said. “We have to know it so if students tell us there’s students parking in the parking lot, we restrict their use of the parking lot. This year, what we’re doing is if people are abusing the rights in the parking lot, then we would have them check in at the office at the beginning of the day and turn their keys in, so we would control their use of the cars.”

Next year, there could be changes in the student parking lot.

“We are considering for next year making parking available to everybody who wants it and to park where you want to park,” Goodrich said. “It’s always about equity, because people want to be first in line, or come really early to be first in line, and we want to give people that honor. Because some people want to pick a spot close to the front, someone may want to pick the spot close to the field house in the back, somebody might want to pick the spot over by the band hall. We’re reconsidering better ways to be fair to everybody who waits in line to pick their own spot.”

Another alternative that may be implemented next year is an online lottery to choose who gets to pick their parking spot first.

“We’re thinking of ways to eliminate issues by either having the parking spot selection days in June so that it doesn’t have to fall on top of when football and majestics and band practice are taking place, or to do something that’s online,” Goodrich said. “Just an online lottery, that you get your number and then a window when you sign up, and if you don’t sign up you go to the back of the line.”

From the cost of permits to parking spot selection, the ultimate concern is deciding on an approach that works for the majority of the student body.

“There’s lots of different ways that we can do things, the main thing is just trying to be equitable and to be fair to everyone,” Goodrich said. “We try to eliminate issues, and give privileges, and we’re making sure that people feel like it’s fair.”

Click here to view part two.