The price of parking: part two

Savannah Whitmer, Lead Reporter

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There are 436 students that contribute to the student activity fund with the $30 they turn over for a parking permit. The $13,080 raised from student parking permits is put towards guest speakers, fundraising, and activities such as school dance.  However, students do not have a say in how their parking money is spent.

“Why students don’t have input as to where the money goes, well, we simply haven’t done it yet, but we would not be opposed to that,” Assistant Principal Bruce Coachman said. “We could have student council or some type of student input on the committees that have to do with student programming. As we continue to grow as a school we may incorporate student input so that we can better use the money that we do take from them as a privilege to drive.”

Students may think $30 for parking is excessive, but in comparison to local schools, it is considerably moderate.

For instance, Mckinney High School charges $50 for sectional parking, and vehicles in violation of parking rules are likely to be booted or towed, with a $25 boot removal fee. Wylie High School also charges $30, but students parking in the reserved staff section are subject to towing at their own expense.

A significant difference from local schools is the use of specific parking spaces instead of parking by class. Mckinney, Wylie, and Allen High School student parking is by section, usually with seniors inheriting the most favorable areas and then continuing in descending order.

“The practice of students having their own parking spot was established a long time ago,” Coachman said. “It was a way of rewarding your upperclassmen advantageous parking. For instance you have basketball, volleyball players, football, baseball, cross country or band and they want to park in a certain place or theater or choir wants to park in a place where they spend a great deal of their time. People want to park where the majority of their school activities are, so it’s more convenient for them. The other thing is being able to identify if there is an issue with security or we need to identify someone, we have not just the parking hang tag, but we also know what parking space they’re supposed to be in. So it allows us to identify students when we need to.”

Giving students their own parking spaces is beneficial the majority of the time, but it can also have its disadvantages.

“I think it makes it easier, because you always have a place to park,” senior Alexis Fuller said. “But it makes me really mad when someone else parks in my spot, because then I have to park further down.”

Other students are not bothered by people parking in their space.

“Yeah, nobody parks in my spot,” senior Michael Henn said. “If they park in my spot I’d just be like ‘hey man that’s my spot, can you park somewhere else next time?’”

Another difference is that both Wylie and Mckinney high schools encourage seniors to paint their parking spots for an extra fee. That’s in contrast to here where this is the second consecutive year that students were not offered the opportunity to personalize their parking spots.

“We don’t paint anymore because first of all, the participation rate for the people that were offered was less than 30 percent,” Coachman said. “Few in the overall number [of students] took advantage of it. It’s costly for the district to remove it and it takes an enormous amount of time and money. The money that we were taking in from parking didn’t come close to the amount that it took to clean it up every year. And I think students and parents might be amazed at how much money it costs. It costs between 15 and 20 thousand dollars and days of using water and resources and contracting someone to clean off the old paint. And it still didn’t often times clean it off.”

In addition, cleaning the off the paint at the end of each year was damaging to the parking lot. During the year, the paint was also said by some staff to be unsightly as a whole. Despite this, some students were upset they couldn’t paint their parking spaces.

“I definitely wouldn’t mind paying extra to paint a spot,” senior Haley Vasquez said. “When my brother was here, in the first graduating class, he got to paint his, and I always looked forward to it. I was so sad to see it go. It’s kind of disappointing, I would pay a lot more to get to do it.”

Others are indifferent to the tradition.

“I painted it when I was younger, but now I’m a senior and I don’t really care how my parking space looks because my car is on top of it,” senior Michael Henn said. “So I can’t really see it anyways.”

Although some students may mourn the loss of personalized parking spaces, most can appreciate the lack of significant consequences for breaking the parking lot rules, such as parking in the wrong space or not buying a permit.

“We don’t want to tow anyone’s car, we believe that the students at Lovejoy are cooperative enough that 95 percent of them, they’re going to do what you ask anyway, you don’t need to have a measure like towing,” Coachman said. “I have worked at schools that have boots, and that is very effective, but we have very few problems with students that we would need to boot their car to hold it incapacitated. Typically we can take care of it and we can exact the change that needs to be exacted simply by conversing and having a conversation with that particular person, which is great.”

 
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