School parking lot spaces are no longer guaranteed

By Viansa Reid

At the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, Storm administration changed the system of parking passes. Instead of buying a 25 dollar ticket for a guaranteed parking spot, they altered the ticket price to 10 dollars and oversold the parking lot making it difficult for students to maneuver the parking lot.

“Our administration chose to change the system of parking passes partly because we didn’t like how it was going and now that we have more students than ever, we wanted to figure out the fairest solution for this difficult problem,” Assistant Principal Jay Etnier said.

However, some students feel that the past method, a more expensive ticket for a guaranteed spot, worked more efficiently for this arising issue.

“I have an open first [period] and it is irritating not having a place to park when I get to school, because often times when I get here, there aren’t any open spaces,” junior Kitt Rupar said.

This year, there are 393 seniors and 413 juniors. Most of these students drive to school despite the fact that there are only 412 parking spots available.

“​I understand how incredibly frustrating it is for kids when they buy a parking pass and then can’t find a spot when they get on campus,” English teacher Erin Carroll said. “I don’t think the ‘first come first served’ approach is the best way to handle it as I think seniors have earned the right to get their spots.”

Along with the new parking pass system comes a new parking policy. If a student chooses to park in the parking lot without a parking pass, their license plate and the model of their car will be recorded by administration and they will be warned. If it happens a second time, administration will put a boot on their front tire.

“[The boot] will render the car undrivable and [the student] will get a sticker on their windshield that says ‘your car has been booted, don’t drive it’,” Etnier said. “The only means of enforcement is the repeat offender. As soon as a car gets a boot, [the owner of the car] pays a fine and then they get a parking pass.”

Within the price of the fine, the student will receive a parking pass to ensure that the problem won’t continue.

“We don’t want to penalize kids, that is not the goal. We try to be student friendly, student centered, our goal is to help students, not to set up ways for them to fail,” Etnier said.

Although there isn’t enough parking for students, teachers aren’t given a guaranteed spot either. 112 staff members work for this school but only 79 parking spots are designated to them.

“There aren’t as many marked spaces as there are staff members,” chemistry teacher Callie Pfister said. “So if we were to arrive after students did, we would have to park and walk too.”

With the crowded lot comes the possibility of more mishaps occurring while students park, including wreckage and graffiti drawn on cars.

“The side mirror on my car got hit off in the parking lot,” junior Izzy Sproba said. “It is a terrible situation in the morning when students are trying to park and people are going too fast to get a parking spot in time, so they aren’t late to class.” 

Along with the students trying to get to class on time, the amount of students idling in the parking lot increases the Storm’s carbon footprint.

”Clearly there is an immense impact from so many cars on the road in general,” Carroll said. “Although the amount of people driving to Summit doesn’t help that, it’s definitely a much larger problem that needs to be looked at.”

If students and teachers start walking or biking to school, it will help reduce carbon emissions and the likelihood of wrecked cars in the parking lot will be reduced.

“I am personally encouraged to ride my bike by the other teachers who ride their bikes, so modeling good behavior is a start,” Pfister said.

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