WRITTEN BY: Mara Iott
COVER PHOTO COURTESY: WIX
One of the most dreaded purchase of any high schooler’s life: the parking pass. Here at Jackson High School, students who drive themselves to school and park in the school’s lot are required to purchase a twenty dollar parking pass. However, most students are unaware of the purpose behind these passes.
“I don’t really see a purpose at all,” junior Collin Mizner said.
Students are given no explanation for why they are required to purchase them, which leads to the athletic office constantly visited by irritable students, forcibly coughing up twenty dollars.
“I don’t think we should have to drop the twenty bucks, especially since a lot of students aren’t informed of where the money is going,” senior Talia Engelsma said.
Parking passes do not come with an explanation for their purpose which leaves students in the dark that the purpose is for their own safety.
“The parking passes are in place to better assure that the people we have parking in our parking lot go to school here,” principal Barbara Baird-Pauli said, “Part of it is an organizational element, the other part is a safety element.”
However, this leaves students still wondering where their money is going.
“Part of that money goes to pay for the parking passes and part of that money goes back to meeting student needs, sometimes teacher needs,” Baird-Pauli said.
Student and teacher needs are very broad, but Baird-Pauli knows exactly what that means.
“Maybe a teacher needs a document camera, a student might come to me asking for help paying for an AP exam, or maybe a student is in need of a clothing item. Last year, when we had the very hot day, part of that money went to pay for the popsicles,” Baird-Pauli said. “Or when kids do something exceptional; for example, when I see a student who just gets up and start cleaning the cafeteria, I take them down and get them something from the school store.”
Although Baird-Pauli has a set purpose for the parking passes and a place for the money, several students disagree that the money is being used wisely.
“I think that the money used when collecting parking passes should be used for issues surrounding the parking lot, not for random school funding,” junior Kylie Wilcox said.
“I feel the ideal price should be $5; that is way more reasonable. The money should go toward the parking lot itself, like repainting the lines,” Mizner said.
Sophomore year is usually when students begin to get their licenses and start driving, but not every sophomore will have their license by the first few weeks of school. Students feel that paying the full price year-round is unfair.
“When you get a parking pass over halfway through the year, you still have to pay the full price and you’re not even utilizing it to the full amount. If you buy it past a certain time in the year, maybe cut the price in half,” senior Katie North said.
Even teachers believe that charging students to park is not a solid system.
“I feel, and keep in mind I’m not the one paying the bills, that you guys shouldn’t be charged for anything. I don’t think you should be charged for dances, games, or parking passes. I mean, why should you have to pay to park at the school you go to?” English teacher, Paris Anderson said.
Although safety is important to students and faculty alike, most students struggle to accept the twenty dollar price tag attached to our parking lot. Students have ideas and solutions for this problem and the administration always has open ears for them. In the end, students are paying the school so the school can pay them back later through popsicles and Viking Store food.
“Parking passes are absolutely too expensive. When students drive themselves, we’re taking up less space on the buses and reducing the amount of stops they have to make. Why should students have to pay when the school is benefitting from it?” Wilcox said.