The beginning of the school year instills a scramble within the student body for those who wish to buy a parking permit, most of whom are astounded by the price: $75 for a full year.
For many students, driving to school may be their only option to get to after-school commitments, such as a sport or a job. Paying for gas, car repairs, and the car itself are already enough financially, and a hefty fee to park at school can be a burden.
The Blake student parking lot has a total of 250 parking spaces. School business administrator Kathryn Vargo says, “Actually, in past years it’s been very low. But then last year, I don’t think we sold out, but we got close.” Other county schools in more affluent areas, like Bethesda-Chevy Chase, have limited student parking spaces and almost always sell out.
It is reasonable to argue that parking permit costs should vary from school to school depending on the demand of spaces, or at least have a fee waiver for students in low-income families. If the demand is less, it makes financial sense to lower prices in attempt to sell all spaces.
All money made from the parking permits goes to the athletic programs. It would be logical if the money went back into the parking lot, or if other school programs received a portion of the money. “I had to pay for my parking permit…and I am not benefitting from that money at all. I just don’t think it’s fair,” says senior Natalie Garcia Ruiz, who participates in Blake Stage Company.
While some disagree with the allocation of parking permit revenue, others are glad their money goes toward a school program. “I’m glad it goes to something I’m a part of and that promotes school activities,” senior Georgia Lo says.
School programs aside, using some parking permit revenue for parking lot maintenance would benefit those who are paying for a permit. The parking lines and numbers in most spaces were very faint for awhile, creating a hardship for student drivers who need to park in a specific space. Accidentally parking in the wrong place can lead to unnecessary confusion and at large, the possibility of a towed car. They were only just recently painted, after years of faint lines and numbers that are hard to see. With the money they have, the repairs should have been done long ago.
Paying money to park at school should go toward a cause that benefits the greater good of the student body. With the last decision regarding allocation of funds made in 1980, it’s time to create reform in how much parking permits cost and where the revenue goes.