Parking Pass Access Now Linked to Attendence

With concerns about overcrowding, administrators revised the parking pass policy.  PHOTO / MADELINE TEW
With concerns about overcrowding, administrators revised the parking pass policy. PHOTO / MADELINE TEW

Seniority rules, yet again…  at least in terms of available parking spaces for next year.

“There will not be a question if you’re going to be a senior,” principal Dee Lancaster said.  “All the seniors will get a pass.  If you qualify, you’re going to get a pass.”

With rumors circulating about the new policy for the parking lot next year, students have been concerned and confused.

“I didn’t really understand the policy for next year,” said junior Carley Schmid.  “I was just worried I wouldn’t get a spot.”

Lancaster confirmed that everyone will have an assigned spot.  A lottery system will most likely decide this.

“The plan is to make it the luck of the draw,” said Lancaster.  “If you’re a junior and we don’t have enough spots, then we’ll go into a lottery system.”

However, the new system includes a caveat with minimal requirements.

“It will be tied with the attendance policy.  I’m not going to change that,” said Lancaster.  “It’s not for people who are chronically ill or really, truly have a legitimate reason that I would be able to verify,  but I’m not going to get into all those “what if’s” because then everyone is going to have a reason why they should be considered.”

Students must not miss more than eight full school days, or 40 hours to receive a parking spot next year.  Lancaster is adamant of students attending school, and doesn’t believe it should be an issue.

“It’s not really a choice,” said Lancaster.  You’re supposed to be here.  You’re expected to be here.”

With any new policy, there is a concern of whether students will obey the rules or not.  Lancaster has addressed the issue of students refusing to park in the correct spot and established new regulations.

“It will be Dale’s responsibility to go out and ticket whoever that is,” said Lancaster.   “We write Birmingham tickets, we don’t write Seaholm high school tickets.  They are Birmingham parking tickets, they are about $75”

Lancaster remains confident with the new policy.

“It will not take very many [tickets] before someone quits parking in your spot,” said Lancaster.  We have the ability contact our liaison officer.  If you’re not supposed to be in the lot and you’re parking in someone else’s spot, we can run your license plate, find out who the car is registered to, make the connection with you, and have you move the car, and you’ll get a ticket, so it won’t take long.”

Schools such as Andover and Lahser use similar systems of organization in their parking lots.

“We have excellent compliance,” said Andover principal Rob Durecka.  “We have discussed using parking privileges as an incentive to insure better attendance, grades, and behaviors.”

When questioned on the effectiveness of Lahser’s parking lot policy, Principal Charlie Hollerith said it is a positive system.

“No student complaints so far, so it would seem effective,” said Hollerith.

Lahser junior Annie Reed has mixed feelings on the school’s lot.

“Everyone is pretty happy with the parking lot system.  Leaving the parking lot after school can sometimes be a problem,” said Reed.  “We can only leave through one exit and kids cut each other off, so there are a lot of accidents.”

Lancaster has addressed various possible problems for next year’s lot, including the amount of parking spaces.

“If you look at juniors and seniors only, we have 600 potential drivers next year,” said Lancaster.  “We have 345 potential spots, not counting what I’m hoping to gain in the staff lot.”

According to Lancaster, 30 additional spaces are hoping to be gained in the staff lot.  These spaces will likely be used for the juniors receiving parking privileges.

Lancaster remains confident that the parking lot will have enough spots.

“We have a lot of students who do not drive to school,” said Lancaster.  “This year there were about 100 students or more who didn’t purchase parking passes, but could’ve anyway.”

“We won’t have as much overcrowding in the lot next year,” said Seaholm’s parking attendant Dale Downen.  “Everyone who needs to park will have a spot available to them.”

“People won’t be driving around as much to find a spot,” said Downen.  “It’s definitely going to help.”

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