Proposal Paper: Abigail Jorgensen

I. Introduction

I walked into school on the first day, parking pass in hand and a $50 check for my parking pass. This pass would ensure that I would be able to park in either the junior or senior lot of the school; lots that are designated for students to park. With this $50 check I was able to get a regular parking pass. I would soon come to find out however, that I would have to pay 25 dollars more to get a spot in the senior lot, closer to the school. I paid a total of 75 dollars to be able to park my car at the school. 

Every year at the start of school, juniors, seniors, and some sophomores walk into school with parking pass forms and checks in their hands, and even more fill in throughout the school year to obtain that little maroon and white, plastic pass for their car. With more students driving to school than parking spaces available, the only way to ensure a spot everyday is to either show up when the sun does (very early in the morning), or to spend 25 dollars extra to get a personal spot in the senior lot. However the seniors are the only individuals granted this privilege of parking in the senior lot for 25 dollars more, every other student driver must park either in the junor lot or by the parking spots by the track, farthest away from the school. 

With limited options of where to park and a hefty price tag for students to pay, the parking pass system at East Lyme High School needs reform. 

II. Literature review

I have done some research about the prices of parking passes at other schools, as well as the options they have of where to park if students would like to drive to school. 

  • Waterford high school has a similar policy to East Lyme high school in that they require their students to fill out a parking permit and require them to park in designated parking lots around the school’s campus. The school outlined this on their website and said, “What is the procedure for students to drive to school?  Students driving cars to school must file a student-parking permit. The forms are available in the main office. Students must park in the assigned parking lot. Cars parked illegally will be subject to fines or towing. Repeated parking violations may result in loss of driving privilege”. Although the students have to fill out a form and pay for a parking permit, they receive the money back at the end of the school year (if there was no violation or loss of parking permit). 
  • Stonington High School also has a similar policy where they have to pay to park in either one of their 2 student lots (upper lot and lower lot). They have a first-come first-serve basis for the assignment of parking passes/ parking spots and you must fill out a form to obtain a parking pass which outlines the color and make of the car, license plate number, etc. of your car. The cost of a parking pass at Stonington High School used to be $100 but in 2018 it was lowered to $25 after a student surveyed the students and created an argument to lower the price. The students must obey safe driving laws as well as park in the designated locations, failure to do so will result in a $25 fine to the student. All students in grades 10, 11, or 12 who have their licenses are allowed to fill out and obtain a parking permit. 

According to NBC as of february 6th, 2018, “ East Lyme High School charges students a parking fee of $50, Ledyard High School charges students a parking fee of $25, while Groton, New London and North Stonington Schools have no cost for students to park”. Out of the schools listed East Lyme High school has the highest parking permit price of $50, or $75 if you want a designated senior parking spot. The socioeconomic standing of Groton, New London, and North Stonington is lower than that of East Lyme (so the lower parking pass price makes sense), however the socioeconomic status of Layard is similar to East Lyme and they have a parking fee of $25, half the price of East Lymes’.

  • The Morgan High School in Clinton, CT also has a parking permit requirement to park a car on school property. However the parking fee for Morgan High School is only $10 and you must be either a Junior or Senior (no sophomores are allowed to obtain a parking pass and drive to school). You must park in the designated student parking lots and failure to do so will result in a $25 fine that must be paid to the front office. The bottom of the Morgan High School parking permit agreement states, “I agree to pay a $10 non-refundable deposit for my parking permit. I agree that my parking privilege at Morgan will be revoked if I drive at excessive speeds, drive in a dangerous, irresponsible manner, park in Visitor parking, fail to obey established driving laws and rules, or misuse this privilege (This includes leaving school grounds without permission or being excessively tardy to school.) Parking in Visitor parking will result in a $25 ticket that must be paid to the Main Office”.

III. Proposal

In order to fix this issue regarding the hefty price associated with parking passes at East Lyme High School I propose that we lower the cost to $25 for a regular pass and $30 for a senior parking pass. In order to make up for the redirection of these funds from the finances of school security, the school could implement more fundraisers in the community. 

If approved, the cost of a parking permit for students wishing to drive to school would drop to $25 or $30. This decrease in cost would be beneficial to students, allowing those who pay for their own car or gas to save a bit of money.

The implementation of a few more fundraisers for the school around the community could help to offset the decrease in the cost of parking passes. Fundraisers such as student run car washes, restaurant partnerships, or community movie nights could offer service hours for students as well as providing extra funds to offset the lowering of the price of parking passes.  

The newly proposed system of obtaining a parking pass would look like this:

  1. Any student wishing to drive to school would get a parking pass slip from the main office and fill out the required information such as the color and make of their car as well as a copy of their license and registration. 
  2. They would return the slip with a check made out to the school for $25.
  3. Once the student has made a check out to the school and has filled out the permission slip, they will receive a parking permit to put in the front windshield of their car.
  4. Senior students who want to secure a spot in the senior parking lot would enter into a raffle and would be chosen at random. They then would then pay $5 more to subsidize the black paint purchased to cover up painted senior spots at the end of the year. 

IV. Justification

The price of parking passes at East Lyme High School need to be decreased for various reasons. A few of them being that East Lyme High School has one of the most expensive parking pass prices compared to the other schools around East Lyme and a majority of students pay for their own gas (see appendix A). 

A key reason the parking pass price should be decreased to $25 is that East Lyme had the most expensive fee of $50 for a regular parking pass and $75 for a senior parking pass when compared to surrounding Connecticut public schools. North Stonington, Groton, and New London schools have no parking fee, Morgan high school has a fee of $10, and both Stonington High School and Ledyard High School have a fee of $25, as stated in an article by NBC as of february 6th, 2018 (I have confirmed that this information is still accurate on each of the schools websites). One may argue that most of these schools listed (North Stonington, Groton, New London, and Morgan High School) are at a lower socioeconomic level compared to East Lyme, though this may be true, Leyard is at a fairly comparable socioeconomic standing to East Lyme and their parking passes are only $25 compared to East Lyme High Schools fee of $50-$75. 

Not only is the price of a parking pass at ELHS (East Lyme High School) significantly higher than surrounding schools, the majority of students who drive to school also purchase their own gas (Appendix A). Around 57.6% of students who drive to school pay for their own gas and with the inflation of gas prices, around +67% this past year (see appendix C), the least the school could do to help students is lower the cost of parking for students. Decreasing the cost to $25 would allow students to redirect their funds saved from the parking passes to pay for gas or allocate for college. 

I proposed that the cost of parking passes be lowered to $25 for a regular parking spot either along the track or in the junior parking lot, and $25 + $5 extra to obtain a parking spot in the senior parking lot that would be reserved for specific students. I took a representative sample of the population of students who drive at ELHS and sent out a survey asking about the price point at which they would feel comfortable paying for a pass. As shown in appendix B, the most students, around 36.4%, voted for the price of a parking pass to decrease to $25, as it made the most sense for a high school student’s budget. 

I also proposed that the redirection of funds be offset by implementing various fundraisers throughout the school year. A few fundraisers could be a student run car wash in downtown Niantic (would be run conjointly throught clubs such as rotary interact or key club, as well as the student sentates), partnerships dinner nights with local restaurants (such as Charlie’s place or Illianos) similar to what the school senates have done in the past, and movie nights for younger children in the community (also set up through various clubs and sentates). The students run car wash and community movie night would offer service hours for many students, while simultaneously subsidizing funds for the school. 

As of right now, according to Mr. Olsen the head of security here at ELHS, the funds from parking passes, “ is secured in [the] bank through [the] financial office and supplements safety and security funding directly impacting students and parking. Examples would be cameras for parking lots [and] speed reduction signs”. This fact has not been made explicitly clear to the student population, as I have heard various classmates voice questions about where their money is going. As well as making it clear where students’ money is going, I think a reduction in cost would benefit students by allowing them to allocate their funds towards gas or college. I have calculated that if about 250 students purchase passes per year, approximately $50 (205) + $75 (45) = $13,625 of the security budget comes directly from students’ purchases of parking passes as of now, and if the cost were to be reduced the budget would drop to around $25 (205) + $30 (45) = $6,476. I believe that the reduction in cost, although fairly large, would be able to be effectively subsidized with fundraisers throughout the year, as explained above.

V. Conclusion

East Lyme High Schools parking passes cost $50 for a regalar pass and $75 for a senior parking pass as of now. The price of parking passes should be decreased to $25 for a regular pass and $30 for a senior pass because it would benefit students’ finances, and the fundraisers created would offer service hours to students who are looking to actively engage with their community. 

The current parking pass cost at East Lyme High School is significantly larger when compared to surrounding Connecticut schools and is fairly hefty for a high school student’s budget, especially when a majority of those driving to school also pay for their own gas. 

Making this much needed adjustment to the price of parking passes would not only benefit students financially but also create opportunities for students to be positive, active members of the community. The price of parking passes has not budged in the past 12 years; now is the opportune time for change.