Parking Passes: Where Does Our Money Go?

Annual $50 permit fees fund student safety expenses

The highly anticipated answer has finally been clarified regarding where the money from junior and senior parking passes goes towards. Every year, students who have the privilege to drive to school must purchase a $50 parking
pass at the security desk to park in school lots. With about 200 parking spots on campus, students contribute roughly $10,000 each year to ELHS. So, what does this money fund? The money collected from students goes to the
“Parking Permit” account. According to ELHS security director Chris Olsen, this account funds student safety around the campus. In previous years, the money has funded cameras in the junior and senior lots, speed signs, security patrolling, partial payments towards the golf cart, and other subsidies which help enforce student safety according to Mr. Olsen. Recently, the Permit account partly funded the purchasing of a second golf cart to help secure the grounds and shuttle students between district buildings. “All the expenses have to be student-based. We prioritize spending on things that are beneficial for the safety and security of our students,” Mr. Olsen said.

At the beginning of this year, the senior lot was repaved, costing about $175,000 according to director of facilities Christian Lund, and was paid for by a district construction account separate from the Parking Permit account. No money from students goes towards
construction, upkeep, or repavement of parking lots.

This year, repavement delayed traditional painting of the senior spots due to the barring of parking in senior lot from September to November. Seniors wishing to park in the senior lot pay $75, with the additional $25 serving as a senior class fundraiser. This $1100 goes toward senior activities such as prom, senior trip and dinner dance.

Parking pass fees differ between schools. Both Ledyard and Stonington High School have a $25 fee, Montville $10, and Groton, New London, and North Stonington have no fees. In contrast, some districts have stricter requirements for students compared to ELHS. Stonington students are only
able to park on school grounds if their driving is essential to employment. Madison charges $60 per parking pass, and NFA student parking is limited to only seniors who “maintain a good academic standing and 93 percent attendance per quarter in all classes” and pay a $7 permit fee according to the 2017 NFA parking
permit application.

ELHS fees have been in place since at least 1986 according to Principal Kelly. Before 2004, when the pass cost $45, no exact parking permit costs were mentioned in the student handbooks. The cost increase to $50 was introduced around 2008. So, for those wondering where their money is going, the answer is a variety of sources. The main of which, class fundraising and overall safety are the priorities of the teams in school to make the ELHS experience the best it can be.