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Wake students speak out against increased parking fee

Posted August 19, 2008

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— More than two dozen students showed up at the Wake County Board of Education's meeting Tuesday to speak out against an increase in the cost of parking permits.

"We are asking that they find another way, because right now, the prices are ridiculously high and kids pay out of their pocket," said Catie King, a senior at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School.

The board voted to increase parking permit fees from $120 to $170 – the $50 increase, board members say is necessary to offset higher diesel costs and a nearly $36 million shortfall in requested funding from the county.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners approved a $19 million increase in funding to the county school district for the current fiscal year, but that was about $36 million less than the school board requested.

"If we didn't have a budget shortfall, we wouldn't have to do this," school board member Beverley Clark said. "When we looked at it, we realized the fee hadn't been raised in a very long time."

But students argued during the school board's public comment period Tuesday that students who drive to campus should not carry all the burden. Some say an increase in parking fees will only increase other transportation costs.

"When students stop parking in the parking lot because of parking prices, then more people are riding the bus," Sanderson High senior Ashley Farwell said. "That's more gas, and less money goes to the school anyway."

School board Chairwoman Rosa Gill said before Tuesday's meeting that it would be tough to recoup costs without higher parking fees, but the board will listen carefully to student concerns if they have legitimate concerns.
Board members, however, did not take any action on the issue at its meeting, and it was not put on any agenda for future meetings.

The district last increased the fee from $100 to $120 in the 2000-01 school year. Then, the fee was still higher than nearby school districts.

The Durham Public Schools system charges $75 a year, while fees in Cumberland County range from $10 to $60. Franklin County offered students the best deal – as low as $2 a year – while fees at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools were $100 a year.

North Carolina State University also charges its commuting students less than Wake County schools, with a basic permit costing $99 a year.

Revenue from Wake County's school parking permits traditionally has been used for school security, but officials said the money generated by the fee increase will go into the district's general fund.

Clark said she hopes students who can carpool or ride the bus will do so.

265 Comments

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  • radar2 Aug 20, 2008

    I am shocked at some of the comments here. Comparing what you did or paid when you were in HS does not compare to todays world AT ALL!!! My child NEEDS to drive to HS for MANY reasons, such as driving to a job after school and school sports, clubs like the National Honor Society, Key Club, FTA, SCA and doing community service projects. As a working parent my child would not be able to have an after school job or any of the other activities that keeps them busy and off the streets and out of trouble.

    Some of the same people commenting here are also the same ones that would not even pay a .50 cent or $1.00 toll for new roads.
    And we are asking kids to pay for a space that is already paid for.

    Come on people we need to help our young people and not charge them for parking and then not showing them where that money goes.

    I'm with Momspeaks--maybe we should have all the kids ride the
    bus for a week to break the system.
    Then YOUR taxes would DEFINETLY be raised!!!

  • TheAdmiral Aug 20, 2008

    "And, don't compare a Universities' parking rate with a high school's. Those students are already paying several thousands of dollars at a University support with "public" tax money."

    And I think that you are killing your arguement. The school system will tell you that they are preparing the students for their career in College.

    Well, that is why they charge for parking, and by the way, they also charge a senior student fee, which for the most part goes to the school so they can continue their improprieties.

    So comparing a high school to a college is valid, since for the simple reason the school system says that they take their template after the colleges and universities.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 20, 2008

    "If we didn't have a budget shortfall, we wouldn't have to do this," school board member Beverley Clark said. "When we looked at it, we realized the fee hadn't been raised in a very long time.""

    This makes the school system a taxing authority and it makes it an illegal entity by law.

    I suggest a lawsuit, class action, for 19 million dollars or more.

  • iluvoranges150 Aug 20, 2008

    i was one of the students who was at the board meeting yesterday. for many of us, driving home from school is the only option because we are so involved with clubs, student government, and sports. i do pay for my own parking pass, and no i don't drive a bmw. as well as being an officer in our student council, im in national honors society, key club, i work, and i do alot of community service. i get paid minimum wage, and the 42% increase in the price is really hurting my fellow students. i would have to work approx 30 hours to make enough money to be able to pay for my spot, which i feel is ridiculous.

  • taurismo Aug 20, 2008

    In response to Sanderson HS senior, Ashley Farwell, about the county losing money due to kids not buying parking passes--for every kid who DOESN'T purchase a spot there are three waiting who will. I am not exactly thrilled every time my property taxes are raised to make up for shortfalls in other areas either, such as schools, especially since I have no kids in public school and people living in apartments who have kids in public schools and don't pay property taxes don't have the frequent increase like I, and many others, do.

  • PACKFAN08 Aug 20, 2008

    Like these kids are the ones paying for this parking fee.

  • shickey Aug 20, 2008

    If all students decided to ride the bus WCPSS would be really hurting. At my school Wakefield there are over 500 parking spots, if everyone decided that enough was enough and they were going to ride the bus for a week then they would see the benefits of students drive in. The cafeteria's can't handle the number of students if some don't go off-campus for lunch. And to the comments about the BMW's you should really go look at the parking lots and see whats there. Wake counties biggest mistake was naming a high school after a high class neighborhood across the street.

  • purplepat777 Aug 20, 2008

    Pay up or ride the bus. It's simple really.

  • duvler Aug 20, 2008

    Some of the comments that reference $200 jeans, cell phones, etc sound really harsh. I do realize some kids have all this stuff, but the vast majority don't. And what's wrong with your kid having an old import that you bought for yourself and paid off many, many years ago that still has a lot of life in it? Should a parent sell a car that's still in great mechanical shape to buy something that's an unknown, just so their kid does not have a BMW, Lexus or Volvo? Most of us agree their should be a fee, but not a fee that makes up for budget over-sights and punishes working families and kids who's parents (like me) make the kid pay the fee.

  • banko Aug 20, 2008

    Approximately 24 students out of several thousand go to protest. You actually believe that you have a say in what is decided. It has already been decided. The only thing that might change is they will cut the increase in half which the board originally wanted. Students believe they won a small victory and would be more willing to pay the $25 increase instead of a $50 increase.

    And, don't compare a Universities' parking rate with a high school's. Those students are already paying several thousands of dollars at a University support with "public" tax money. If you want $99 parking, give your high school several thousand to attend and then ask for $99 parking. Then you'll be complaining it should be free.

    I recommend linking parking fees to GPA. You need a certain GPA to get an off-campus pass, so why not parking. The higher the GPA, the more of a discount.

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