However, I understand that some student parking is much more expensive. I grew up in Southern California, where the local public high school, University High School, charged $380 for one parking pass each year. In fairness, their parking lot is much smaller than ours, about an eighth of Pioneer’s lot. Along with a small lot, their student population is significantly larger than Pioneer’s, which leads to greater competition for parking spots.
Some argue that numbered parking passes keep track of who is supposed to be at the school, and who isn’t. That is a completely valid argument, but why does there need to be a fee? Students can register their cars with the school, receive a sticker with their code, and still avoid a $50 payment.
We aren’t the only school in the Ann Arbor Public School District that requires payment for a parking pass. According to Andrew Cluley, the communications specialist for AAPS, Skyline charges $40, and Huron charges $60. However, Pioneer has the biggest parking lot in the district, with more than ample parking for students who drive. There is little competition for parking spots, unlike at Huron, which has limited parking availability. So why do students at Pioneer pay to park at the school? According to Principal Tracey Lowder, all of that money goes to student activities. These activities include dances like Homecoming and Prom, as well as other events such as Spirit Week costs and pep rally supplies.
The school has been charging students for parking passes for 14 years. The first year they started charging for passes the price was $30; it gradually increased to $40, and increased this year to the price it is now, $50.
While some students may appreciate this fee to help pay for school activities, the cost is just too high, particularly when parking is not limited.
Students should be aware, though, that if a Pioneer parking pass valid for 2015-16 is not placed on the driver’s windshield of their vehicles parked in the school lot, they may be towed and/or fined by the Ann Arbor Police Department. Administrators say the lots will be checked for passes several times throughout the school year.