by Kyleigh Carpentieri (‘22)
Being a senior at South Brunswick High School grants seniors the opportunity to obtain a parking spot, but some view it as a flawed system. How exactly does this system work and why is it in place?
To obtain a parking spot, students must fill out a form initiated by Dean of 9th and 12th Grade, Mr. Douglas Hunt, be approved, and then pay a $12 fee through “Community pass”, a website used by South Brunswick as a way for students to Pay-to-Participate in a number of township activities. More information on SBHS senior parking can be found here.
Parking spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning that gaining a parking spot as a senior may not even be guaranteed. Many schools allow students to paint their parking spots, which might be an explainable cause for the fee. However, SBHS does not allow personalized parking spots. So, that leaves the question, ``What is the $12 needed for?”
In addition to the form filled out in the summertime, seniors also have to fill out another form and pay another $12 fee at the end of the fall semester (This year's announcement was made just before winter break). Students must complete the process again to park for the spring semester.
Senior Sarah Kasziba-O’Rahilly spoke to this saying, “I don't understand why we have to pay for it.. I guess they think it gives us a sense of responsibility, but there really is no purpose behind paying for it.”
Mr. Hunt provided answers to some of these questions.
He said, “Part of the parking fee goes towards purchasing the actual parking decals and the maintenance of the parking lot.”
He continued that if he, ‘was informed to stop charging for parking, [he] would be happy to do so and that it would make [his] job easier.’
Relating to the parking form, Kasziba-O’Rahilly also said, “Having to sign up for it twice is really stressful. Obviously, people that get their license later will have to fill out the form, but if we have had our license since the beginning of the year, why not keep our spots?”
It can be stressful for students if their spot will no longer be guaranteed if a new rotation of students receives their license, or if juniors request spots.
However, Mr. Hunt assured that seniors will always take top priority when it comes to parking spots.
Mr. Hunt also stated in a post made to the Class of 2022 Google Classroom that it was also highly unlikely that students would have the same parking spots they did in the fall semester. This means that starting February 1, all students have to remember to switch parking spots. This could temporarily cause chaos in the parking lot, even more than there already is.
Mr. Hunt responded to questions about the forms stating that students are required to fill out a new form each semester saying, “Information can change like a different vehicle or change in schedule, etc.”
It also allows the school to keep track of who is parked on school grounds.
Mr. Hunt emphasized the importance of keeping track of who parks at the school saying, “I remember just over three years ago before we had the system we have in place now, a couple of dozen illegally parked cars were in the student lot in the spring. It was an unsafe situation where we had the police and fire department involved because if we had to evacuate the lot, it would've been a nightmare.”
There is already traffic due to many cars leaving the parking lot at the same time. Adding danger and uncertainty about who is allowed to be parked there would cause chaos that falls on the administration. Keeping this system in place adds extra security and safety, according to Mr. Hunt.
Even though the current parking system in place at SBHS may cause inconveniences at times, the SBHS administration has found that it is the most effective way to keep track of student parkers and maintain safety on school grounds.
It seems that the way things are going right now is working relatively well, and it is unlikely that the system will see changes in the near future.