Why Pay for Parking?

Why students have to pay and some alternatives to parking

Samuel Venincasa, Staff Writer

Here at Sutton High School, students are required to pay for a parking permit to park on school grounds. The schools website Sutton Parking Permit Website states “This year parking is $100.00 for juniors and seniors.”. A possible argument is “why not take the bus?”. The bus fee is actually $80 more for a final total of $180. Down the street from the high school there is St. Mark’s Catholic Church, which allows students to park free of  charge.

Sutton Parking Permit (Samuel Venincasa)

I spoke with Sutton High School Principal, Mr.Ted McCarthy for further information about the permits and parking information for St. Mark’s. When asked what alternative options there are rather than paying to park, Mr. McCarthy replied “Saint Marks is there, but we don’t have an official agreement with them and so I think kids park at St. Mark’s just- their doing it on their own and (St.Mark’s) can say one day we’re towing all the cars and you would have no recourse um- similarly if you park on school grounds without a parking permit, we could have you towed because you don’t have permission to park on our campus um- so if anybody is parking on campus without a parking permit, they should go to Ms. Senecal and fill out the paperwork so they can get the decal so they don’t get towed.”

Even though you can park at St. Marks Catholic Church, there are still some risks such as not having an agreement with the school, another risk is having to walk nine minutes to school according to google maps, rain or shine. Students will also have to worry about winter weather, with snow covering sidewalks and the potential for ice.

All options of transportation have their downside. In regards to weather, taking the bus can be more dangerous in icy conditions compared to driving a personal vehicle that one might feel is safer and easier to control, especially for those who have vehicles equipped for winter weather. When asking my mother, Mrs. Candy Venincasa, on how she felt about her children riding on the bus in the winter time she stated, “sometimes I was skeptical to send you on the bus in poor winter weather conditions and felt more comfortable driving you myself, I could take you directly to school while the bus takes alternate, longer routes to pick up other students increasing the potential for a weather related incident.” She also stated, “I even get uncomfortable with you driving yourself because you’re still an inexperienced driver.”

I also spoke to fellow student, Ryan Grondine, who told me that he doesn’t drive to school, when I asked him, knowing that he doesn’t drive, how he felt about paying to park, Ryan stated “No I wouldn’t because I uh- would only be there for like three months as I leave on internships so I’d rather walk or take the bus than paying $100 for three months of parking.” When asked if the price for the permit was too much, Ryan told me yes, and when I asked him what would be a more reasonable price Ryan said “$50 would be better.” Which happens to be the parking fee if you are only paying for half of the year.

I asked another fellow student, Mya DiDonna, who does not drive to school, if she could drive, would she pay $100 to park. Mya told me “Um probably because my parents would pay for it”, she claimed that in most cases the fee doesn’t matter for the student because it was more of a financial burden for the students parents. She also told me that currently she gets a ride from another student to school.

I was interested in learning where the money from the permits goes as do other fellow students. I decided to ask Mr. McCarthy, who said “The money goes into the general operating budget of the district so, you guys get charged I believe $100 for the parking pass. Um- which allows you the privilege of parking on campus, and the money for all those spots goes into all the money that we use to pay for teachers, pay for custodians, pay for food, all that good stuff.” Is taking the bus worth it or is paying for the parking permit a cheaper alternative? It depends on the students’ access to transportation and their ability to access funds to pay for parking.

For more information regarding bussing or permits, please refer to the Sutton Schools Website .