Parking fees limit educational opportunities


Sullivan Hart, Editor

Why are students required to pay $120 to park in New Prague High School’s parking lot? This question seems to be ignored instead of asked. Some may find it easier to hand over a digital fistful of cash then try to ask this question. There is almost no reasonable justification for the extraordinary price of parking passes. 

A $120 barrier between students and certain classes that take place off-campus (career readiness classes, automotive classes, and student service) is obviously not an example of equity in public education. Some of the values that are supposed to guide our public education system include equal opportunity, accessibility, and a general freedom of education. The U.S. Department of Education concurs, and states, “We know how to work toward the solution: access to a world-class education can help to ensure that all children in this country with dreams and determination can reach their potential and succeed” ( Anyone can see that the fee is unjust by contrasting the cost of our parking passes with the ethics of American public education. Every student in our country has the right to a free and public education; a $120 fee preventing students from taking certain classes does not fulfill that right, or at the very least, it doesn’t promote equal opportunity — the reason for mandating a free and public education in America. 

Changing our price of parking permits isn’t an unattainable goal. At the October 25th board meeting, the annual revenue for the district was announced to be $46,494,097 for 2021 ($11,338 per student). That’s a lot of money. If 545 parking passes were purchased, which is a lot more passes than cars ever in the parking lot now, that would total $65,400 every year — less than .15% of the annual district revenue. Nearly the entirety of the revenue is paid by the taxpayer already, so what’s another .15%? By slightly increasing or changing how money is spent, we could significantly lower or get rid of the parking pass price at New Prague. We could make education significantly more accessible for the students of New Prague. Instead of a made-up and arbitrary number, $120, we could set our parking passes to a more reasonable $5 fee (like plenty of other schools in the nation). 

A $5 fee would be more effective and fulfill the goal of the parking pass. When students actually pay and sign up for a pass, the school can keep track of who should and shouldn’t be in the parking lot. Students choose not to pay the fee because of the ridiculous price: “It’s stupid. I didn’t buy one. It’s way too high” said an anonymous student. When asked if they’d purchase a pass for $5, the same student responded “Sure.” 

Considering the impacts of our current fee, any positive is significantly overwhelmed by negatives. Don’t pay for a fee you don’t believe; it’s the American way.