The current parking situation at Wilson has recently sparked outrage among upperclassmen. With 180 passes sold and only 140 spots available, owners of passes find themselves scrambling to find a place to park in the morning despite having purchased a pass that they thought would ensure them a spot in either the Wilson or Reike parking lot.
Cooper Poole, senior, started a petition and hopes to collect 1,000 signatures. Rallying against the overselling of passes, he hopes to unite the student body and gain the attention of the school administration.
Poole states that he’s seen many prior petitions at Wilson. Thinking realistically, he believes this one will be brushed off just as its predecessors.
He doesn’t believe that all of the blame lies with the Wilson administration. Poole believes that the bigger decisions come from authorities higher up on the district ladder, and worries that if there’s a threat of any legal issues, the district may easily brush it off since they know it is hard for students to mount a legal challenge.
There’s nothing that can be done now that the spots have already been sold for this year. What Poole is looking to achieve is a better balance, if not for this year then for next. He’s turning to the student body for help because he feels the lack of assistance from the school is no mistake.
The reasoning behind this unequal ratio of passes to spots, from the school’s perspective, is based on the priority to have a full parking lot when the school day starts.
In past years, Reike parents looking for spots in the elementary lot were unable to find parking because it was filled with students who didn’t own passes. They noticed that the Wilson lot in the morning was partially empty, due to many pass holding students having a late start, and were frustrated that Reike’s lot was filling up with teenagers while Wilson’s own lot remained somewhat empty.
According to Wilson’s business manager, Erica Meyers, the school currently has approximately 1600 students and 126 staff members, which means that there isn’t enough room for everyone to park.
Meyers understands why students might consider it unfair to sell passes that don’t guarantee a place to park, which is the reason the administration decided to cap the available passes at 180.
She understands that the sale of these 40 extra passes has sparked somewhat of a contentious issue among the student body, but her goals look to accommodate those who can get onto campus the earliest so that the lot is full when school starts.
According to Meyers, students “should be coming earlier to get a spot or, if they do have a late arrival, then they have a little more time to find a spot out in the neighborhood.”
While having a full lot when school starts may be a win for Wilson, it’s a loss for those students with the free period or late start. These students, among others, are angry that they’ve essentially been sold useless parking passes.
Poole is upset by the mixed message being sent to students. “The administration agrees that if you have a free period you shouldn’t be at school loitering. They don’t want you to be here. But then they say students who get here earliest are the ones getting a spot? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
The overselling of passes has prompted students to park illegally in faculty parking. At the beginning of this year, stickers were sent to Wilson from the district to be affixed to any illegally parked cars as a warning. This warning has left many students unfazed.
In an effort to force students to follow the rules, the school has started to forego warnings and has chosen to instead ticket rule breakers. These $30 tickets add up fast. Students who haven’t paid their ticket fines will be declined the purchase of prom and graduation tickets, just as they would with any other school fines.
While students find it unfair that they are being ticketed, despite having paid for a parking spot, Meyers feels that the school has been very lenient with their security this year.
When students register their car with Wilson, they are required to sign a document acknowledging they could be penalized for parking inappropriately. Legally, Wilson has the authority to do much more than place stickers or hand out tickets. “I think we’ve been pretty kind not to tow the car away,” Meyers said.
Poole would like the situation to be taken more seriously. He sees the inconvenience to staff of having their spots taken by students as a way of getting the administration’s attention.
“There’s an issue, and the administration has no reason to look at it, because they’re always guaranteed a spot,” Poole said. “It doesn’t matter how much the students complain.”
According to Poole, until the situation becomes a problem for faculty and staff, the administration will have no incentive to do anything about it.
Meyers states that it is frustrating from the school’s perspective because she feels that everyone should just follow the rules. She understands that these rules are not the answer that people want to hear because everyone feels entitled to a spot. Unfortunately, it’s just not a realistic idea.
“It’s my least favorite part of my job,” Meyers said. “I hate parking. I hate dealing with having to go and find out who parked in my spot…Not just my spot but another teacher’s spot.”
Because of complaints, in future years, Meyers plans to sell less passes. While it might not be a satisfying solution for all, Wilson is also offering full refunds on passes for any students who feel they aren’t finding any parking in the lot.
Written by Shandra Back