Younger seniors left out of lottery for parking spaces

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By Paige Heiden
Out of 389 seniors in the class of 2015, only 33 turn 17 after Aug. 22, the day that ‘Motor Vehicle Registration’ parking applications were due to the attendance office this summer.
A lottery system is used to designate parking spots to seniors.
“Dr. Heisey sends out a memo to all incoming seniors to let them know he is running a lottery,” said Patricia Brooks, who works in the attendance office and is in charge of handling parking permits. “Students come back to pick up their permits for either in the lot, on Cedar Street, or in Green Forest Park.”
The application, which is only available to students who live at least one mile away from the high school, requires a valid license and registration.
The current parking system is unsympathetic to younger seniors. Regardless of their birth dates, seniors deserve the opportunity to be in the lottery for a parking spot in any of the three possible locations offered: the senior lot, Cedar Street, or Green Forest Park. The 33 seniors forbidden to participate in the lottery because of their late birthdays represent 8% of the senior class.
With a birthday on Sept. 26, Hailey Rachko is one of the younger seniors. “It’s unfair how just because I did not get my license by the time the lottery took place, I was not allowed to even be considered for the lottery selection,” said Rachko.
Information regarding senior parking can be found on the high school website, www.spfk12.org. Bolded letters read, “Parking on campus is a privilege.” But some students are not even given this privilege.
This withholding of parking opportunities is only more outrageous given that some privileged seniors abuse the system. Seniors are often spotted parking in visitors spots in the senior lot, or on Cedar Street or in Green Forest Park without a permit. These seniors who disobey the parking rules are not being penalized for parking where they are not allowed to.
Seniors who live less than one mile from the school often circumvent the rules and purchase parking permits from students with spots. Students without cars who are eligible for the lottery but know they will not be driving to school often submit parking permit applications so they can get a parking spot and sell it to a classmate who does not have a spot, is a young senior, or lives less than one mile away from the school.
The school administration is aware of these problems, but admits that they have not been able to stop students from breaking the rules. “I am aware of what some seniors do,” said Dr. David Heisey. “Myself, assistant principals, Mr. McGriff, and other faculty all go out there to monitor the parking. Sometimes [the students are] caught and sometimes they’re not. You are penalized by your birthday. No, it’s not fair, but it’s not a perfect system.”
With the principal and younger seniors in agreement, expanding eligibility for parking spaces for all seniors, regardless of their birthdays, is possible. “I could leave a certain number of spots for the young seniors,” said Heisey. “Since the young seniors without a license in most cases have a permit, they could submit their application to be eligible for the lottery.”
This situation is worth looking at to give the opportunity to seniors to have the same priority older seniors have for parking on school property. “We are the students who just get the short end of the stick,” said senior Jamie Bush.