The Parking Price Tag

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Alex Greene

BUMPER TO BUMPER: Seniors, and a few select juniors, are allowed to park in school lots, permitted they purchase a $50 parking sticker. The money goes towards a Student Activity Account.

Sami Bautista, Web Sports Editor

Emblazoned with one’s class year and framed by the standard Staples blue, student parking stickers are displayed proudly on the windshields of the majority of cars found in the school’s parking lot. Each sticker is branded with a unique registration number in order to identify the car. However, it is not the only number that comes with student parking. A price tag looms over every single blue and white sticker.

For seniors, the cost of their parking stickers is $50 apiece. Juniors don’t have to pay as much money, because they receive their stickers later on in the school year. According to Richard Franzis, one of the assistant principals, the price is “pro-rated” depending on the time of the lottery. For instance, Franzis estimates that a sticker in April will only be about $10.

According to Franzis, $14,000 per year is usually accumulated from student parking and goes into a Student Activity Account. This account mostly provides funds to sustain parking such as new tickets, new stickers, and the maintenance of the security vehicle. In fact, this year the money was used to buy the new security vehicle from the Westport Police Department.

Patrick Micinilio, assistant principal to the senior class, also adds that the money goes towards the general upkeep of the school.

“Last year, somebody took the gate between Bedford and Staples,” Micinilio said. “Things like that aren’t generally in the budget, so having these funds is helpful.”

Despite the fee’s purpose, some students remain skeptical about the cost.

“I’m sure the school uses the money for good stuff, but they just bought new computers so I doubt they desperately need our money,” Turner Block ’13 said. “It’s overpriced, and the school is taking advantage of the students, because they know we have to pay.”

Elizabeth Coogan ’14, a hopeful contestant of the junior parking lottery, agrees.

“The price is a little high,” Coogan said. “Besides staff and visitors to the school, who else is going to be taking up those parking spaces except for students? The spaces would be empty without students, so why should we pay that much?”

Greg Salamone ’13 feels the same way.

“I never enjoy giving up hard earned money, but corporate is going to do what they please. We wait 17 years to get senior parking, yet we have to write a check,” said Salamone. “It’s like they care more about the numbers than the person.”

In contrast, Franzis believes that it is a fair deal.

“Parking is a privilege, it’s not a right,” Franzis said. “The Town of Westport graciously provides a large sum of money in the form of school buses, so students could get here for nothing if they wanted to.”

However, Georgie Talbot ’13 disagrees wholeheartedly. To her, she believes that student parking is, in fact, a right.

“We shouldn’t have to pay for parking. We have to go places. We have a lot of commitments, and we deserve to have parking for free,” Talbot said. “After all, we do go to a public school. Everything should be free.”

Although there are many protests from Staples students, other schools in Fairfield County have much more to complain about. Weston, Fairfield Ludlowe, and Fairfield Warde charge their seniors $100 or $50 per semester for their juniors. Wilton has two different parking lots. Seniors can either buy assigned parking spaces for $150 or park at a free parking lot with no guarantee for a spot. The free parking lot functions by the first come first serve policy. Lastly, Ridgefield charges $200 for their student parking stickers.

With so many different opinions, there was only one thing that Garrett Jordan ’13 could say about the issue: “It’s bogus.”