Summit school board decides against waiving parking fee for high school students amid busing shortages |

Summit school board decides against waiving parking fee for high school students amid busing shortages

Summit High School is pictured on March 18. After being presented a resolution to waive parking fees for the fall semester for high school students, the Summit Summit School District Board of Education decided against it in favor of reevaluating the whole fee schedule with an equity lens.
Jason Connolly/For the Summit Daily News

After being presented with a resolution to waive the fall semester parking fee for students who park their cars at the high school, the Summit School District Board of Education voted to table the matter until fees could be evaluated from a wider equity lens.

Students are required to pay $65 per semester to park at the high school with a few exceptions. Given staffing shortages and reduced transportation services, many families requested the board waive the fee since many high schoolers haven’t had the option to ride a bus.

At the previous board meeting, board member Tracey Carisch brought up these concerns, which she had heard from many parents. Superintendent Roy Crawford said district staff had already expressed interest in waiving the fee but didn’t have time to draft a resolution before that meeting.

In fall of 2019, 244 students parked at the high school while in fall 2020, 210 did. So far this school semester, only 135 students are parking at the school. After seeing these numbers, the board concluded that the lack of busing has not impacted the amount of students driving to school.

“This came to us because there were parents that were concerned that there is not a bus for their student, so therefore, they’re driving,” board president Kate Hudnut said. “Then as (chief financial officer Kara Drake) and I met last week to look at some of this data, we’re saying, maybe it doesn’t align with that since the number of students parking has actually gone down.”

Board member Chris Alleman pointed out that even when students were coming to school two days a week last year, more students were driving than this year.

“It seems like just by looking at the numbers, there’s really not a direct correlation of impact on the number of students that are needing to drive or that are choosing to drive because of transportation issues,” Alleman said.

Alleman asked Drake if that was a fair statement, to which she agreed.

Hudnut suggested that as the board looks to implement the equity policy, it would be smart to zoom out and reevaluate the district’s fee schedule in general.

“I think that this is an opportunity for us to zoom out a little bit instead of unplugging one fee that does have budget repercussions,” Hudnut said. “I don’t want to be reactionary to one fee when we know there’s a whole system that may need to be reevaluated.”

Alleman agreed with Hudnut and said the board needs to be strategic about looking at fees, suggesting staff start to take a look at what this evaluation could look like.

Board members Johanna Kugler, Consuelo Redhorse and Lisa Webster all agreed and the item was removed from the consent agenda. Carisch and board member Gloria Quintero were not present at the meeting.

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