Parking pass fee likely to drop

Parking pass fee likely to drop

On Monday, March 17, juniors Thomas Hartman and Mickenzie Kamm met with Dartmouth Schools Business Manager James Kiley and proposed to lower the current student parking price from $50 per semester to $30 per semester.

Since October, the student council and Principal’s Advisory Group have met to change the DHS parking price and to improve the traffic and parking lot standards on snowy days. Hartman and Kamm were part of a subcommittee formed from principal’s advisory with a goal to lower the price. “We wanted to make a proposal to change the price to park to a more reasonable amount,” said Kamm.

Student Council President Nicolas Chaves also brought up the topic at a school committee meeting earlier this month.

“The parking price fee at the high school is outrageously high,” said Chaves. “I thought that the parking fee was far too expensive, so I decided to make a public statement about it at the meeting.”

“Mr. Kiley was pretty confident that the price will be lowered for next year,” said Hartman. “All that needs to happen now is to run it by school committee.”

Since Chaves brought up the topic at the last meeting, the school committee is well informed that this is a change high school students want to see.

“I think the reduction is fair, and I believe the school committee will support the proposal as recommended,” said Mr. Kiley. “I’m happy we could work together to find an equitable solution.”

Student council has been working to solve this problem since October after multiple students argued that the price was too high. “It’s been more frustrating getting something done than I thought it would be,” said Chaves. “I would often bring up the fact that New Bedford Voc pays five dollars for parking and New Bedford High pays zero dollars.”

According to Mr. Kiley, there is currently $41,485.58 in the parking lot account, which is generated from the fees students pay to park. “The funds are used for parking lot maintenance such as snow plowing, sanding, lot repairs, painting, and the actual parking passes themselves,” said Mr. Kiley. In addition a small Bobcat machine was recently purchased to assist moving snow from places plows can’t reach.

Kamm and Hartman also brought up the traffic in the morning and asked if something could be done to get the lot plowed in time for school.

Kamm explained the school does not control the crossing guards, but the Dartmouth Police Department does, so it is not up to the school to use the crossing guards or not. “Mr. Kiley said he would look back at records of students being tardy and see if there was any correlation between getting to school on time and if the crossing guard is present,” said Kamm.

“We are currently looking into this issue,” said Mr. Kiley.  “The crossing guards are there to ensure everyone’s safety.”  He went on to explain that the volume of traffic is an issue, but more students riding the bus would improve traffic flow.

“As for the parking lot being plowed, sometimes nothing can really be done,” said Hartman. If it is snowing while students are on their way to school, the lot can’t be plowed if students and teachers have already started arriving at school.

“This year we have had several instances of snowfall that have impacted the morning commute to school,” said Mr. Kiley. “Due to the timing of this snowfall, it has not always been possible to provide bare pavement by the time school starts.”  In addition, if the volume of the snowfall is relatively small, it is not always appropriate to plow.

Chaves also suggested at the school committee meeting that the one hour delay should be implemented so there would be more time for the lot to be plowed. “It would be beneficial to use the delay as the roads could be plowed in times of snow increasing road safety, and the parking lot could be plowed so students could actually see the spots they paid $100 for out of their own pockets.”

For now, as spring slowly approaches, snow may not be as much of a problem, but students will find out very shortly if the parking price has officially dropped. After School Committee approval, the fee will be reduced for the next school year.

“Hopefully the fee gets cut to $60 because every little bit helps,” said Chaves.