Unnecessary or justified?


Photo by Sara Vechinksi

The back lot is one of two lots available for students to park in, and while both are the same price, seniors were allowed to pick their desired lot this year, a privilege that will be available to the entire student body next year.

Sara Vechinski, Social Media Editor

Cathedral Catholic High School student Maya Redington ‘20, who finally got her own car in September, eagerly opened the CCHS website to purchase a parking space so she would be able to drive herself to school, as students are not allowed to drive unless they park on campus. However, she was unpleasantly surprised by the cost of a parking space on campus: $125.

“I think the price to park is very expensive and unnecessary,” Redington said. “My parents already pay enough to the school as it is.”

The parking policy includes a $125 fee for student parking if purchased in April to December and $75 if purchased in January to the end of the school year. The fee includes one parking permit sticker and an assigned parking spot. Students are never allowed to park on neighboring streets during school hours.

According to an El Cid Instagram poll, 77% of the CCHS community agrees parking is too expensive. 

The price for a parking space increased by $25 from last year due to a lack of price change for several years, according to CCHS President Mr. Stevan Laaperi. 

“One of the things we do on an every other year basis is we slurry seal all our parking,” Mr. Laaperi said. “The wear and tear on the slurry seal is what causes us to have to redo those things. Slurry seal is petroleum based, like gasoline, so as you see gasoline prices increase, we also see the slurry seal price increase. What we used to do for $10,000 or $15,000, we now pay $22,000 to do, so that is part of the reason we even charge for parking in the first place.”

While the quality of the parking lots can hardly be disputed, the idea of having to pay an extra fee to the school students already pay approximately $18,500 to attend seems outrageous, Redington said. 

“It would be better if it was included in the tuition,” Redington said, “like other things such as retreats and sports games. School is already expensive enough.”

Administration considered including parking costs in tuition, but ultimately decided against the idea. 

“It’s not used by everyone, or potentially everyone,” Mr. Laaperi said. “Freshman and sophomores do not drive. It’s a possibility we would look at in the future, which would make it $10 a month, or less because everyone is paying it, but then the question becomes how do you assign parking spots.”

As of last year, students are required to attend a Start Smart seminar prior to receiving a parking space in order to ensure safe driving habits.

However, it may be difficult to assign parking spaces based on a student’s ability to attend the seminar, as it is only required once during a student’s four-year enrollment.

Despite the fact that everyone would pay for but not necessarily use a parking spot, including the cost in tuition would be a better option, as it would remove the mentality of paying extra for something students at most schools receive for free. 

Many public and private high schools offer at least one free student parking lot, where spaces are first-come first-serve. Saint Augustine High School does not have space to offer on-campus parking for all students, so students park in surrounding neighborhoods, however there are several parking spots in the garage, which are offered to upperclassmen first, free of charge. The Academy Our Lady of Peace is also unable to offer on-campus parking, so they encourage students to carpool and park in the surrounding neighborhood, OLP principal Dr. Lauren Lek said. 

Students have voiced a desire to park on neighboring streets for free, but this is widely regarded as a worse option to on-campus parking. 

“There are a lot of drawbacks to students parking in residential areas,” SAHS principal Mr. James Horne said. “The most common are speeding, noise, trash, and blocked driveways. If we had a large enough parking lot to accommodate everyone we would ask all members of the community to use it. It adds a measure of convenience for all and is a tremendous courtesy to be able to provide the neighbors.”

CCHS would have less residential streets to park on compares to SAHS and OLP, as Del Mar Heights Road runs along the north side of the school and does not permit parking. In addition to the lack of off-campus parking compared with ample on-campus parking, security guards and camera make on-campus much safer for students and their vehicles. 

“Having students park on campus allows us to keep track of our students, keep an eye on their vehicles, and make sure if they have to leave with a passport they get to their vehicle safely,” Dean of Students Mr. Michael Wallace said. 

Exclusive on-campus parking also increases safety.

“Two years ago there were a couple of break-ins, and we were able to get on our security cameras and support investigations from the police,” Principal Dr. Kevin Calkins said. “It turned out that it was somebody who was hitting Torrey Pines High School, then us, then Canyon Crest Academy. We were able to help that investigation. Obviously, if someone’s parking off campus there’s nothing we can do about that.” 

While parking on campus is obviously a preferable option, the additional charge for parking should be distributed, so it is not viewed as an additional charge, but rather as something included in tuition. 

“If other people have other ideas on how they think it should go,” Mr. Wallace said, “we are always open to reevaluating the policy.”