Sunday, November 17, 2013

Do Fairfax Co high school principals want students to drive to school more often?

Photo: Washington Post
In an article about economic disparity between high schools in Fairfax County there is a discussion of how student parking fees are used to pay for needed school supplies. These fees are used at the discretion of principals to pay for computers and other supplies. Unfortuntaely there is an incentive to encourage more kids to drive to school so schools can collect parking fees. Langley High School in McLean collected over $13,000 last year. Mt Vernon High School collected only $465.

Most of the students who drive either could take the bus or live within a mile of the school and could walk or bike. It's unfortunate that principals are basically encouraging more kids to drive to their schools, contributing to local traffic congestion and air pollution, so they can collect funds from those students.

From the article Parking lots an example of Fairfax schools' economic gaps:
Wealthier schools, with students whose families can afford cars and the fees, sell out their parking spaces. At some schools, parking spots are in such high demand that dozens of students sign up for waiting lists or park in overflow lots.

At James Madison High School in Vienna, students who miss out on a school space can pay to park at a nearby Elks lodge. Administrators at Langley High School in McLean, where about 2 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, said that the school earned $13,890 last year in parking fees.

Poorer schools sell virtually no spots, according to data obtained by The Washington Post. Mount Vernon earned $465 in parking revenue last year — less than the cost of one new iPad Air.

Joan Daly, president of the Falls Church High School Parent, Teacher, Student Association, said it is unfortunate that schools with a higher ratio of poor students take the biggest hit.

At Falls Church, where 57 percent of the students qualify for subsidized meals, the administration sold 68 of 120 parking spaces as of Oct. 15. Because some of the spaces are subsidized, the parking fees brought in about $1,600 to the school.
This is awful!

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