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Gateway high school students to pay $25 per semester to park

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Some students and families argue that a new pay-to-park policy at Gateway High School places an unfair burden on students.

“I'm more disappointed than anything,” Gateway senior Jack Washington said.

“I just don't think it was a necessary action for them to take.”

The school board voted 9-0 last week to charge students $25 per semester to park at school.

There are about 100 student parking spaces at the high school, and the policy is expected to generate about $5,000 each school year.

Some students think that they are being punished for budget decisions in recent years that have cost the district money and are beyond students' control, Washington said.

“We've talked about how when everything went down in past years with the school board approving Propel (a charter school) and UPMC coming in here and not paying property taxes,” Washington said.

“If we would've gotten money from them, it wouldn't have hurt the school district at all.”

Parents argued that some students drive so they can get to work on time after school to support themselves and sometimes their families.

School director Bob Elms said the cost to park breaks down to 28 cents a day, which isn't much of a burden for a working student.

School director Jan Rawson said Gateway staff — many of whom live outside of the district — should pay for parking before students.

“These students are residents of Monroeville, and their parents are residents of Monroeville,” Rawson said. “Their parents pay taxes.”

Rawson voiced her concerns at the Aug. 19 school board meeting and suggested charging event parking rather than charging students.

Although she voted in favor of the student parking fee at the Aug. 28 meeting, she said afterward that it wasn't her intent to support the policy.

She said that she unintentionally voted in favor of it because it was grouped with eight other policy items that the school board voted on simultaneously.

“I was still going to vote no, but the way they (vote) one through nine, I missed it, truthfully.”

Although others on the school board supported a second look at the policy before it was approved, Rawson said that she knew going into the vote she would be the only one with the intention of voting against.

“For us, it's not that much, but for the students it is,” Rawson said.

“Obviously everyone else (on school board) didn't think it was a big deal.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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