For many students getting their driver’s license and having the opportunity to pull into the Norrix parking lot driving the car themselves is incredibly exciting. Being able to compare the speed of your car to your friends, griping about gas costs like your parents and cursing Michigan’s car insurance policies.
However, this year the Loy Norrix administrative team decided to shake things up and require parking passes for student drivers. The reason for these passes is simple.
Principal Aguinaga said, “The reason we have them is to ensure we can identify every car in the parking lot and make sure cars that have no business on campus are not here. It is a safety and security concern.”
This is similar to the way students and staff wear IDs, to identify who we are. These handy-dandy passes cost $10, a one-time purchase for the school year, that doesn’t require renewal and gives you parking privileges all year at Norrix.
This new parking procedure has caused a lot of commotion amongst student drivers, but when it comes down to it, if you can afford to drive a car, you can afford to park that car.
At this point, it seems many students are just looking for a reason to be upset with administrators, so to give students a better look at how much they are spending, I did the math for you. In Michigan, the law requires a district offer at least 180 days of school a year. If each student actually went to every day at school it would mean they were paying a little more than five cents a day. For most people, five cents isn’t terribly expensive and could probably be located behind the couch cushions, on the floor of your car or buried at the bottom of your backpack.
Additionally, Loy Norrix is actually the only high school in the Kalamazoo-Portage area that hasn’t been charging students to park up until now. At Portage Northern, student drivers must buy a parking pass for $20, and that pass expires at the end of the semester, meaning Northern students have to purchase a pass twice a year. That’s $40 a year for parking compared to Norrix’s $10. The Norrix administration even offered to meet with students who feel they cannot afford a pass, ensuring that all students’ needs are addressed.
To put this $10 into even more perspective, it costs about $10 to buy two specialty coffee drinks from Starbucks, $10 will get you five bottles of any generic soda, a package of four mechanical pencils or two boxes of name brand cereal. It seems most students aren’t actually mad that they have to spend money, they are mad they have to spend money on something that was previously free. These disgruntled students aren’t realizing that for the most part people pay for their parking, whether it’s at the meter, in a parking structure, or a paid parking spot: it’s not at all unusual.
Also, this year Loy Norrix students get a free Metro bus pass. If you are a driver that truly cannot afford the parking pass and have no way of meeting with an administrator who might be willing to offer assistance, then take the bus, it costs $10 less.