Students need to protest lack of senior parking


Photo by Ryan Pencek

Seniors are now mostly relegated to the parking lot at Kerr McGee.

By Ryan Pencek, Reporter

Senior parking at West Chicago Community High School is a problem. There are significantly more seniors in the school compared to teachers and they should get their own parking lot. 

Senior parking was taken away due to the Covid-19 pandemic and remote learning situation in 2020, and never implemented back even after the quarantine was over. All students right now must park at Kerr McGee and Geneva Street lots or they will be ticketed and/or towed. 

On the West Chicago Community High School website, one can find all the rules and expectations concerning parking spaces for staff and students. Teachers are allotted 4 parking areas close to the building, which include the South lot by the maintenance garage, Ann Street lot across from entrance F, pool entrance lot by entrance G, and Wood Street lot by entrance B. Four parking lots for teachers is outrageous due to the fact the student/teacher ratio is 17:1 with 124 teachers compared to 2,051 students. Out of the 2,051 students, there are about 500 seniors, which is still a 4:1 student/teacher ratio. There are significantly more seniors than teachers, and yet they receive noticeably less parking, which strikes most students as not only imbalanced, but also unfair.

Senior parking was implemented at the high school 15-16 years ago, and was available to students who were willing to pay $200 a spot; doing so gave the students the opportunity to park much closer to the school, which was ideal considering Illinois’ cold winters and rainy days. 

While the parking lot at Kerr McGee is an option, it is available to students at all grade levels, whereas parking lots closer to the school were previously set aside for seniors. (Photo by Ryan Pencek)

However, in 2020, as a result of the pandemic and the renovation at the front of the school, the senior parking spots were taken away, and redistributed to teachers. Students are now expected to park at Kerr McGee, or the Geneva Street lot. Still, there are students who attempt to park in these areas. According to Student Resource Officer Mike Levato, about 4-5 parking tickets are issued a day to students who park in non-student lots.

Levato, who has been at the school for 16 years and is in charge of parking, said, “I like the way the school is handling parking now. They don’t charge the kids to park at Kerr McGee or the Geneva Street lot, and the kids that park there don’t have to worry about getting ticketed. There are usually more open parking spots in the lots near entrance A and H for parents and visitors to use. It’s much easier to control and monitor the lots now.” 

While Levato offers an important perspective on the parking situation, the ease of monitoring the parking situation does not negate the need for senior parking. The senior students should have their own, designated parking lot their last year of high school. Such a lot is a perk for seniors, and helps them feel like they are truly at the end of their high school career while also promoting a sense of hierarchy among the classes. Giving the seniors their own parking lot provides the underclassmen with something to strive for and look forward to as well. 

In a survey conducted among 60 seniors, 90% indicated having a dedicated senior parking lot closer to the school was more important than the $200 fee that might be involved.

Students, the next step is to increase our voices and protest. We must push to have senior parking back. It is important we show the school administrators  that the entire senior class is serious about this topic.

Administrators, seniors are willing to do the “leg work” and compromise: have seniors survey other students and teachers to get more angles on senior parking. There is still time, as the second semester is approaching, to push for senior parking to come back.