The Fayette County Board of Education on April 18 approved a measure that will return a portion of the money received from high school student parking lot fees to the individual schools.
The 4-1 vote will have the first $7,500 received from student parking lot fees going back to the high schools. The remainder of the funds collected will continue to go to central office.
The discussion prior to the vote was introduced by Superintendent Jody Barrow, who noted that all fees collected from student parking permits had been going to the school district beginning in the “tight times” experienced during the Great Recession where the school board searched for multiple ways to generate funds.
With the economy having improved, Barrow suggested that a portion of the money stay in the high schools for various projects. His recommendation was to allow individual schools to keep up to $7,500 of the amount collected, though Sandy Creek and Fayette County would have received $4,857.50 and $5,530, respectively.
“The school system still has the expense for the salaries and benefits of parking lot attendants,” Barrow said, noting that the school system is also responsible for major repairs at the schools.
School board member Diane Basham during the discussion noted that the job of parking lot attendants also includes being another “set of eyes” to help keep everyone safe.
Basham said principals have indicated that receiving some of the student parking lot fees collected could help with the purchase of equipment. Barrow’s recommendation would have provided $7,500 for McIntosh, Starr’s Mill and Whitewater high schools and a lesser amount for Fayette County and Sandy Creek where less money is collected.
Basham and board member Dan Colwell both thought all schools should receive an equal amount of money.
Some on the board questioned whether student parking lot fees should be collected.
Board member Barry Marchman during the discussion proposed that each school receive $7,500 this year and that the board re-visit the issue next year. Basham agreed.
The vote was 4-1, with Presberg opposed. Commenting on his “no” vote, Presberg said, “It seemed like an odd way to focus on giving money back to the schools, transferring money from one pot to another. It’s a weird budgetary shift.”
Gross parking lot receipts collected in 2016 varied significantly by school. Sandy Creek collected a low of $9,715 while McIntosh collected a high of $47,960.