School Board Sets Parking Permit At $50

Money will go toward increased security, including cameras in the Payson High School parking lots

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Students will continue pay $50 each year to park their cars at Payson High School, the school board decided at a recent meeting.

The board spelled out specific criteria for hardship exemptions, how the permits will be enforced, and what the revenue will buy.

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Members of the homecoming court take time out from their busy school schedules to relax between classes and pose for this picture. Back row from left to right are: Christina Deaton, Rylee Halenar, Katelyn Curtis, Jessica Slapnicka, Baylee McRae, Jessie Wilembrecht, and Collette Sexton. Front row from left to right are: Bryan Burke, Keaton Duran, Miles McWilliams, Lucas Barr, Ridge Halenar and Shane Keith. Not available for this picture was Clifford Lopez. The 2008 Payson High School Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned during Friday night's game against Chino Valley.

Previously, a parent asked what constituted a hardship exemption, and the district's attorney advised that the board tighten its criteria.

At August's board meeting, a parent complained that the fee was too high, and should be lowered.

District officials also canvassed other districts to see what their permits cost. Fees ranged from $100 in Scottsdale to free in districts like Sedona, Winslow and Globe. Chino Valley High School, which is almost exactly Payson's size, also charges $50.

If a student receives free or reduced cost lunch, is homeless or has endured "catastrophic circumstances," the district will consider a hardship waiver.

To enforce the permits, a staff member will stand at each parking lot entrance and wave students through if they have permits. If not, staff will ask the cars to turn around. Random parking lot permit checks will supplement the human turnstiles.

School officials seek to prevent vandalism by installing security cameras. They also want to ensure those parking on campus belong on campus.

Installing cameras in the back parking lot will cost $11,500, including wiring and excavation.

That cost doesn't include the three cameras, which will cost about $900 each.

School officials estimated 250 students purchase permits, which would net $12,500 a year. Payson High School already has $11,000.

School board member Charles Brown urged expediency in buying the cameras. "For someone to pay to be protected that's not protected just isn't right," he said.

Board member Donald Engler said the school could recognize achieving students by discounting their parking fee.

Others agreed, but said the school should outline specific criteria for achievement.

"We'll eventually come up with a policy for that. We're just here tonight to get started on security," said board member Rory Huff.

Also on the agenda, the senior trip to Disneyland was tabled after board members began contemplating if they wanted the liability.

The trip takes place after seniors graduate, but Payson High School Principal Roy Sandoval said Disneyland is strict and won't allow the kids in the park without the district's approval.

Board member Viki Holmes noted that if the district approves the trip, then it's liable.

Also at issue was money from the student activity fund that would be used for the trip. Officials questioned the fairness of spending money that belongs to the whole class on only the students taking the trip.

The trip's organizer will address the board at its next meeting.

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