Parents question school parking fee increase

GOOCHLAND, VA (WWBT) – How much should your kid have to pay to park at his or her own high school? Some Goochland parents got sticker shot this week: the parking fee for their kids just jumped $50 to $125!

That's way more than what other school districts charge. Parents called 12 asking us to find out why they're teens are paying so much more.

Lori Lambert couldn't believe her eyes when she read on a Facebook page it would cost $125 for her daughter to park at Goochland High School for her senior year.

I almost fell on the floor because that is an outrageous amount to pay to park on a piece of pavement," she said.

She had thought last year's price tag of $75 was outrageous to begin with and asked the principal about the change. In an email, the principal cited safety concerns and the need for someone to guard the parking lot.

It is the same response we got from district leaders.

The superintendent told NBC12 the school system budget has gotten so tight that they could no longer contribute to the parking attendant's salary and benefits. Now the parking fees will be the only source of payment for that position, thus the substantial increase.

"There are certain things that our community expects and one of those things is that their students' cars be safe in the parking lot, that they're free from vandalism or people breaking in," Linda Underwood explained.

We did some checking around the area. Goochland's fee is two and a half times Henrico's $50 charge and five times Chesterfield's $25 fee. Richmond's parking is free.

Lambert's daughter Katelyn says her friends might not end up paying for parking this year either. They're not planning on buying the parking passes Thursday and will try to find a place nearby to leave their cars.

"They don't have that kind of money," she said. "Gas nowadays too is going up. We have to pay for that. So it's not like we can just throw out that extra money."

The superintendent said the school will work with any students to create payment plans to make the increase easier.

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