Parking Lot Woes Continue

 I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard my peers criticizing the school’s parking lot. From potholes to parking passes and everything in between, there seems to be an endless list of things that the students are displeased with. And of course, I’ve also participated in my fair share of complaining, but I’ve set out to bring clarity to RMHS students regarding their biggest parking lot grievances. I sat down with Mr. Alvin Lewis, Division Head of Student Success, Safety and Wellness, to ask the questions that have been on many of our minds. 

        Many students have heard rumors that the parking lot would be getting redone year after year, and yet still we haven’t seen much change. Lewis revealed that a full resurfacing of the parking lot was supposed to occur this past summer, but the workers who were supposed to carry out this project went on strike, so the plan was unable to be executed. Instead, limited repairs in the parking lot were made such as filling potholes and removing some of the speed bumps. The strike is also why Jay Ln is still under construction, despite the city of Rolling Meadows telling the school it would be finished before the beginning of the school year. 

        Now, why are parking passes so expensive? To many, $190 for a parking pass seems like an unreasonably high price, and while I agree, we don’t have the RMHS administration to blame.  Lewis informed me that $190 is a price that is set by the district and all of District 214 abides by this price. In fact, RMHS is actually one of the few schools to offer a cheaper option; Barker Avenue parking passes sell for $75 and require just a short walk around the corner to school. 

Still, this price may not be realistic for many RMHS students, especially those coming from low-income families. Although RMHS offers financial assistance if you are on a free or reduced plan, such as waiving the fee for AP testing and reduced prices for lunches, there is no such option with parking passes. This problem is especially concerning for students living within a 1.5-mile radius of the school because they do not qualify for bus services. This means students who cannot afford a parking pass and also live too close to the school to be able to take the bus may have to walk up to 30 minutes in freezing temperatures and snow in the winter. 

        It’s clear that the RMHS administration is not at fault for many of the problems with the parking lot; they’ve been hindered by the bad timing of an unfair labor practices strike and district-wide rules. However, it’s also quite evident that there is an equity issue when it comes to the RMHS transportation and parking options. If Rolling Meadows High School wants to foster a positive learning environment for students, they must first ensure students can get to that environment. Everyone deserves a safe and reliable way to get to school each morning and it is the school’s responsibility to ensure that’s possible.