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Wood BOE will not act on student parking

Administrators instructed to determine procedures

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County Board of Education will not create a policy to govern the cost of student parking at high schools, instead instructing administrators to come up with a uniform procedure.

The board briefly discussed student parking during its Nov. 19 meeting, but stopped short of taking any official action. Student parking fees became a point of contention in October after parents complained about parking fees at Parkersburg South High School. During the October meeting, principals from the district’s three high schools discussed parking fees and how they are used, with prices ranging from $30-$60 a space at Williamstown High and Parkersburg High schools and $75-$100 at Parkersburg South.

In his presentation during the Nov. 19 board meeting, Superintendent Will Hosaflook said a recent student survey found most high school students willing to pay between $30-$60 per space. Hosaflook said he would be meeting with principals to determine a course of action for all three schools.

Board members said they were hesitant to create a policy because it was an administrative decision. All, however, said they wanted to see more uniform and affordable rates at all of the district’s high schools

“This is something that normally we as a board do not deal with. It’s getting down in the weeds,” said board member Justin Raber. “And it’s probably somewhere we should not be at as a board, dealing with on a regular basis.”

Raber said it was a “student-centered item” but should not require the board to create a policy to govern it county-wide.

“And then we policy everything and that is not what we should be doing,” he said.

Board President Rick Olcott said while it was an area the board not normally would be involved in, it directly involved students, money and public property.

“It is a consistency thing,” Olcott said. “Those parking lots are maintained by Board of Education funds. We need to be very cognizant of the community and the impact.”

Olcott said he did want the higher-paying students addressed this year if the rate is changed.

“The question becomes with this, if you land at the $50-ish range, what is your recommendation going to do for the ones that paid $75-$100?” Olcott said.

Hosaflook said he would speak with the principals about the possibility of refunds or free/reduced-price parking for next year.

“There are a lot of different options,” Hosaflook said.

Michael Erb can be reached at merb@newsandsentinel.com.

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