Sophomores have been receiving more parking tickets than usual since returning from spring break. While the reason for the increase in ticketing is unclear, there are many contributing factors.
Sophomores typically park in the Prairie Village Pool parking lot, and, as it is not considered school property, tickets are being issued by the Prairie Village Police Department.
The tickets have an average fine of $45, however, they can get up to $55 according to school Officer Seth Meyers the ticketing come without warning.
According to Officer Meyer, traffic cops patrol the sophomore lot more during the school day. They ticket cars who are parked illegally–outside of a designated parking spot according to Meyer.
The ticketing came without warning, according to Meyer. Mosher received a ticket for illegal parking in April, however, he had parked in that same spot many times before.
Sophomore Ashton Emley feels that the tickets are unnecessary and unfair to the sophomores.
“We drive to school and when we can’t find a spot we have no choice but to make do,” Emley said. “It’s not like we can just drive back home. Of course, the police are going [to] ticket us because they know we are easy targets.”
According to assistant principal Britton Haney, this problem has happened every year after spring break for the past six years.
“After spring break we have an influx of freshman drivers and sophomores who get their cars [and] that makes for more people in the public parking areas,” Haney said. “And then the sophomores who are used to getting here at 7:25 and finding a spot are now finding that those spots aren’t there.”
When students can’t find a spot, they look to park on Delmar, however, the parking is limited there too, according to Emely.
While there are no lined parking spots on Delmar, students are still receiving tickets. Emely received a ticket for parking in a no parking zone on Delmar. Emely was unaware of the no parking because it wasn’t clearly marked.
There are signs marked “no parking” in certain areas of Delmar, with times on the signs lining up with school hours, making it an illegal parking spot to Shawnee Mission East students. So for those who want to find a spot, they have to get to the lot before 7:15 a.m because the 91 spots in the sophomore lot tend to fill up by then, according to sophomore Zoe Hartman.
Those who can’t find a spot in the sophomore lot or on Delmar have been turning to the open staff and visitor parking spots, close to the entrance of the school. However, teachers who normally park there have school-issued parking stickers on their back windshield which make it easy for Haney to spot the imposters.
During the day Haney surveys the parking lot looking for the cars without stickers. He takes pictures of all the cars that are parked illegally. Currently, Haney’s camera roll is dominated by photos of those cars.
According to Sophomore Gabby Caponecchi, Haney uses the photos he takes when giving tickets as proof that students were parked illegally
Since Haney cannot ticket cars off school property, he has a special, east-made ticket for the certain cars on school property.
The average cost of one of his tickets is $25, which is cheaper compared to the $445 average of the Prairie Village police parking ticket.
However, if a student who parked in staff receives 40 SME staff signatures, Haney will waive the ticket and fine.
Caponecchi currently has 13 out of the 40 signatures needed. Caponecchi was parked in visitor parking for half a school day.
“I was sick and wanted to come to school but there were no spots, so I parked in visiting cause technically I was visiting,” Caponecchi said.
Haney’s tickets also have a fine which varies based on the inconvenience of the parking. According to Haney, he has administered about 70 tickets this year, bringing in around $1750.
According to Haney, the money that East compiles from the parking tickets is currently going toward maintaining the parking lot. Maintenance includes resurfacing, painting lines and numbers.