By Adelle Feeley
SARATOGA SPRINGS- High School juniors’ parking problems have dominated morning dialogue; juniors and other students are frustrated by administration’s choice to close the gates at Joseph Street, eliminating the already limited underclassmen parking. “I hate it,” said Ethan Kopraski, a junior at SSHS, “Having to worry about running multiple blocks to get to school on time is a terrible start to the school day—not only for me, but for my classmates too.”
New Saratoga Springs High School principal, Michelle Tsao, said she had very little to do with the closing of the gates on Joseph Street. “This conversation,” said Tsao, “started last spring before I even got here. There was a series of meetings that happened in April, May and June.” Tsao came to Saratoga Springs High School in July, when the process was nearly complete; there was no room for her input. Regardless of her opinion, she couldn’t change what had already been set in place prior to her presence, Tsao said.
Tsao participated in one of the last meetings, where community members, residents of Joseph Street, and parents came to cast their vote on this issue. The residents saw the open gate as unsafe, as sidewalk-free Joseph St. forced students to walk in the middle of the road to their vehicles. They came to an agreement that closing the gates was the appropriate decision to prevent students from parking on Joseph Street entirely.
According to Tsao, any changes that could currently be made wouldn’t be set in motion until the spring of 2019. “The only thing that we could do right now was to close the gates for student safety,” said Tsao.
Art teacher, Mr. Kelley understands why juniors would be upset, but believes the rule change is a matter of safety. If a student was hit by a car on Joseph Street, it could be deadly. Kelley also said, “There should be enough [parking] spots so each student driver can drive to school if they chose.”
Aidan Waite, an SSHS junior, recently won a senior lot pass in a lottery where select juniors get the leftover spots. Waite previously hated sprinting into school and waking up earlier than needed, but now sees driving to school as a privilege, rather than a task.
In the future a junior lot may be discussed, but, for the time being, juniors are left with taking the bus or walking several blocks to get to school.