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Parking fees for Stewart Manor School staff on hold; playground turned into parking lot

| September 10, 2013

A village in Nassau County, New York has been in the news recently for proposing monthly parking fees of $50 for staff at the local school. This has been opposed by all sections of the community, leading the village board to postpone the decision until officials meet to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, the school has converted a part of the playground into a makeshift parking lot, which has not gone down well with parents and students.

Decision to levy parking fees on hold

protest against parking fees

School children and parents hit the streets to oppose the $50 monthly staff parking fees. Image by Newsday.

The night before the rule was to be enforced, Mayor Gerard Tangredi read a statement at a packed Village Hall, justifying the reason behind levying the charges. “We are now asking the people who park their vehicles in designated village areas, which [have] been free of charge for 50 years, to assist the residents in paying to maintain services.” He added that this was to lessen the ever-increasing tax burden on residents and look towards other non-taxed services for revenues. The village would make approximately $20,000 if it succeeds in charging school workers parking fees.

However, a united protest from parents, school staff, and children at the meeting forced the Stewart Manor Village Board to postpone the decision until ongoing conversations with school Principal Hope Kranidis and Elmont Superintendent Al Harper reach a consensus.

Teachers and other school staff who use these parking spots worry that the fee, if imposed, could total up to $500 every year. Principal Kranidis says, “People who park on that roadway are the custodians, the clerks, the cafeteria workers – to be asking people to purchase a permit on a monthly basis for $50, it really is a hardship for a number of the people there.”

Others in the village say that targeting these spaces is leading to other consequences, like a swell in demand for parking on neighboring village New Hyde Park’s streets.

New Hyde Park Deputy Mayor Lawrence Montreuil tells Mayor Tangredi, “We would rather not have to create tougher parking laws to have to deter this. My village would be happy to sit down with you and help you explore other ways of generating equivalent revenue instead of passing this bill.”

Reduced play space for students

parking fees result in playground use

A part of the playground is being used for parking. Image by News 12 Long Island.

Students are affected the worst in this conflict. 9-year-old student, Kayla Brodman stands on the new parking lot, upset about the loss of the school’s four square court. According to Newsday, the Stewart Manor Elementary School has converted a patch of playground blacktop into a temporary parking lot until this matter is sorted.

Parents and teachers worry that bringing vehicles into the play spaces might prove unsafe for children. Also, the rest of the school field is covered by grass, which when wet due to early morning rains can result in the loss of recess.

This is not the first time a school has compromised on the play spaces for its students. The Ironbound grammar school at Newark, New Jersey adheres to a years-long practice of students sharing their playground with the teachers’ parking lot. The school Principal, Maria Merlo says that this ensures teachers are not late for work while looking for parking space elsewhere.

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Category: Parking

About the Author ()

A creative writer at heart, Lisa currently writes for SmartSign’s blogs and dabbles in content strategies for SEO. She spends the rest of the time lounging in the comforts of her home, surfing the internet for areas of interest, or traveling to unexplored destinations. Having previously studied and worked in the field of journalism and media, Lisa likes calling herself a web journalist. She takes special interest in grassroots and tribal issues, and topics concerning women empowerment. She swears that books are a person’s best travel companion, and that good food can liven up any dull day. Lisa lives in the beautiful city of Jaipur, India.

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