For teachers at East High School, there have been only two ways to get a parking stall - seniority or winning a lottery.
Parking has been so scarce over the years that teachers needed 14 years seniority or Lady Luck to smile on them in a parking lottery to get one of the 56 prized spots located directly behind the school.But the Salt Lake Board of Education is about to end the parking crunch. In a 5-1 vote, the board decided to spend $32,000 to tear up grass on the northwest corner of the campus and install a 52-space parking lot.
Teacher Rosemary Emery told the board that the situation worsened this year when 20 more teachers joined the faculty roster, bringing the total to more than 100, after South High was closed.
There are empty stalls in a student parking lot located on the hill east of 13th East, but teachers don't use them because of fear of vandalism, the board heard. Also, walking down the hill can be treacherous during snowy weather.
An alternate plan to the $32,000 lot would have fenced off 87 parking stalls in the section of the student lot closest to the school and constructed new stairs. Cost of that plan was $14,000.
But Emery said teachers don't like that plan because of potential vandalism to their cars and because they don't want to be responsible for displacing students who bring their cars to school.
Community Council representative Larry Failner said a solution is necessary because nearby residents object to having cars parked in front of their homes all day. That problem has been compounded with the addition of more students and teachers and restricted street parking around the school, he said.
Parking is now prevented north of the school on Eighth South by school bus zones.
Board member Lorna Matheson voted against the plan. She said she couldn't support a plan that would eliminate one of the last green areas around the school. She also questioned spending money on new parking when there are stalls available in the student lot.