About $60 will buy most local juniors and seniors a parking spot at their high school for a year, if they behave.
Parking at school is "a privilege" for Hall students who provide their own transportation, according to school officials.
"The six conventional high schools all charge the same thing, and it is $60 a year," said Deputy Superintendent Lee Lovett. "Lanier Career Academy is a different can of worms, and they charge a little less." The nontraditional high school charges $10 a year.
Gainesville High School’s permit was $25 last year, but Principal Tom Smith said the price is increasing this year to $30.
The policies for receiving a parking permit at each school vary slightly.
At Chestatee High School, all juniors and seniors with a car who want a permit are eligible for one.
"We have reserved parking for seniors and juniors," said Denise Nylander in Chestatee’s guidance office. "And everybody else gets what’s left over. For those students, it’s first come, first serve."
At North Hall High School, students who have passed an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test and students with a 4.5 grade-point average can get free parking, according to Beverly Buffington, North Hall High secretary.
"If you pre-apply, your parking space is based on your class — so seniors first — and their grades and attendance," Buffington said. "Then it’s juniors by grades and attendance. Then, after a couple weeks, the sophomores with licenses get an opportunity to apply for the spots left."
Buffington said North Hall may have fewer leftover spots this year because of construction of the school’s new performing arts center.
North Hall also requires all students who want a parking permit to pass at least five classes the previous year, and they must continue to pass at least five courses throughout the year to keep the permit.
At Gainesville, students previously could earn Platinum Pride IDs that allowed free parking, free access to athletic events and discounts at local businesses and restaurants. The ID was earned based on Georgia High School Graduation and Writing test scores.
"Neither test is currently offered," Smith said. "So I will be meeting with a team at the beginning of this school year to determine the standards for seniors to receive a Platinum Pride ID for the 2015-2016 school year."
Parking permits may be revoked as a punishment in Hall and Gainesville schools.
Flowery Branch High School might revoke parking permits from students who leave campus without checking out.
Johnson High School and West Hall High School claim the right to take back parking permits from students who have six or more unexcused tardies or absences, while North Hall will revoke permits after eight absences, according to the schools’ handbooks.
At all Hall schools, parking permit applications have to be signed by a parent or guardian. Hall schools and Gainesville High School require students show a valid Georgia driver’s license and proof of insurance.
Students purchasing a parking permit at all high schools must also sign a waiver agreeing to the districts’ drug screening procedures.
Lovett said Hall high schools use the funds from parking permits to maintain the campus. The funds do not go back to the central office or general fund but stay with the school.
"They are kept in a special fund called ‘parking fees,’" Lovett said. "Generally speaking, they are supposed to be spent to restripe and maintain the parking lot, those sort of things. Occasionally, I’ll have a request from the principal to spend those funds on another need, but the rules state they stay in that fund until the parking lot needs repair."
Smith said the Gainesville parking fees are used for a similar purpose.
"This fee is used to pay expenses related to parking," Smith said. "This could include security, maintenance and upkeep, decals, etc. Parking is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, we have to ask students to shoulder some of the burden."