The Truth Behind the Skyline Parking Pass


Burdette , Dwight. Skyline High School Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor, 8 May 2010.

Forty dollars. The price of 20 packages of Mariani Premium Yogurt Covered Raisins from Walmart, or one vial of insulin from Canada. When not spending money on life saving medication, or nutritious, life sustaining food, a student driver might spend this money on the annual Skyline parking pass. 

For the first few weeks of the school year, Skyline students were reminded that they must purchase a parking pass from the financial office in order to park in the student lot. Students like Josh Krukonis, Skyline Senior, started questioning the ethics of parking passes. “It doesn’t make sense for the price to be so high for a high school student,” said Krokonis.  “I don’t even know what the thing is for!”

What do parking passes do? Are they really just stickers that limit rear window visibility? Principal Cory McElmeel said, “parking permits [are regulated to] to make sure authorized cars are on campus so that we don’t have cars dumped here and we don’t become a park and ride.” 

While a few unauthorized cars may seem harmless, allowing unauthorized vehicles into the parking lot can be dangerous. McElmeel stated that “over Covid… I actually had to call the cops because we had three drift circles going out in our parking lot.” 

McElmeel explained that for a student to prove that they are “authorized to park on campus” they must pay $40 for a parking pass. A parking pass proves that cars on campus are “authorized.” However, a pass that costs nothing would theoretically do the same job. So, why $40? 

The parking pass “supports the purchase of various needs for students in poverty, incentives for our PBIS program, campus beautification projects identified by our student body, and other enhancements to the student experience.” McElmeel also said that the pass funds pizza parties and other catered events for school functions even though “food is only a portion of what the funding goes towards.” 

To determine the price, “we look at the average prices for schools and universities in the region and then we would cut ours by $20 or $40 dollars,” Mr. McElmeel says. “We’re the cheapest parking pass out of any of the Ann Arbor public schools.” According to McElmeel,  the school brings in “approximately $10,000” per year from parking passes alone.

In order to make sure authorized cars park on campus, parking pass checks must be carried out. Who carries parking pass checks out and how are they conducted?  

“Community assistants and office professionals do the checks,” McElmeel said. “We do unscheduled, intermittent checks… it’s more like the random lottery of checks, [if we don’t catch you] there, you’re gonna get caught and you’re gonna get reminded and you’re gonna use a pass.”

Failure to follow the rules results in punishment: any car without a sticker could get ticketed or towed. When asked about past incidents of towing or ticketing, Mr. McElmeel said that cars are towed “Pretty infrequently, [but] people comply after they are annoyed.”

Skyline students are encouraged to become active in decision making, especially concerning the allocation or spending of student funding. “I would encourage anyone who has interest on how that money gets spent to be part of the Student Action Senate and give us feedback and input through that,” McEmeel stated. “Our goal is to make sure any kind of funding goes back to where our students would want it.”