School parking fees on the rise

It started out innocently enough. Natick school committee officials voted last November to impose a $50 temporary parking fee on students at the high school.

School committee members said the fee was needed to manage demand for the limited parking spaces and to encourage more students to carpool.

“The committee is concerned about student safety. That is first and foremost the initiative with the fee,” said Lisa Tabenkin, who was the chair of the committee at the time.

Donna McKenzie, another school committee member, said the parking crunch at the high school is a sign of the times in an affluent community, with too many students driving to school.

“Having all these young people drive vehicles to high school does not seem (environmentally) sustainable,” McKenzie told the MetroWest Daily News. “We have to do whatever we can to encourage sustainability.”

Now the School Committee is raising the fee to $200, and there’s no talk of safety or environmental sustainability. School committee members say the $70,000 the new $200 fee is expected to raise is needed to balance the $68.6 million school budget.

“It was unusual that we had to increase fees to balance the school budget,” said Julie McDonough, the current chair of the school committee. “It’s not something we like to do.”

The parking passes go on sale Wednesday on a first-come, first-served basis. “We will not utilize a lottery or award HOV spaces for the 2019-2020 school year,” the school department’s website says.

High school parking fees are becoming commonplace. According to school websites, parking at Newton South High School is $350 per year, $100 at Beverly High School, and $250 at Wellesley High School.

The Weston High School website doesn’t mention what student parking permits cost or whether there is any cost, but whatever the charge maybe the school should increase it.

“Parking at the High School has become increasingly difficult as more students receive their licenses and drive to school. We do not have enough legal spots and parents, students, faculty and staff are forced to park illegally,” the school website says.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

A new right to repair battle is raging between car manufacturers and repair shops. (MassLive) Barry Steinberg of Direct Tire & Auto Service weighed in on the issue in April. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Voters in Essex approved a Proposition 2½ override to build a new public safety building, but the town doesn’t yet have an estimate for what the construction will cost. (Gloucester Daily Times)

A recent report by the Boston Foundation indicates the number of Brockton black residents has more than tripled, drawing level with the share of white residents at just under 40 percent. Authors of the report cite Brockton’s low housing prices as a major driver of black migration to the city as Boston rents continues to climb. (Brockton Enterprise)

Town meeting voters in Scituate have overwhelmingly voted to build a new $12 million senior center, and a temporary property tax increase to pay for it. (Patriot Ledger)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The Washington Post connects a lot of dots in explaining why President Trump took an interest in the obscure issue of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s efforts to build a casino in Taunton, and the tale includes his ties to the owners of nearby Twin River casino in Rhode Island and a hedge fund owned by the company that controls the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid that took payments from Trump fixer Michael Cohen to kill stories about Trump’s alleged affairs with two women.

Vermont does away with Columbus Day and replaces it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

In his first visit to New Hampshire since launching his presidential campaign, Joe Biden pitched a reunification of the country and a rollback of the recent Republican tax cuts. (WBUR) Biden

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Boston Fed opens its doors to a community-based conversation on the state of the economy, part of a nationwide listening effort by regional offices of the federal bank. (Boston Globe)

Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken claims Todd Provost, the president of National Fish & Seafood, was blindsided by the company’s abrupt closure Friday, which she said was ordered by the corporate board. The company’s principal owner is Hong Kong-based Pacific Andes International Holdings. (Gloucester Daily Times)

Springfield city councilors debate what they legally can do about a local construction project that is using out-of-state workers rather than local union employees;. (MassLive)

Shetland Park, the biggest office complex in Salem with 1.5 million square feet of space along the harbor, was sold for $70 million, more than double its assessed value, and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll is curious about the new owners’ plans. (Salem News) 

EDUCATION

The Massachusetts Teachers Association and a handful of local residents sue to block a New Bedford charter school plan the union claims is an “extortionate proposal.” (CommonWealth)

Gordon College is eliminating eight majors and cutting 36 jobs, which the school said would “shore up a stronger financial foundation for the long-run.” (Salem News)

Peter McMorrow, a school principal in Gardner, is placed on administrative leave as officials investigate an incident with a student on a school bus. (MassLive)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Attorney General Maura Healey joined her counterparts in nearly every other state in suing a large group of drug manufacturers for conspiring to inflate the prices of nearly 100 generic drugs. (State House News)

ARTS/CULTURE

A Berkshire Eagle editorial says Jeffrey Rodgers, the new executive director of the Berkshire Museum, has his work cut out for him.

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA estimates it would cost $10.1 billion to modernize its assets, a projection that is likely to figure in the ongoing debate about whether the T needs additional funding. (CommonWealth):

T notes: Transportation advocates slam a decision by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to close the high-occupancy-vehicle lane on I-93 while repairs are being made on the Tobin Bridge….Is it last call — again — for all-night service…An anti-collision system on commuter rail and a new automated fare collection system remain in limbo…..T General Manager Steve Poftak moves back to about 11:30 p.m. the departure times for the last trains to leave South Station for the South Shore. (CommonWealth)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A California jury awarded $2 billion to a couple who claimed Bayer AG’s Roundup weed killer caused their cancer. (Reuters)

Ahead of a hearing Wednesday before the Department of Environmental Protection, opponents of the proposed natural gas pipeline compressor station in Weymouth flagged what they said are the deadly scenarios that could result from a mishap. (WGBH)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Responding to a lawsuit filed by two Massachusetts district attorneys, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency argues it has the legal right to pick up undocumented immigrants at state courthouses. (CommonWealth)

A Florida judge ruled that prosecutors may not use video evidence secretly recorded that they allege shows Robert Kraft receiving the services of a prostitute at a strip mall spa, dealing a huge blow to the case against the Patriots owner. (Boston Globe)

Actress Felicity Huffman pled guilty in federal court in Boston to charges in the college admissions scandal. (Boston Globe)

Never mind: After a huge ruckus over his participation in Harvey Weinstein’s defense team, which culminated in Harvard bouncing him from his role as faculty dean of an undergraduate residential house, Harvard law professor Ronald Sullivan says he won’t be representing Weinstein after all. (Boston Globe)

A Cape Cod man is charged with a grisly murder along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. (Boston Globe)

MEDIA

Shirley Leung is back writing columns for the Boston Globe’s business pages and the paper has launched a national search for a new editorial page editor. Leung had been serving in the position on an interim basis. (Media Nation)

The newspaper war in New Orleans ended with only one new organization standing. (New York Times)