On a chilly Wednesday morning, Yuba College student Cheryl Roux stood in the West Parking Lot at the Marysville campus, holding a parking space for friend Kimberlee Kelley. Next fall that parking space will double in price to $40 a semester. The Board of Trustees approved the increase at its May 14 meeting.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Roux. “I’m not going to pay $40. Half of the time, I have to park way out there,” she said, pointing to the far north area of the West Parking Lot. “I have to come half an hour before class to get a space.”
“I thought $20 was ridiculous,” said Kelley. “They need to get more parking spots.”
Yuba College student Karen Lehman echoed Roux and Kelley’s sentiment.”$40? For this parking lot?” exclaimed Lehman. “When are they going to pave it? I don’t mind paying the extra fee if they’re going to improve the condition of the lot.”
The parking rate increase is happening for many reasons, according to Dr. Kevin Trutna, member of the District Council and Dean of Math, Engineering, Science and Health.
“The budget of parking and security, which includes safety services, locking and unlocking the buildings on campus and patrolling the parking lot and campus, is roughly $320,000,” said Trutna. “Current fees cover about $120,000 of that. The General Fund has been subsidizing this $200,000 shortfall for a few years. People don’t realize parking and security are under the same budget.”
“Students receiving the BOGw waiver will not be affected by the increase,” added Trutna. “The Board of Governors also sets how much we can charge for parking. The maximum we can charge is $100 over the course of a year.”
“Fifty percent of our students have the BOGw waiver,” said Dr. John Flaherty, District Council member and instructor of Astronomy and Physics. “The maximum we can charge these students is $20 (per semester), so the most financially needy students are protected from the increase.”
Some students, like Lehman, wouldn’t mind the increase if the funds go towards improvements.
“I’d want to see the potholes filled if they increase the price,” said Yuba College student Kelly Chastain. “Also, I’d want to see better lighting. I don’t think the teachers should pay, either.”
The parking fee increase will also affect the Yuba College faculty and staff, who pay the same parking fees as students.
“We’re one of the only districts where the staff and faculty have to pay parking fees,” said Trutna.
“We have to pay just like the students,” said Yuba College Learning Resource Center Media Specialist Bonnie Hansen. “Parking fees are supposed to pay for the maintenance of the lots. Also, it pays for campus security, which I believe is necessary. I hope the increase is used for what it was intended, improvements to parking and security for the safety of Yuba College students and staff.”
Parking and safety are exactly what the fee increase is supposed to affect, according to Trutna.
“The fee increase will help pay for public safety and the Chief of Police,” said Trutna. “They will also go to routine maintenance. Things are past due for maintenance, like a slurry seal coat for the West Parking Lot, which was slated two summers ago. It’s been over 10 years since Woodland’s had a coat. Clear Lake is also due for preventative maintenance.”
The fee increase will affect not only full-time staff and faculty, but part-time employees as well.
“My feeling is that part-time faculty should have a pro-rata fee, a charge proportionate to workload,” said Jim Kitchen, part-time Economics professor at the Beale Air Force Base campus. “There are people who teach one class for one or two days a week. I think it’s unfair that part-time faculty will have to pay the same fees as a full-time faculty member. Many part-time faculty will literally use their lot for three hours a week.”
“I work here two nights, and I’ll have to pay $40 for a parking space,” said part-time instructor Mary Ann Hayre.
Included in the resolution is a recommendation that the Yuba Community College District provide a daily parking permit for people who spend a small amount of time on campus. Also, it is recommended in the resolution that the Clear Lake campus “receives consideration for increased benefits for paying these fees.”
“Clear Lake has said there is a large portion of the parking fees going towards campus security, and their campus doesn’t have security,” said Flaherty.
With the parking fee set to increase, students can look towards other options to get to the Marysville campus.
“We have a bus service here which is quite good,” said Flaherty. “It’s a very excellent service these days. Students could also carpool; it’s more environmentally sound.”