OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. — Students head back to school in Okeechobee County on Monday and high school seniors and juniors are already picking up their parking permits. But there’s privileges to not only having a good driving record, but good grades too.
Jessica Lashley was one of the first students to pick up a parking pass on Thursday afternoon. One of 360 available for a student body of approximately 1,200.
”It helps me get to work and my volleyball practice faster,” said Lashley. “Usually practice is here at the main campus but sometimes they have it at the freshman campus and I never want to be late.”
There are also perks to having a 3.5 grade-point average. Her permit was free.
”It is very good to have a higher GPA because the higher GPA you have the less you have to pay for a parking pass,” she said.
“They earned it,” added Joan Taylor, another student.
It’s a policy that’s been in existence for at least nine years that’s two-fold: It first reminds students that parking at school is a privilege while also motivating students to be college-ready. Students with a 3.5 GPA and higher pay nothing. Those with a 3.49 to a 2.0 pay $40 and students with a GPA below that pay $50.
”We put those incentives in place because if you do not have a 2.0 GPA you’re not going to graduate so we’re trying to push them towards that stage,” said Dylan Tedders, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services for Okeechobee County Schools. ”And our job as a school is to get you graduated.”
Tedders says all money collected funds student activities and athletics.
”So it goes right back into the students one way or another,” he added.
Students like Simone Washington call it a fair distribution of wealth, motivator and factor of life.
”Yes I do think it’s just a factor of life,” Washington said. “If you work hard you’ll get better privileges if you don’t your just on the wrong side.”
Seniors and juniors can get their parking permits now while sophomores will have to wait until the first day of school on August 12.