School board asks city for help with student parking dilemma

School administrators say that M Avenue and 11th Street are too congested before and after school hours, as students are parking in the street, and so the school approached the city for help enacting an ordinance that would restrict parking in those areas during school hours.

Over the last few months, student parking at the high school has become a hot-button issue at the Grundy Center School Board meetings, sparked by repeated complaints from property owners neighboring the school, as well as concerns about public safety.

At the last several school board meetings, board members have discussed complaints received about students parking on city streets, including M Avenue and 11th Street. The complaints charge that instead of parking in the designated student parking lots, a hand full of students are parking on city streets, which congests the area and makes it hard for buses to pass through to load and unload students.

Superintendent Jerry Schutz said that there is real concern about the issue, as the streets often become too crowded to pass through safely, and young students often ‘dart’ and ‘weave’ in between cars and into the road on their way to and from school. Sometimes, he said, it can be hard to even see a student until they are already in the street.

Another issue he mentioned is that it would be nearly impossible for emergency vehicles to get to the school if they needed to, due to the student cars parked in the streets.

“It’s a serious issue. We don’t want anyone to get hurt, and we don’t want any student to be responsible for someone else getting hurt,” Schutz said.

On March 29, Schutz sent a letter to the Grundy Center city council on behalf of the school. In the letter, Schutz stated that the school perceives a critical need for changes in parking restrictions, and because the school does not have jurisdiction over city streets, it is imperative for the council to intervene before a student injury or death occurs.

At Monday night’s meeting, the city council and mayor discussed the letter, and addressed their thoughts on the restrictions. 

“I’ll give you my two cents,” said Mayor Brian Buhrow. “I don’t have a problem with restricting parking on the school side, but I don’t think we should take it away from the homeowners. One of the issues with students parking on the streets is that the school isn’t enforcing their policy. They have a policy that says those kids have to park in the school parking lots, and for some reason they cant seem to enforce it.”

For the full story, see the April 6 edition of The Grundy Register.