Great Debate: The Senior Parking Lot Should be a Lottery

Riley DeMarrais

Every year, the rising Bernard’s High School Seniors fill out and submit their information and wait eagerly to see if they were selected for a spot in the Senior Parking lot, by the Lottery. The lottery has been used at Bernards to allocate spots for four years now, interested students will fill out a google form and submit it by the deadline. After all, the submissions are in they are sorted by first preference. Usually all the students who put down Semester 1 as their first preference will be granted those spots if there are enough for all of them, and the remaining students are put in the lottery for a Semester 1 spot. A random number is assigned in excel, and the people with the lowest numbers are granted the remaining spots. There are two separate lotteries for Semester 1 and 2. Those who have semester 2 as their preferred choice will be given a spot, assuming again that there are enough, and then the leftover people are placed again into the lottery.
The parking lottery is deemed the fairest way to allocate spots to the students who desire them. Prior to the current lottery system, there was a lottery only for full year spots, but this resulted in number of kids not getting spots at all. The current lottery system allows for students to have a better chance at a spot, even if it is just for a semester. And about 5 or 6 years ago before either of the lotteries, the spots were a first come first served allocation system, applications were released over the summer and whoever handed the forms in first would be granted a spot.
There are also 10 spots at the Bernardsville Library, and the students who did not receive a spot from the lottery are asked first if they would like a spot there, and if there are still spots left after that then the remaining seniors who did not apply for a spot are then asked if they would like to receive one.
A number of students at BHS believe that the parking should not be a lottery, Senior Caroline Hunnewell, a Gladstone resident who only received a half year parking spot, says, “The distance a person lives from home should definitely be taken into consideration, it makes no sense that kids who live within a mile or less from the school get a full year parking spot, while kids who lie in Bedminster, Peapack, etc, only get half year spots.” The solution many students propose is that the kids who live farthest away, Bedminster, Peapack, and Gladstone, should get first priority over those who live closer in Bernardsville. But the issue with making some kids a priority over others is that this is not only not feasible but it also comes off as unfair.
The reason the lottery is used is because it is the only real fair way to insure that every kid has equal chance of getting a spot. This is what senior Abby Iskra believes, “the lottery is the best way because it gives everyone a fair chance to get on campus parking.” If you place kids farther away as a priority to those who don’t live as far there becomes an immediate bias, you cannot give some kids a 90% chance to get a spot, while others only have 10% chance. There would also be no other efficient way to allocate spots, looking at every single person’s address and then determining whether or not they live far or farther than another person and if their distance from the school puts them at the top of the list to get spot. Dr Corbett believes that there is no “easy or practical way” to change the system. The lottery is the fairest and most efficient way of granting spots, it allows people to have a very high chance of receiving a spot, though not ideal students are still getting spots even if it is not for their desired time.

No easy way to do that, no practical way to do that