In a fundraiser marketed toward parents of students “frustrated” with school parking options, a Texas parent teacher organization placed three parking spots on the market.
“Are your students complaining that there is nowhere to park? Are they tired of getting parking tickets?” the organization asked. “Support the Westlake High PTO by purchasing a parking spot for your student!”
Two of the parking spaces were put up for auction with $5,000 starting bids. All following bids must increase by at least $100, and the spots will go to the highest bidder after the auction closes on Sept. 22.
The third parking spot is “for that one lucky person who is not interested in bidding and just wants to support the WHS PTO,” the listing said. This spot came with a “Buy-It-Now” option for $20,000.
An Eanes Independent School District spokesperson said “this is actually a very common practice for schools.” She added that the district schools “work creatively to raise money to support our students and staff” as two-thirds of the annual budget is given back to the state through Recapture payments.
District policy allows the high school PTO to use four parking spaces for fundraising each year.
Westlake High School PTO helps fund staff appreciation lunches, classroom supplies and other campus improvements, according to a statement provided by the district. This year’s fundraising will be focused on improving outdoor spaces as research finds “outdoor experiences lead to higher student engagement and test scores.”
“For the past several years, we have auctioned off parking spaces as a way to raise money to give back to Westlake High School,” the statement continued. “We are grateful for our Westlake families who choose to support our programs which help fund all of these efforts and more.”
While some are outraged by the high prices, Superintendent Dr. Jeff Arnett told KTBC “there are hundreds of other parking spaces available on the campus for families that can’t afford to participate in an auction like this.”
“This is just for those families that want to be especially generous to benefit the booster club and then in turn to benefit the high school campus,” he said.
Westlake High School is a public school in Austin.