Proposed scheduling changes to create traffic and budget woes

Credit: TIME-LIFE

There’s no changing the fact that high school students have cars. It has been that way since there has been a licensing age. The car is a hallmark of the quintessential American high school experience, and will continue to be despite future environmental threats and our so-called “socially-aware” youth generation.

Dixon High School has had its share of traffic issues over the years, whether it be the ongoing debate as to whether or not the “thorough-fare” clause concerning the front gate leading to County Faire should be enforced, or the old campus’ perennial parking wars.  If anyone has ever tried to exit the student parking lot after school on double Wednesday, they know that our new campus is no exception to the historical trend when it comes to traffic. If Principal Barsotti’s proposal to require all students to take a 6th period class with the sole exception of proof of employment goes through, the double Wednesday traffic jam will not only get worse, but become a daily experience.

I can personally attest that just at the last double Wednesday, I spent over 30 minutes (36 to be exact, I timed it for this story) to get from the Agriculture Department to my mother’s store, Nana and Company in the Downtown Core, a drive that would never take more than eight or nine minutes without the congestion. When I finally got into the store at 3:15 p.m., I was greeted by my mother asking me, “I thought you got off early today?”

Another factor is that double Wednesday is actually not the entire school getting out at the same time. Half if not more of the seniors leave at lunch or at the end of lunch, thinning out the parking lot by roughly a fifth. Realizing this, one can only conclude that Mr. Barsotti’s proposals will cause Dixon High School to experience its own “Carmaggedon” every day at three pm.

I doubt that the administration has considered this ramification of its decisions, primarily because while the students are all trying to get out of the parking lot at three, the faculty is not only in a separate, exclusive parking lot, but also not typically leaving for at least another hour. Students must hope that the administration comes to realize this issue, and take one of two courses of action.

One, it can halt the implementation of Mr. Barsotti’s ill-fated policy.

Or, two, the administration could re-approach the city and demand that the County Fair entrance and the Hall Park gate be opened immediately to prevent frequent and costly wrecks on Highway 113. Delays on 113 would be caused from either the bottle-necking effect in front of the cemetery or the inevitable crashes and wrecks (let’s face it, we’re teenagers) on the College Way/Highway 113 intersection.

An accident from last year that took place along Highway 113

Highway 113 is often undervalued for its industrial use, but the delays Mr. Barsotti’s policy would cause could, in fact, effect the school’s financial bottom line in a small way. Any crashes, wrecks, or increased traffic on a state highway in some way require the presence of either emergency personnel or CalTrans workers, both of which are paid fully or in part by taxpayers. Any costs that would arise from the daily “carmageddon” would require more resources from the state to be directed away from schools and education and towards roads and first-responder paychecks and subsidies instead.

Additionally, traffic holdups that slow traffic also hold up work vehicles. Any holdup to a business person means more costs and less productivity. If productivity drops, potential tax-dollars are lost and state revenues go slightly down. Less revenues for the state means less funding for schools.

The same can be said of student workers. If student workers spend more time in school taking unwanted classes or stuck in traffic, that means they will have less time to study or work. If they study and forego work, the state loses revenue and the school will suffer. If they work and forego their studies, therefore helping the state with its budget issues by forsaking their hard-earned dollar by force in taxes, they will do worse in school. Students who don’t study don’t score well on tests, and therefore the school still loses more funding.

I realize that any funding loss suffered by the state from little ol’ Dixon would end up being tiny, tiny sums of money, but the point should be that there are aspects of this debate that have not yet been addressed.

Mr. Barsotti’s scheduling plan may seem cut and dry, but the effects may be much more harmful than just not being able to go out to lunch as a senior, or get out early to go to work. The effects will be much more far-reaching than we can possibly realize. We can safely say that, if implemented, this policy will most definitely hurt Dixon High School– whether it be through school funding, traffic safety hazards, or wasted time.