$20K parking spot: Westlake High School selling spot as part of fundraiser

Westlake High School is auctioning off three parking spots for students to park closer to campus. The money will go toward the Westlake High School PTO, Parent-Teacher Organization.

According to the Westlake High Schools PTO Instagram, the three parking spots that are being auctioned are starting at $5,000. The organization said you can buy one of the spots at a "buy-it-now price" for $20,000.

The spots are located in the TLC parking lot, across Westbank Drive from the school and near the softball fields.

"It's a long-standing tradition in our community, as I think it is probably in a lot of other school districts as well," said Eanes ISD superintendent Dr. Jeff Arnett.

The "buy it now" space sold within hours.

"It's typically something that parents of students at that school are interested in and obviously for the benefit of their own child," said Arnett. "The funds are then used for a lot of different important programs and projects around the campus."

Many on social media slammed the five-figure fundraiser, with some wondering if it was a hoax, and others worrying it highlights financial inequality.

One Facebook user wondered, "Doesn’t that spot belong to the taxpayers? How can someone else sell it?" Another user tweeted, "How is this okay and equal for the poorer students?"

FOX 7 Austin asked Arnett if he was worried the fundraiser sends the wrong message.

"I mean, this is not to indicate that if your family doesn't contribute at that level, that there's not a parking space for their child or their student," said Arnett. "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."

Arnett argues the fundraiser is key at a time when two-thirds of district revenue is lost to Recapture.

"That funding formula forces us to be resourceful and to be creative at the local level, to try to offset the money that we're getting back to the state. And we're fortunate to be in a community that can partner with us," said Arnett.

Arnett points out the PTO must adhere to certain guidelines and board policies when it comes to fundraisers like this.

Westlake High School PTO is a "no hassle fundraiser." 

"The No Hassle Fundraiser funds requests from teachers and staff at WHS, as well as supports campus activities that enhance our students high school experience. From classroom start-up and supplies to technology advancements to requests that support additional elective costs to appreciation for both staff and students, the No Hassle Fundraiser dollars fill in where district and state funding falls short," the website states.

The auction started Monday, Sept. 19 and will close Sept. 22.

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