Philadelphia Schools Safety Director Looks into Improper Access to School Parking Lots

Staffers allegedly selling parking permits to persons not associated with school

But she said there are some exceptions for University of Pennsylvania professors and staff who teach courses at the high school.

Yesterday, Gallard said that both Green and Downs, who reports directly to the School Reform Commission, are still investigating.

"I urge anyone alleging that parking spaces are being sold to contact Dexter Green, or the principal," Gallard said.

Gallard said if anyone is uncomfortable contacting the principal, they should contact Green at 215-299-7967. He also said anyone with proof of the allegations could contact Downs, at 215-875-3847, or contact Downs on an anonymous line at 215-875-3844. There is also a fax line at 215-875-3858.

Gallard said that of a list of 12 license plates obtained by teachers, five or six of the cars were owned by employees of either University City High, the Walnut Center, a school district day-care center or Drew Elementary, both near the high school's Warren Street side.

The school district's investigators are now tracking down the owners of the other cars reported to have improper permits and will interview the owners to find out how and when they obtained those permits, Gallard said.

Both teachers and administrators report a long history of animosity between some members of the teaching staff and administration at the school.

The former principal at the school, Florence Johnson, was reassigned partly because of this tension, teachers allege.

The teachers' claims of being unable to resolve the parking problems with Dean were outlined in a three-page memo dated April 22. It was sent from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' Building Committee to school district administration officials.

"There has been an ongoing controversy here regarding the selling of parking passes to nonschool district employees," said Jeff Rosenberg, a teacher and PFT building rep.

"Staff members were complaining to me and other members of the building committee that they're having a difficult time parking and being inconvenienced," he said.

Jerry Jordan, vice president of the PFT, said parking was always a problem for University City teachers when he was a teacher there during the 1980s.

"There was a federal building at 36th and Market streets, and for years there was a problem."

During the summer, the school was closed and the federal employees parked there.

"In September, we had to go through the problem of getting people not to park on the lot, so we could park. Notices were put on windshields to let the drivers know the spots were for the school staff."

But today's teachers say that spirit of looking out for the school staff isn't the same.

In an April memo to school district administrators, the PFT's Building Committee said: "The University City administration has been selling parking permits to nonschool district employees for parking on school district property reserved for its employees. These employees then cruise around seeking available parking."

It also says, "University City High School staff should not have to compete with this extracurricular enterprise."

And as recently as October, fliers were alleged to have been found on cars in the parking lot that essentially solicited illegal parkers to acquire a permit, teachers charge.

But Principal Dean said she had not seen copies of the fliers and suggested they could have been faked.

"In this computer age, people can do anything they want in cases of falsifying information," Dean said.