Almost every Stanford football home game in recent years, between 600 and 700 cars have filled Palo Alto High School’s parking lot at $20 apiece.
For Cardinal fans, the high school’s proximity to Stanford Stadium – a quick walk across El Camino Real – makes the lot an appealing option.
For the Palo Alto Unified School District, the parking arrangement drives annual revenue in the tens of thousands.
Matt Hall, Palo Alto High’s student activities director, said “Paly” splits the money with Gunn High School to benefit student clubs, sports teams and academic endeavors. Students representing those groups volunteer to collect the cash and direct the cars on game days.
“Depending on the year and number of games, Gunn and Paly will split a sum in the five figures,” Hall said.
A portion of the money helps to finance one of Palo Alto High’s most cherished traditions: spirit week. The annual event features a float-building contest that culminates in a float and spirit dance spectacular just before the homecoming football game. Hall said each float costs roughly $1,000 to make.