SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento city leaders have approved a controversial plan to give teachers at three schools preferential parking.

Parking is at a premium in Midtown Sacramento with many struggling to find the perfect spot. That includes the staff at St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School.

The 123-year-old school’s 54 employees often have to park in time-limited street spaces blocks away from campus.

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“Not only is it inconvenient for them to move their car every two hours, but now I’m taking staff away from the kids,” said Principal Ivan Hrga.

A pilot project is giving the private school 31 on-street parking spaces on parts of 25th and 26th streets during school hours. The pilot project also includes public schools, the city notes.

“What these permits do is allow school staff to find parking close in proximity to the school and it keeps them out of the residential areas,” said Erika Galang with Sacramento City Parking.

City officials say parking is already free to the public on the streets included in the pilot project. Residents also have permits that allow them preferential parking in the area.

Dennis Stiff has lived across the street from the school for 40 years and says it’s tough to find parking in front of his own home.

“Because they park over here, they’ll be here all day long and they don’t have a permit to do so,” he said, “so why would I want them to have a special place.”

Schools in Downtown and East Sacramento neighborhoods have also been granted preferred parking spots.

The school permits for the project will be valid for 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week. At night, the street reverts to residential parking. The streets in the surrounding area already with free two-hour parking is being left as is.