Thursday, August 05, 1999

City, schools to split cost of crossing guards

Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — Children will find the same familiar faces helping them cross busy intersections on their way to school this year.

        An agreement reached between Hamilton City Council and the Hamilton Board of Education will allow the program to continue uninterrupted.

        Under the agreement, the cost for 13 crossing guards will be split between the city and school board. Hamilton will also continue to provide training and background checks on the guards. The school board will recruit and substitute guards as well as handle personnel issues, said Janet Baker, superintendent of Hamilton Schools. She estimated the cost to be $30,000 for the city and schools.

        “Both entities have been working very hard to work together to provide high-quality services to our residents,” Mrs. Baker said.

        More than a year ago, Hamilton City Council voted to cease funding the program at the end of the 1998-99 school year.

        In February, a committee of school and city staff was formed to brain storm how the program could be saved after school officials said they did not have the funds to pick up the cost.

        Hamilton set aside almost $26,000 to pay for guards from January until the end of the school year. In 1998 the city spent $47,758, down from $56,231 the previous year. Guards are stationed at 13 intersections in the city.

        “The crossing guards do a super job of providing safety and security for the kids on their way to and from school,” said Dave Crawford, a public affairs officer for the City of Hamilton. “We're going to maintain the program as it has been.”

        About 1,340 — or 24.7 percent — of Hamilton's 5,420 elementary school children rode the bus during the 1998-99 school year, school officials said. Most of those riders either attend the McKinley Kindergarten Center or are special needs students. The rest walk to school.

        The two sides will again review intersections to see if any changes are needed, Mr. Crawford said.


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