City ponies up for crossing guards -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City ponies up for crossing guards

August 15, 2006

Albany --  The City of Albany is bailing out the School Board in its crossing guard crisis. The city will pick up part of the tab for school crossing guards for this year. Commissioners will pay nearly $63,000, one third of the cost of providing the 46 guards. But they warn it's a one time deal.    

School Board Chairman Willie Weaver told commissioners it would take $190,000 to cover the cost of crossing guards for one year.

"We cannot neglect our kids. I have two grandkids in the public school system and I certainly wouldn't want them to be in harm's way," said Mayor Willie Adams.

And for the kids, commissioners agreed... but just for this year. "We are very happy today, and it's a good day for the children of Albany and Dougherty County that the city agreed to pay one third for one year," said School Board Chairman Willie Weaver. 

Even though one year ago, the School Board was told the city was cutting off financing, and they would have to pick up the cost. "Certainly over a year ago, we notified the school board that we were not going to be in the business of funding school crossing guards again," said Mayor  Adams.

But at least for this year they will. It will cost the commission close to $63,000. Money they're still looking for.

Weaver says the board will be ready to pay the crossing guards in the future, but appreciates the help for today, and hopes more is on the way from the county commission. "I hope it will motivate them to see that it's not just about money. It's about kids and doing the right thing, and hopefully it will motivate them to look at their money again to see if they can contribute some, because we do have children and schools in the county," said Weaver. 

Dougherty County School police are working to determine which crossings must have guards and which can do without. "We need to review several different locations to see if they still need to be designated as crossing areas due to the number of students that are crossing," said Assistant Police Chief Stephen Mitchum.

Because however many kids there are, they want all to arrive safely.  There are 43 school crossing locations. All of the crossing guards will now make $7.50 an hour.