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 Replacing Crossing Guards With Police in Cal City? Woa!

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PostSubject: Replacing Crossing Guards With Police in Cal City? Woa!   10/16/2009, 9:18 am


How does this save money, when the cops make more per hour?

I think this is a tragedy firing these people with no notice, no severance pay. It makes no sense money-wise and crime-wise to have the police take their place. There could be more cuts made within the administration to cover this expense. They can pay on their gem of a health insurance plan.

Cal City lays off 47 crossing guards

Jeanette Lach - jeanette.lach@nwi.com

Calumet City Crossing Guards were laid off October 15, 2009 after being given notices in their paycheck. Parents and students are know worried about their safety when crossing the street before and after school.

CALUMET CITY | The city's 47 school crossing guards have been laid off, and police officers will temporarily take over crossing guard duties starting today, Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush's office announced Thursday.

The city also announced the layoffs of seven police officers, four city inspectors and eight detention and reserve officers.

Woodrow Wilson Elementary School Principal Delores Lyke said she learned of the news Thursday when a crossing guard showed her the notice the guards received while picking up their paychecks.

"We need them so desperately with our small children," she said. "This is early elementary and we desperately need our crossing guards. I know there is a financial situation but I hope it can be resolved as soon as possible so our children can be safe coming to and from school."

Lyke said that of her nearly 400 students, about 75 percent walk to school. Wilson Elementary serves pre-K to second-graders.

Lyke said she can ask teachers and parents to help monitor intersections if needed.

"If the police are there I'm sure they can handle it, we won't interfere."

Lyke sent a note home with students Thursday to inform parents of the news.

Earlier this school year, crossing guards had taken a cut in their $33 a day pay to $29.72 and lost their $250 a year clothing allowance, said Lucille Gromak, a longtime guard who works at the Wentworth Avenue and Memorial Drive intersection.

Calumet City had considered cutting this year's crossing guard funding to reduce spending. Qualkinbush also said school districts ought to share the cost. But the city ultimately agreed to continue to cover the cost for this school year.

However, Qualkinbush said Thursday the crossing guards, along with the detention aides who are under the Police Department, had to be laid off before any police officers could have their positions cut because of job-protection provisions in the Fraternal Order of Police contract with the city. While the city was able to reach agreement on concessions with its other unions, no such agreement was made with the FOP.

But, as those positions are part-time, those cuts alone would not provide sufficient financial cost savings for the municipal government.

In its statement Thursday, the city announced it has a $2.4 million operating deficit and reduced sales, state income and home rule tax revenue continue to strain operating funds. (Be prepared for more reduced sales tax, Mayor Qualk....more and more stores are going bankrupt).

Qualkinbush said local school districts had been told in advance the crossing guard positions would be vulnerable if cost cuts had to be made.

"We let them know this could occur," she said. (But it wouldn't if one your little children were crossing those paths!)

Qualkinbush said City Treasurer Gerald Tarka continues to negotiate with the school districts to figure out a way in which the schools can assume the cost of crossing guards for future years.
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