The city of Dallas will foot the $2.4 million bill to pay for crossing guards through the end of the school year, but a long-term solution is still up in the air.
The scramble to save the program began when the Dallas County Schools bus agency said it didn’t have the money to continue paying for it past Jan. 31. Voters in November decided to get rid of the troubled agency, which primarily handled busing students but also ran the crossing guard program.
City Council members weren’t happy to learn the committee charged with dissolving DCS wanted to scrap crossing guards in order to have enough money to provide busing through the end of the school year. The city sued DCS over the matter.
Officials were headed to court last week when they said an agreement had been reached. “The agreement calls for the city to use about $760,000 from the police department’s Child Safety funds and pull the remaining needed $1.6 million from contingency funds,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
Running the school crossing guard program in Dallas costs about $5 million annually.
Under state law, cities with a population of more than 850,000 people are responsible for providing school crossing guards. In fact, Dallas once ran the crossing guard program before Dallas County Schools took it over. That’s when costs shot up.
City officials are reviewing the program to understand why its costs have nearly doubled under DCS. They will also be working on permanent means for providing school crossing guards.
The DCS dissolution committee is expected to meet Monday to give its final approval to the agreement.