Matthew Scott Elmhurst Crossing Guards Outsourced
Decision will save money and free up police officers, officials say.
Elmhurst officials say they can save money by outsourcing crossing guard services to a private company. Doing so, they say, also would end the practice of police officers filling in for crossing guards.
On Tuesday, the City Council voted to give the crossing guard contract to Aurora-based Andy Frain Services, which specializes in security. Now, the police department supervises a crossing guard staff of 25, plus one relief guard, according to a city memo. They cover 21 crossings in the morning and afternoon.
When crossing guards are sick or unavailable, the relief guard is called. But when no relief guard is available, Elmhurst police or police service officers are asked to fill in.
In recent years, the police have seen a decline in relief crossing guard applicants, the memo said. Meanwhile, the costs of the program have risen because of workers and unemployment compensation.In the last budget year, Elmhurst spent $280,000 on crossing guard services. Outsourcing would cut costs to $213,000, a savings of more than $65,000, according to the memo. Other towns, including La Grange, already outsource the function.
In October, the city bid out crossing guards services, but only Andy Frain responded. The contract is set to take effect when students return to school in August.
"Arrangements would be made to allow existing guards to stay at their assigned locations," Ward 3 Alderwoman Dannee Polomsky said. "Anyone who knows a crossing guard will see that same person in the fall if that person wants to return."
According to the city memo, the police would continue to provide support to address traffic concerns and monitor crossing guard arrangements.
The council's vote was unanimous. Four members — Michael Honquest, Bob Dunn, Jim Kennedy and Mike Brennan — were absent.
Article originally posted on The Patch.