Oak Park village trustees and members of the District 97 school board will deliberate this month on a joint agreement concerning the cost and responsibility for covering crossing guards at the elementary school district.

Village trustees were scheduled to discuss the intergovernmental agreement at their July 6 meeting but pulled it from the agenda. Spokesperson David Powers said that was done to give new Dist. 97 Supt. Albert Roberts an opportunity to look at the proposal. The village and elementary school district had been discussing the fate of crossing guards for the last year. Roberts’ first day as superintendent was July 1. Village trustees will discuss the agreement at the July 19 meeting.

Oak Park looked to transfer costs over to the school district while Dist. 97 insisted crossing guards were the responsibility of the village. Both sides said cost was an issue in not being able to fund the workers.

According to the draft agreement, the village would continue to provide crossing guards for the upcoming school year. The village would be responsible for making sure guards are properly trained, certified in emergency and first-aid response, and properly screened and finger-printed. Dist. 97 would contribute $168,000 for the guards, paid in quarterly amounts of $42,000 through June 15, 2011. The school district estimated initially that it would cost roughly $300,000 to cover crossing guards, both salary and benefits. Under the agreement, guards would be eliminated during lunchtime and at certain intersections. The village is exploring outsourcing the workers to save even more money.

The Dist. 97 school board discussed the agreement at its meeting on Tuesday but did not vote on it. As is custom, the board first discusses an action item then schedules a vote at a subsequent meeting. The board’s next meeting is Aug. 24.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

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