The Village of Oak Park appears set to outsource elementary school crossing guards in a move that it says could save taxpayers about $141,000.

The village sent a bid request out on July 2, seeking proposals from businesses to take on the function. The deadline for bids was Friday, and only one firm responded, according to Frank Spataro, human resources director for Oak Park.

Aurora-based Andy Frain Services is proposing to supply one supervisor and 30 crossings guards at a cost of $205,170. Guards would work two hours a day during a 180-day school year, as spelled out in the village’s request for proposals.

Village staff plans to hammer out an agreement for the 2010-2011 school year with Andy Frain Services this week. The agreement would go before the village board for approval next Monday, July 26.

The village’s current crossing guards are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. Calls to the crossing guards’ union representative were not returned. Spataro said village officials planned to meet with AFSCME this week to see if the union wants to make a counter offer or negotiate anything else in the event of outsourcing.

“We still have quite a bit of work to do on this,” Spataro said. “We’re moving quickly but we’re covering all the necessary steps in terms of talking to the union.”

The village board gave its approval Monday to a pact between village hall and Oak Park Elementary School District 97 that would have the schools cover up to $168,000 in costs for crossing guards. Under the agreement, village hall would still oversee the guards, but would receive four payments of $42,000 from the school district.

Village hall will pay any overhead costs for managing the crossing guards, which Village Manager Tom Barwin estimated at $35,000 per year. He also pointed out that Oak Park is paying about $20,000 annually in unemployment costs to crossing guards while they have the summer months off.

“This collaboration is going to save taxpayers considerably, and I think it’s a good example of what kind of thing can occur through trust and collaboration,” Barwin said.

District 97 has the right to review and propose any changes to any agreement with Andy Frain before the village board finalizes the deal, according to a preliminary version of the pact. The district has discussed the agreement recently and is scheduled to consider it next month.

Twenty-three crossing guards will be posted outside District 97 schools while the other seven will patrol corners near three private elementary schools. Oak Park cut a number of intersections and eliminated the positions during school lunch hours.

Officials say those moves cut the cost nearly in half, from $300,000 down to about $170,000.

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